Fraud poses a threat to consumers and the economy as a whole. Even the most wary and sophisticated consumers may fall victim to fraudulent offers in the mail, in the media, and on the Internet.
You can protect yourself by learning to recognize e-mail fraud and identify unauthorized purchases. By practicing safe online shopping and immediately reporting lost or stolen cards, you can dramatically reduce your chances of being defrauded.
Identity Theft Prevention & Protection
Identity theft is a growing and serious problem and it may lead to instances of credit card fraud. The best defense against identity theft is to prevent thieves from getting the information in the first place. Simple guidelines to follow include:
What to do if you suspect fraudulent activity
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, and don’t carry your identity card, birth certificate, or passport in your wallet or purse unless it’s absolutely necessary. If your identity card or driver’s license is missing, contact the appropriate government agency immediately.
- Sign your credit and debit cards in permanent ink as soon as you receive them. Do not write your credit or debit card account number on a check, or use it for identification when paying by other means.
- Call your card issuer if a new or reissued card does not arrive when expected, and be sure to cancel any inactive payment card accounts.
- Never throw away receipts in a public trash container. When disposing of receipts or old statements, destroy the areas where the account number is visible.
- Make a note of when your financial statements arrive each month. If your statements stop arriving, contact your bank immediately. Check those statements frequently and carefully. If you find an unauthorized or questionable transaction, call the appropriate organizations immediately.
- Never give any payment card or bank information to anyone by telephone, even if you made the call, unless you can positively verify that the call is legitimate and there is a true need for the information.
- Keep a list of all your credit accounts and bank accounts in a secure place, with account numbers, expiration dates, and telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments.
- Always check your card when returned to you after a purchase.
- Call your financial institution immediately. It may want to cancel your current card and mail you a new one. Check to verify that your mailing address has not been changed.
- Diligently check your statements in the months following to make sure the problem has been completely resolved.
- Report the fraudulent activity to the proper authorities, such as police or your issuing bank in the case of identity theft.