Even though this is the season of giving, there are always those who want to take from you. As consumers become more savvy, credit card thieves have become increasingly sophisticated, using your credit card information over the phone, and even making counterfeit credit cards.
During the holidays, when there is an increased risk of credit card theft, consumers need to be more alert, using basic common sense as a major weapon. Although many Internet companies are taking additional measures to provide increased security, it is up to you to be a wise consumer.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
–Even innocent activity such as eating out can lead to credit card theft. Always check to be sure that you are getting back your own credit card when charging a meal, or for any other purchase, for that matter.
–When traveling, especially over the holidays, ask a trusted friend to take in your mail.
–Dont leave your purse or wallet unattended, even for a few minutes.
–Keep a list of your credit card numbers and the phone numbers to call separate from where you keep your cards.
–Dont trust anyone who says they have found your card and will mail or return it to you. Cancel a lost or stolen card immediately.
–Check all your credit card statements as soon as they are received to make sure that there are no purchases charged to your account that you didnt make. Dont use the excuse of the holidays to put mail aside and open it later.
–New credit cards are mailed in unmarked envelopes so open all mail that is addressed to you.
–If you receive a solicitation for a new credit card in the mail, destroy it immediately if youre not planning to apply. Dont throw it in the garbage where someone can steal it and your identity.
–Dont make any purchases over the phone unless you are familiar with the company, such as a major newspaper or department store.
–If someone is soliciting you over the phone and you wish to make a purchase, take the number and call back or check it in the directory. Beware of all unsolicited vendors who do business this way.
–Send in changes of address to your credit card company immediately. If your account statements or credit cards are mailed to your old address, the chance of theft increases.
–If you order a credit card, make sure you get it within a reasonable amount of time. Make a note on your calendar to contact the credit card company if you have not received it by then.
–Most people are aware of the need to destroy carbons. Although most new charge systems do not use carbon paper any longer, take personal responsibility to rip it up and thrown it away yourself.
–Sign a newly received credit card right away and make the call to activate it. This safety feature has reduced theft substantially.
Be a wary consumer, and dont let thieves ruin your holidays.