Protect Your Credit Card Information to Avoid Being Scammed
Veterans are the latest target of a credit card scam aimed at getting their account numbers. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), scam artists are posing as VA workers who claim they need credit card account numbers to update information for prescriptions. Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming the victim of credit card fraud.
Do Not Reveal Private Information to Unknown Callers
With so many companies and organizations trying to solicit business by phone it's not always easy to tell who is or isn't legitimate. That's why anytime someone calls you and asks for personal information over the phone you should decline to give it to them. If you think the call may actually be from your credit card company, find the most recent billing statement and call the customer service number to verify that the call was actually from that company.
If you receive a call from some claiming to be from the VA, remember that "VA simply does not call veterans and ask them to disclose personal financial information over the phone," Dr. Gerald Cross, VA's under secretary for health, said in a statement.
Shred Credit Card Applications
Fewer credit card offers are being mailed to consumers since banks have tightened lending standards. The number of credit card offers mailed to U.S. households plunged 67% to 372.4 million in the first quarter of 2009 from 1.132 billion a year earlier, according to Mail Monitor. However, if yours is among the households actually receiving credit card applications, make sure you don't just toss them in the trash. Fraudsters are known to go through people's garbage to find credit card applications, bank statements, and other documents with personal information. A shredder can allow you to dispose of papers without worrying about identity thieves.
Review Credit Reports
Even routine transactions such as paying for meals (when your credit card leaves your sight) or gas with a credit card can open you up to possible theft. That's why it's a smart idea to regularly review your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. Get free copies of credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. Carefully check the information to make sure that all of the accounts are ones you actually opened. If you see anything questionable, contact the creditor listed to dispute the account.