One of the scariest parts of owning a credit card is how easy it is for criminals to make charges to your account once they have it’s basic information recorded.
This is likely to happen from online scams or viruses that record all your information for malicious usage but could also be as simple as a person digging through your wallet and taking the card. To know for sure if someone is misusing your card information or your account…
Check your Credit Card Statement and Transaction History
This is almost exactly like checking your banking statement which has a long list of everything that’s happened with your account in the last month. If you keep track of the purchases you make on your own, then you can easily dig out the fraudulent charges by comparing your history to the automatic tracking. If you haven’t done that, then look down the names and descriptions of the records.
Do any of the descriptions sound very peculiar or are from stores that you haven’t even shopped at before? It’s possible that the charge could be fake. If you want further proof, then look at the transaction fee. Were there any charge amounts that you don’t remember in the slightest? Sometimes, they’ll charge in a quick sequence while they can before your account gets frozen. If you have any doubts then it’s generally a good idea to contact your credit card company.
They can help work with you to see if fraudulent charges really were made and temporarily freeze your account while they sort things out.
Avoiding Credit Card Fraud
Since people can often make charges, especially online, just by having your card and knowing all of the information on it, it’s important that you protect your card as you would physical cash. Physical protection is mostly common sense stuff like not leaving a wallet out where kids can get into it, and always keeping it on your person when you take it out into public.
However, many scammers love to hit you when you are online. There are malicious programs, viruses, and especially websites that are set up to steal private information like credit card numbers. Here’s a few quick tips to increase your safety while using the computer and internet.
- Have an anti-virus program installed while using the computer. These will let you know when a program you are executing might be harmful and are often bundled with web addons that do the same for websites. If they find a virus, they will ask you to confirm their removal from your computer.
- Always check the URL of links you click on while online. There are many websites set up to look exactly like the real version of the website and have a form for registering a fake account. These forms may ask for your credit card information and once you hit submit, it will be added to the thieves database.
- As a rule of thumb, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. Not all scams out there are malicious and will steal your information, but some do and all of them will rip you off. Read the fine print if you’re not certain.