What you need to know about credit card fraud

June 2, 2017 | Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Confident couple with a Mission Fed credit card and laptop.

It may seem like there’s little you can do to keep credit card fraud from happening to you. However, there are ways to protect yourself and make it much harder for criminals to get your information. Let’s take a look at how credit card fraud usually occurs and how you can protect yourself—and your money—from financial fraud.

What is credit card fraud?

Credit card fraud refers to the theft of your card or information on your card and the use of this information for fraudulent purposes. Criminals can use your credit card information to purchase things for themselves without your knowledge, open new credit union credit cards under your name for their use or to get unauthorized funds from your account. Thieves can retrieve your credit card information in a number of ways, from digging through your trash, to find old billing statements and even from hacking a retail website where they steal your credit card number and share it. Phishing scams, online merchants that include fine print allowing them to charge your card for additional charges and straightforward theft are other common forms of financial fraud. So, how do you stop credit card fraud before it starts?

How to help protect yourself from financial fraud

The best practice to help protect yourself against credit card fraud is to keep your cards and personal information safe and make it difficult for anyone to get ahold of your credit card numbers. There are several ways to protect your credit card information from getting into the wrong hands. Here are 12 dos and don’ts for protecting yourself from financial fraud:

  1. Don’t lend your credit or debit cards to anyone.
  2. Don’t leave anything with your card numbers on it out at work or at home. Keep financial documents safely filed and locked up. And when you no longer need your documents, shred them.
  3. Don’t give your card number to anyone over the phone or Internet without first verifying the company is legitimate and be aware of the charges you are authorizing.
  4. Don’t carry your cards with you unless you plan to use them that day. This might seem impossible, but with advance in technology, Mobile Wallets are available now to make purchases using your smart phone at retail stores and more.
  5. Don’t sign blank documents, checks or receipts.
  6. Do carefully watch your card and anyone running it to identify suspicious behavior (like taking pictures of your card or writing down your account number on paper).
  7. Do check your account online frequently and your monthly statements to quickly identify and report charges you didn’t make.
  8. Do shred credit cards once they’re expired or no longer in use.
  9. Do change your address if you move. Notify card companies and put a hold on your mail if you’ll be traveling for an extended period.
  10. Do keep account numbers obscured with security envelopes when sending mail.
  11. Do enroll your Mission Fed Credit or Debit Card in Mastercard ID Theft Alerts™. This free service alerts Mission Fed cardholders when personal information is being bought or sold online. Once you register for the service, you simply enter the personal information you want monitored, such as your Credit or Debit Card, social security number, driver license and other personal information, and you will be notified if the information is ever listed on the dark web.

If you are the victim of credit card fraud, what should you do?

If you realize that your credit card information has been used fraudulently, call your credit card company immediately. Keep a record of numbers to call for each credit card to report loss or fraud. You’ll likely have to sign a statement testifying that you did not make the fraudulent purchases. For more information about how to keep your information secure online, read about how Mission Federal Credit Union helps to protect our customers from financial fraud here.

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.

ID Theft Alerts are limited to cardholders with a US issued card. Additional terms and conditions apply. ID Theft Protection and ID Theft Alerts are registered trademarks of Mastercard International, Inc.

Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Millie Garland-D’Aprile is VP Operations at Mission Federal Credit Union. She has enjoyed several decades of customer service and operations experience in the financial industry, including 22 years at a local community bank and 18 years with Credit Unions. Millie’s primary responsibilities at Mission Fed include branch support, quality assurance, asset protection and fraud, and she is always delighted to share her experience and insights with colleagues throughout the Credit Union. Millie and her team have been working to help protect members by increasing fraud awareness.

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