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Home / Tools / Credit Card Theft: The Do's & Don'ts to Protect Your Information
Credit Card Theft: The Do's & Don'ts to Protect Your Information on 9/27/2021

Credit Card Theft: The Do's & Don'ts to Protect Your Information

Picture this:

You’re at a restaurant out of town and you’ve just finished a great dinner.  Your server comes back to the table with your credit card.  She looks at you and says, “I’m sorry, but your card has been declined.  You stare at her for a moment, while your mind immediately starts calculating how that could be – you have a $10,000 credit limit, and you’re not even close to hitting it.  You pull out another card, hand it to her, and continue to wonder what happened… then it hits you. Your credit card number has been stolen and your card has been turned off by your credit card company for suspected fraudulent activity.

If this has ever happened to you, you know how violated you can feel that someone is using your card and spending money that is not theirs. Credit Card Theft can happen even when the card is still in your possession – the thief has obtained your number and security information and has created a new card with the same information. And it may just be the first step in obtaining other parts of  your identity.

Credit card theft can happen in a few different ways:

  • A clerk, server, or retailer could copy the number, expiration, and security code while they are holding your card.
     
  • A telemarketing scammer could ask for your credit card number.
     
  • A skimmer has been placed at an ATM or point of purchase machine that you’ve used.
     
  • A phishing e-mail could be sent to you, asking for credit card and other personal information.

To best protect yourself from credit card theft, here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to keeping your credit card information safe.

Do:

  • Keep a record of your credit card numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number to report fraud to in a secure place.
     
  • Sign your card. It’ll be more difficult for someone to use a card that is signed, since matching signatures can be very difficult, and it won’t match a photo ID.
     
  • Carry your credit cards separate from your cash.  If you lose one wallet or money clip, you won’t be left with nothing.
     
  • Try to keep your card in your view as much as possible whenever you have to hand your card to someone to pay for a transaction (i.e. the server at a restaurant).
     
  • Notify your card company and/or financial institution when you are traveling or changing residences.
     
  • Open your billing statement immediately and reconcile it with your card accounts every month.
     
  • Shred statements, receipts, etc. that might have any part of your credit card information visible.
     
  • Report suspicious activity immediately!

Don’t:

  • Give your credit card information over the phone, unless you initiated the transaction and you know the company is reputable.
     
  • Lend your card to anyone.  Keep it where you can see it.
     
  • Write your card number on anything that could be seen by someone else or shared online.
     
  • Leave any blank lines on a credit card receipt – either put a line through the blank or write in $0.
     
  • Click on links in e-mails or share your credit card information, even if the e-mail looks legitimate. Only share your credit card information on sites that you are sure are legitimate and secure.

Suspect a Problem?

If you suspect your credit card has been compromised, call your credit card company or your financial institution immediately. They’ll turn  your card off and tell you how to dispute the fraudulent charges.

Merrimack Valley Credit Union wants you to be as safe and informed as possible.  If you’re not sure if your credit card information has been stolen, please call us and speak with a representative: 800-356-0067.

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Category: Budgeting & Debt Reduction



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