Credit cards are a huge part of the American way of life today. With the increasingly electronic world of finances and bill paying today, credit cards are almost a necessity for anyone who wants to keep up with the times and enjoy the convenience and ease of this method of payment.
Credit cards have made themselves a necessary “evil" in today's world. Credit cards offer such ease of use and a convenience unmatched by other forms of payment, but that also comes with abuse by both the cardholders by misusing them, and by thieves who are up to no good that will profit from getting your information off of a card. As a result, there are increasingly more reports of credit card scams today.
These scams can range from identity theft to people hacking into our computers to obtain credit and financial information. In one recent credit card scam, a person calls the home of the credit card owner. Identity thefts may pose as a representative from security department or fraud prevention department of some company, in order that they may get personal information from you.
They claim they have flagged your account for unauthorized purchases and they want to give you a credit on your account. The caller then says he needs your information, verifies your address and name on the account and asks for the 3 numbers on the back of the card. These 3 numbers are the security code that proves that you are in possession of the card.
Within a few days, the caller is fraudulently charging on your account using the security code numbers that you have given them. So, consumer beware. Never give out personal or credit card numbers and information to anyone that calls you and aks for this information. This is not standard procedure for most places of business, unless you arranged this with a company for payment.
The credit card companies won't call and ask you for this information because they already know it and have it on file. If you encounter this situation, hang up and call the police and the credit card company. Con artists may use a variation of this type of scam as they may have part of the information from your account and then they're calling you to"verify" the remainder of it so they can fraudulently use your credit card.
There are some unscrupulous scams in the form of guaranteed credit and loans via emails on the internet. Many emails of this nature are simply looking for you to give up your personal information online to them so they can use it for identity theft.
To protect against internet style credit scams, keep your computer safe with updated antivirus software, antispy software, a firewall and an antiphishing toolbar. Phishing, where a criminal sends an email that is supposed to be from a reputable bank is becoming more popular, and you want to make sure you do not respond to these emails or give any personal information to them. The threat of something known as identity theft, which is closely tied to credit card fraud, is so abundant today that many singular companies are offering a guarantee to protect you from it for a monthly or yearly fee.
The best way to protect yourself without resorting to a monthly bill is to know what to beware of. If you lose your wallet or checkbook, or if it is stolen, cancel all credit cards and accounts and report it immediately. Shred all personal documents and information before disposing of it to prevent dumpster diving scams.
People who steal identities are saavy, and you want to make sure you don't make their job easier by leaving around payment stubs, unused credit card offers and other items with personal information. A paper shredder may even be a good idea. Another scam is a con artist posing as a person with a valid reason to obtain personal information. Unfortunately, identity theft can also be done as the result of an inside job by family members, friends or even a babysitter with access to your personal information.
Means of prevention of identity theft are cancel all inactive accounts, sign your credit cards and don't give out personal information when using your card.
You can request electronic versions of bills and statements and direct deposits of your payroll checks. I know it's hard to keep up with sometimes (this is why you should probably limit your number of credit cards), but it is prudent to check your credit card statements every month in order to catch any possibly fraudulent charges or suspicious activity.
Danna Schneider is the founder of Credit Cards Directory : Airline Miles, Low APR, Gas Cards for information on low interest credit cards, special deals on low to no interest credit cards, and the best deals currently going in credit and loans. She also manages an online financial and credit info blog Low Interest Rate Credit Cards and Prime Rate Loans .