Using a Credit Card SafelyJanuary 17, 2009 - 11:14 pm
Credit card fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. It can happen whenever you use your credit card in person or online. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your credit rating is. However, there are some steps you can take to minimizing the risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
In Person Tips
• Keep it Close: When you use your credit card in person, always keep it in sight and ask for it to be returned the moment the person is done swiping it. When at a restaurant, ask to take the card to the cashier yourself instead of giving it to the server.
• Please Check ID: Sign the back of your credit card with the phrase, “Please Check ID”. That way, whenever the card is used the cashier will, or at least should, ask for your identification.
• Fill in the Blanks: Be sure to put an X in any blank spaces on a credit card receipt, that way someone can’t enter in a higher amount. Don’t sign the receipt until all the blanks are filled in.
• Leave Cash: Instead of filling in a gratuity blank with a tip, write the word “Cash.” Then, leave the server a tip in cash. This way you can avoid any gratuity disputes in the future. If you don’t have cash to leave a tip and must sign in a gratuity, be sure to keep a copy of the receipt with the amount of gratuity you wrote in.
• Don’t Give Out Your Number: If someone calls you asking you to verify your credit card number over the phone, do not give it to them, even if they say they are from your bank. A bank or credit card company may ask you to confirm the last four digits of your credit card number to validate your identity, but they will never ask for your full credit card number.
• Check your Statements: Always look over your statements to confirm your purchases. You may even compare them to your sales receipts if you saved them, to be sure there were no additional charges.
Using Credit Cards Online
• Confirm Secure Servers: Only use your credit card online if you are sure the site is using a secure server. You can tell by the URL address. If it reads, “https://” rather than “http://” then it is a secure server. This applies only to the pages where you actually fill out the application, not to the home page or portal sites.
• E-mail: Never send your credit card number through e-mail or chat.
• Save Receipts: Print out all receipts for transactions online, or copy and paste into a document and save on your computer (as long as your full credit card number is not located on the receipt). This allows you to check for additional charges on your statement.
Using these steps will help prevent you from becoming a victim of credit card fraud, but there are no guarantees. Use some common sense and protect your card and card number vigilantly.