Credit card fraud is an increasing concern for many consumers.  As financial institutions try to invent new ways to keep credit card consumers safe, it seems that fraudsters always find a way to copy our credit cards, steal our credit cards and in some cases also steal our identity.

There are three very common types of credit card fraud.  The first type of credit card fraud is counterfeit fraud, this is also commonly known as skimming.  This type of fraud happens when our cards are duplicated and used by a fraudster.  We can try and prevent this type of fraud by having our entire name on our card, and not only our initials.  Adding our salutation such as Mr. Mrs. or Ms. can also be helpful in protecting us against potential credit card fraud.

The second type of credit card fraud is when our cards are lost and/or stolen.  This can happen when we lose our entire wallet, if our mail is stolen, or if our credit card is stolen out of our wallet or purse.  The new chip and pin credit card technology is a step in the right direction towards fraud prevention; because it is very hard for a fraudster to guess our Personal Identification Number.  If your credit card has not yet switched to the chip and pin technology we can prevent fraud on our magnetic stripe card by writing “ask for id” on the back stripe, instead of signing our signature.

The most serious type of credit card fraud is a complete account takeover, which is more commonly known as identity theft.  This is dangerous for credit card consumers because the fraudster takes over our entire identity, not just our credit card.  There is a movie called Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story that tells the story of a woman who steals Michelle Brown’s identity and charges thousands of dollars on her credit card in Michelle Brown’s name.  It shows just how easy it is to assume another person’s identity with just a little bit of information.  Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story stars Jason London (My Teacher’s Wife), Annabella Scicrra (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle), and Kimberly Williams-Paisley (We Are Marshall).

Here are 3 Quick Tips on How I Try to Prevent Credit Card Fraud:

–       I keep my credit cards at home.  I don’t carry my credit cards in my wallet just in case it is lost or stolen.  I only bring my credit cards with me if I am using them to make a purchase.

–       I never use my credit card to make online purchases.  I only shop on websites that offer PayPal as a payment method.

–       I always keep my credit card in my sight.  I don’t let salespeople take my credit card or swipe it out of my sight.

(Photo By Moacir)