Credit Card Fraud - Know How to Protect Yourself

Credit Card Fraud is a very common problem today. In fact, credit card fraud statistics show that it is one of the top reported crimes in the United States, followed by Identity Theft. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which a person may obtain your credit card information. In addition, there are also steps a person can take to apply for and gain a credit card in your name! No matter how careful you are, or how well you cover your financial tracks, there are surprisingly still a lot of methods credit card scam artists use to obtain your credit card information. Further, there are also a lot of ways in which a person may alter a charge you made resulting in a greater amount of money than what you authorized to be used. The following will examine some of the more popular methods of credit card fraud, as well as steps you can take to protect yourself from them.

Outdated Terminals

Recently, laws have changed so that merchants must used credit card terminals that only show the last four digits of a consumerís number on the transaction receipt, however, there are still many small businesses that have older, outdated terminals that print off the entire credit card number. This is very dangerous and can lead to your credit card number falling into the wrong hands. For this reason it is very important to make sure you get your receipts with each transaction, or make sure t is destroyed and discarded properly. In addition, you may report any business that is using a terminal which reveals the credit card number in its entirety to the Credit Card Fraud Prevention division of your local law enforcement office. They may be able to force the merchant to switch terminals by advising them of the law regarding such.

Credit Card Skimming

Credit card skimming is the term used to describe the practice of using an otherwise legitimate transaction to steal credit card information. This happens when an unsuspecting person pays the bill at their favorite restaurant only to have a shady employee write down their credit card information to use, or sell at a later date. This can occur in any establishment in which you pay with a credit card. Unfortunately, there isnít a lot that can be done to protect your self from this particular method of credit card theft, other than ceasing all credit card transactions. With that being said, keeping a good record of each and every place you used your credit card may help you determine where and when the information was stolen. Once you have figured out where you think the alleged theft took place you can contact the local authorities to assist you with credit card fraud reporting.

Credit Card Gratuity Adjusting

In every transaction there is a line on the receipt which you sign, in addition to a line which is used to add gratuity. In some cases, when eating in a restaurant, you may leave a cash tip and leave this line blank. The sever or cashier who processes your credit card can easily alter that line to add whatever amount he/she desires. In addition, if you do leave a certain amount, it is possible to alter that amount to a higher number. The best way to protect your self from this particular brand of credit card fraud is to make it nearly impossible for the line item to be changed. For example, if you do not leave a tip, you should always draw a distinct line through the line used for gratuity. Also, if you do leave a tip, make absolutely sure that you write it out in such a way that it would be difficult to change it.

Getting annual credit reports and even subscribing to a credit monitoring system is a great way to make sure your credit report has not been compromised by such acts as credit card fraud and identity theft. There is also a lot of additional information online designed to help protect you from credit card fraud.