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Protect Your Credit Cards with These Helpful Tips

How to protect your credit cards from fraudulent charges

Credit card fraud is, unfortunately, a booming business. According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • 40% of all financial fraud is related to credit cards
  • 10% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud
  • The total amount of worldwide credit card fraud is $5.55 billion

The Justice Department's report also breaks down the type of credit card fraud as follows:

  • 37% of credit card fraud involves counterfeit credit cards
  • 23% of the fraud involves lost or stolen cards
  • 10% of credit card fraud involves no-card fraud (e.g. giving your credit card information to a non-legitimate telemarketer)
  • 7% of the fraud involves credit cards stolen during mailing
  • 4% of credit card related fraud involves identity theft

With the amount of credit card fraud today, you need to be diligent in protecting your cards.

Helpful tips to protect your credit cards

Credit card thieves are becoming increasingly clever every day. But, there are things you can do to protect yourself. When it comes to your credit card accounts, you can give yourself an extra layer of protection if you follow the tips below.

  • Sign the back of your credit card as soon as you receive it.
  • Even if you use auto-pay, meticulously check your credit card statements each month.
  • Cut up old credit cards through the numbers so thieves cannot piece the card back together.
  • Carry only the credit cards that you need in your wallet.
  • Ask your credit card company to issue you a credit card without an RFID chip (swipe technology) or keep your RFID chip-enabled card in protective sleeves.
  • Report a lost or stolen credit card immediately and have it cancelled.
  • Do not leave your credit card in public places, including your car, on your desk, or even at a bar keeping an open tab.
  • Check your card after each purchase to ensure your own card was returned to you.
  • Clear all of your logins and passwords when making online transactions, especially if you are on a public computer.
  • Only make online purchases if you are sure you are on a secured website (shows "https" in URL bar) and on a secured internet connection (WiFi network that required encryption).
  • Beware of phishing emails (emails that appear to come from a company you do business with, but are actually ID thieves trying to get you to enter your credit card information).
  • Don't post confidential information on social websites.
  • Be careful of what links you click online.
  • Leave suspicious websites immediately.
  • Verify your address with your financial institutions.
  • If your credit card has a PIN for cash advances, do not write the PIN down and carry it with your card. Memorize it.
  • Monitor your credit report regularly.

Following the above steps is not a guarantee that your credit cards will be safe, but they can at least help you thwart some efforts to steal your credit card information.

For help monitoring your credit, get a PrivacyGuard membership. Your enrollment includes credit card protection, daily credit monitoring, identity fraud support and more.

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