Using a credit card is very safe these days if you take the necessary precautions. There are many unscrupulous folks out there, criminals, opportunists and the like, who are waiting for you to slip up and make it possible to steal your credit card information. You do not have to fall prey to their tactics if you know what to look out for.
If you follow these top ten tips, you can purchase safely and will not become a credit card scam victim.
1. Maintain sight of your card – If you can’t see your card or know exactly where it is at all times then someone else can take advantage of this. It only takes a few seconds to get the numbers off of your card and if you let your card out of your possession for even a few minutes, you can give control over to a scammer ready and waiting to steal your information.
2. Privacy is best – Your card should be kept safe in your wallet or, if you are not using it regularly, in a private and safe location. Do not let friends or family use your card and do not disclose the location to anyone.
3. Sign your card immediately – There are safety precautions taken by the credit card company by sending you your card and PIN code in separate envelopes. Continue using the same precaution by signing your card immediately upon arrival. If you don’t and someone else has acquired, you have given them free licence to sign your card and use it for their own purposes.
4. Beware of Phishing – Phishing scams are so commonplace that there is usually not a day that goes by that you do not have at least one in your email inbox. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to scammers who use deceptive means to try and fraudulently acquire your credit card security information. Never click on a site, no matter how legitimate it looks, that takes you to your banking site via e-mail. Your bank or credit card company would never do this and it is a phishing scam.
5. Use secure sites – When you are shopping online, only use sites that are secure. You can tell by looking at the URL. If there is an “s” after the HTTP then it is a secure site.
6. Look over your monthly statements – This is good practise regardless of security issues. Looking over your statement each month will let you know if there has been any suspicious activity on your account. If you see something strange, contact your credit card provider immediately.
7. Keep backups – Have your credit card information as a backup in case your card is ever lost or stolen. Keep this information in a safe and secure location.
8. Shred your documents – Shredding your financial documents after you are done with them is imperative.
9. Notify your credit card company of changes – If you get married and your name has changed or if you move, contact your credit card company right away so they can update their files.
10. Use caution at hotels – Hotels will occasionally ask you to sign blank receipts for incidental charges. Do NOT do this as it can cost you dearly.
Trust your intuition. If you have an uncomfortable or uncertain feeling about a transaction then you should trust those instincts. It does not take a lot of effort or time for a scammer to get your credit card information and use it to their advantage. Safeguarding yourself with the preceding tips will make it possible for you to use your card safely and without concern.
This article was written by personal finance writer Timothy Ng from Sydney, Australia. He is passionate about helping people comparecredit cards and helping them through researching to find the best credit card at his site.