by JOHN STYLIANOU, ACCOUNTANT
It used to be easy to protect your credit cards. All you had to do was keep your card safely in your purse or wallet and watch out for pickpockets. Nowadays, sadly, that’s not nearly enough. While your card is safely in your pocket, someone could be using the number to make purchases by telephone or on the Internet. Even worse, an identity thief could be walking around with a pocketful of cards with your name on them. And you won’t even know about those cards until the collection agencies start calling.
Here are our top five tips to guard against fraud
1.- Never give out your credit card number over the phone or online unless you’ve initiated the transaction and you know who you’re dealing with
2.- Save your credit card receipts. Reconcile them to your statement each month just as you do with your checkbook. Report any differences immediately
3.- If you suspect you’re a victim of fraud, consider putting a “freeze” or “fraud alert” on your credit agency files. This stops anyone from checking your credit report without your permission and may prevent new cards from being issued to a thief
4.- Shred your credit card receipts after you’ve checked them and shred offers for new cards. Don’t just throw them in the trash
Keep a list of phone numbers for your credit card issuers and take it with you when you travel