Money & Career

7 ways to avoid credit card fraud

By: Krystal Yee

Courtesy of FlickrCC/Frankieleon Author: Canadian Living Credits: Courtesy of FlickrCC/Frankieleon

Money & Career

7 ways to avoid credit card fraud

By: Krystal Yee
Credit cards are usually regarded as a convenient and safe method of payment that is accepted worldwide. However credit card fraud is on the rise, and is becoming a real concern that can affect any Canadian.

1. Ask for receipts for all of your purchases
Then, check them against your transactions online on a regular basis. If you notice charges that you didn't make, report them to your card issuer right away. A number to the fraud department can usually be found on the back of your credit card.

2. Keep your card in sight at all times
When you're out shopping, it's always better if you can swipe or insert your credit card yourself. But if you have to hand it over to a merchant, keep it in sight at all times in order to prevent “skimming”—which happens when a thief passes your credit card through a card reader that records your information from the magnetic strip on the back.

3. Be extremely cautious over the phone
Unless you've initiated the phone call, don't give out your personal information over the phone—even if you receive a phone call and the person claims to be from a legitimate company that you recognize. Ask for the caller's name, phone number and company name. Look to see if the number given to you matches the company's phone number on their website, on the back of your credit card statements, or on any other legitimate document from that particular company. Make sure to call the company using the phone number on the website or statements to verify that the person you spoke with is an employee.

4. Protect your credit cards when travelling
Carry your cards with you at all times, or make sure they are in a secure location such as your room's safe. Ensure that your signature is on the back of all of your cards.

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5. Be careful online
With so much shopping and banking being done on the internet, it can be easy for someone to grab your information. Make sure you enter personal information only on secure and reputable websites. Clear your logins and passwords, and be on alert for phishing scams. This is a trick where emails or pop-up browser windows attempt to mimic legitimate organizations in order to gain your trust and steal your personal information.

6. Use credit cards with enhanced security features
If your credit and debit cards don't already use chip and PIN technology, you might be putting yourself at risk. Contact your card issuer immediately to see if they offer replacement cards with chip and PIN technology. Set spending limits on your Pay Pass so theives don't have free reign. These cards have enhanced security features that make them virtually impossible to replicate.

7. Shred old documents
You can significantly reduce the risk of having someone steal your information through the mail by having your financial statements sent to you by e-mail. However, if you choose to keep receiving paper statements, make sure that you store all of your financial records in a secure place inside your home, and shred any document with your name on it before you toss it in the recycling bin.

If you suspect you've been a victim of credit card fraud, follow these four important steps:
  • Contact your credit card issuer immediately to report any suspicious activity.
  • Contact the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus to have a fraud alert placed on your credit reports.
  • Contact your local police.
  • Report credit card fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by visiting their website, or calling 1-888-495-8501.
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Money & Career

7 ways to avoid credit card fraud