Credit card fraud can happen in many different ways; in person, on the internet or over the phone. You don’t need to be fearful of using your card but you should be cautious. A good rule of thumb is to treat your card as though it is cash, valued at the card limit. For example, if your card has a $5,000 limit, before you leave your credit card receipts lying around ask yourself, ‘Is that a safe place for $5,000?’ Thinking about your card as cash is one way to quickly remind yourself of the importance of keeping it protected. These additional tips below can help you reduce the possibilities of fraudulent activities happening on your credit card account:
1. Keep an eye on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible. Try not to let your credit card out of your sight whenever possible.
2. Never give out your card account number or information over the phone unless you initiate the call and you know the company is reputable. Legitimate companies will not call and ask for a credit card number over the phone.
3. Never respond to emails that request you provide your credit card info via email — and don’t ever respond to emails that ask you to go to a website to verify personal (and credit card) information. These are called ‘phishing’ scams.
4. Never provide your credit card information on a website that is not a secure site.
5. Sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them.
6. Shred all credit card applications you receive.
7. Don’t write your PIN number on your credit card — or have it anywhere near your credit card (in the event that your wallet gets stolen).
8. Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.
9. Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a cell phone or other camera. Always take the time to check ATMs and gas pumps for extra devices that may have been placed by fraudsters attempting to skim your card details. Do not use any ATM with loose parts or keypads missing the standard Braille dots – inform the bank or gas station of the potential problem and find another location to perform your transaction.
10. Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need. Don’t carry extra credit cards that you rarely use.
12. Open credit card bills promptly and make sure there are no fraudulent charges. Better yet, monitor your credit card activity online. Treat your credit card bill like your checking account — reconcile it monthly. Save your receipts so you can compare them with your monthly bills.
13. If you find any charges that you don’t have a receipt for — or that you don’t recognize — report these charges promptly (and in writing) to the credit card issuer.
14. Always void and destroy incorrect receipts.
15. Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.
16. Never sign a blank credit card receipt. Carefully draw a line through blank portions of the receipt where additional charges could be fraudulently added.
17. Carbon paper is rarely used these days, but if there is a carbon that is used in a credit card transaction, destroy it immediately.
18. Never write your credit card account number in a public place that could be viewed by others.
19. Ideally, it’s a good idea to carry your credit cards separately from your wallet — perhaps in a zippered compartment or a small pouch.
20. Never lend a credit card to anyone else.
21. If you move, notify your credit card issuers in advance of your change of address.
If you suspect credit card fraud:
If your credit cards are lost or stolen, contact the credit card issuer(s) immediately.
Most financial institutions provide toll-free access for 24-hour service to deal with these types of emergencies — they are eager to avoid credit card fraud.
For VSECU Members
If you have lost a debit or credit card, or if it has been stolen, contact VSECU immediately:
During Business Hours: 802/800 371-5162
After business hours call:
- Lost or stolen 1-800-523-4175
- Lost or stolen 1-800-257-2743
We will block the card from being used further and, if necessary, issue a new card. Other steps may be taken depending on the severity of the issue.
To view the recent WCAX Consumer Watch on credit card fraud, click here.