Practically everyone relies on credit cards for one thing or another, or the majority of their financial transactions, in today’s electronically-charged financial world. Sometimes credit cards are required for certain things, like reservations and to secure online transactions, so they’re almost a necessity today.
Credit cards have made themselves a necessary “evil” in today’s world. With the ease and convenience of use of credit cards, comes the potential for abuse not only by ourselves overusing them, but by others who get ahold of information. As a result, there are increasingly more reports of credit card scams today.
These scams can range from identity theft to people hacking into our computers to obtain credit and financial information. In one recent credit card scam, a person calls the home of the credit card owner. The caller pretends they are calling from a Security and Fraud Department.
They claim they have flagged your account for unauthorized purchases and they want to give you a credit on your account. The caller then says he needs your information, verifies your address and name on the account and asks for the 3 numbers on the back of the card. These 3 numbers are the security code that proves that you are in possession of the card.
Within a few days, the caller is fraudulently charging on your account using the security code numbers that you have given them. So, consumer beware. Never give out personal or credit card numbers and information to anyone that calls you and aks for this information. This is not standard procedure for most places of business, unless you arranged this with a company for payment.
The credit card companies won’t call and ask you for this information because they already know it and have it on file. If you encounter this situation, hang up and call the police and the credit card company. Con artists may use a variation of this type of scam as they may have part of the information from your account and then they’re calling you to”verify” the remainder of it so they can fraudulently use your credit card.
There are some unscrupulous scams in the form of guaranteed credit and loans via emails on the internet. Many emails of this nature are simply looking for you to give up your personal information online to them so they can use it for identity theft.
To protect against internet style credit scams, keep your computer safe with updated antivirus software, antispy software, a firewall and an antiphishing toolbar. Phishing, where a criminal sends an email that is supposed to be from a reputable bank is becoming more popular, and you want to make sure you do not respond to these emails or give any personal information to them. Identity theft is so prevalent today that there are multitudes of companies now promising you protection for a monthly fee.
The best way to protect yourself without resorting to a monthly bill is to know what to beware of. If you lose your wallet or checkbook, or if it is stolen, cancel all credit cards and accounts and report it immediately. Shred all personal documents and information before disposing of it to prevent dumpster diving scams.
People who steal identities are saavy, and you want to make sure you don’t make their job easier by leaving around payment stubs, unused credit card offers and other items with personal information. A paper shredder may even be a good idea. Another scam is a con artist posing as a person with a valid reason to obtain personal information. Unfortunately, identity theft can also be done as the result of an inside job by family members, friends or even a babysitter with access to your personal information.
Means of prevention of identity theft are cancel all inactive accounts, sign your credit cards and don’t give out personal information when using your card.
You can request electronic versions of bills and statements and direct deposits of your payroll checks. When you receive your monthly statements, check all items to ensure there are no unauthorized purchases.
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