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How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

There is, perhaps, nothing simpler than paying for a large amount of purchases with a sleek, gleaming credit card. When you charge purchases, you can pay off large balances over time. Many consumers use these small, plastic money-machines because they believe they are safer than carrying around cash. However, credit card fraud can be far more detrimental than a stolen wallet of cash.

Keep Your Card with You

It may be tempting to loan your card out to a friend or family member if you can't get to the store yourself, but this is a bad habit to get into. No one will be as protective of your credit card as you. When you trust your credit card to someone else, the likelihood that the card will be lost or forgotten increases dramatically.

Pay Attention to Charges

One great way to protect yourself against credit card fraud is to check your balance on a regular basis. Credit card charges are usually listed on your online balance report immediately after the card is used. When you get in the habit of checking regularly, you will be able to quickly identify suspicious activity. You can then close your account, contact the authorities, and take the necessary precautions to eliminate any further financial fraud from occurring.

Don't Sign the Back

There is a simple tip that many credit card owners use that can dramatically prevent credit card theft and fraud. On the back of your credit card is a small white rectangle where the credit card company suggests that you put your signature. This box was added to credit cards as a security measure. Ideally, the clerk at a retail establishment is supposed to compare your receipt signature to the signature on the back of the card. However, this almost never happens with any type of accuracy. Store clerks are not experts in handwriting. Many simply check to see that a name is scrawled across the back of the card. They may perform a cursory check, but it is simple to forge a basic signature with practice. Some clerks won't even compare the signatures, and the rest are too nervous to contest a signature that looks off.

Instead of signing the back of your credit card, print the words "Ask For ID" in the white rectangle. When you print these words, a clerk is required to ask for photo identification before accepting the credit card for any purchase. This will almost guarantee that your card cannot be used by any person except yourself. It takes two minutes to write these words on the back of your credit card, and you can dramatically reduce the likelihood that you'll experience fraud when you use this tip.

Credit card fraud is increasing throughout the world as using credit cards becomes the predominant method of payment during heavy shopping seasons. It's crucial to protect yourself, your identity, and your financial situation by being methodical about the ways in which you use your credit card. A few simple protective measures can go a long way.

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