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Ten Tips For Protecting Your Credit Card Account

by Barbara Marquand

Although credit card companies don't usually make consumers pay for merchandise that crooks charge using stolen account information, we all pay for the crime in the form of higher prices and higher credit card rates.

Credit card fraud is preventable. Follow these 10 tips to protect your credit cards:

1. Do not lend your credit cards to anyone. If a friend needs to use your card, then go with him or her and handle the transaction yourself.

2. Memorize your PIN number. Too many consumers write the PIN number directly on the card, giving thieves easy ATM access.

3. Maintain a list of all your credit card accounts, including the account numbers, expiration dates, and the phone numbers of the credit card companies. Keep the list in a safe place so you can call to cancel a card if one of them is stolen.

4. Report lost or stolen cards right away, so the card companies can deactivate the account immediately. This gives thieves less time to run up phony charges.

5. Keep your credit card shielded from onlookers when you are making purchases to prevent a thief from seeing your account number over your shoulder. The number is all a crook needs to start charging purchases on your account online or over the phone.

6. Prevent thieves from taking credit card application forms out of your trash and filling them out in your name. Shred unwanted credit card offers that come in the mail before throwing them away.

7. Never give your credit card number out over the phone or online unless you are sure you're dealing with a reputable company. Don't fall for scams that ask you to verify your account by e-mail or over the phone. Contact the card issuer directly at the phone number on the back of the card to check whether there is a problem.

8. Don't leave any blank spaces on a charge slip where someone could add amounts later.

9. Shred anything with your credit card account number on it before throwing it in the trash.

10. Open credit card bills immediately to make sure there are no phony charges. Call your credit card issuer right away if there are any questionable charges.

 

 

Published 01/24/11


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