Credit card fraud takes place every day in a variety of ways. Thankfully, there are ways we can create obstacles to make it more difficult for fraudsters to get your card information.

When Can Credit Card Fraud Occur?

Ranging from dumpster diving to hacking your computer, there are no limits to how people can find your information! Credit card fraud can be as simple as rummaging through your trash to find billing statements.

There have been instances of retail websites being hacked resulting in card numbers being stolen and shared. There have even been occurrences of baristas and others in the service industry taking pictures of credit cards and using the information later to make purchases. You even get a call offering a free trip or discounted travel package, but to be eligible, you have to join a club and give your account number to guarantee your place. The next thing you know, charges you didn’t make are on your bill, and the trip promoters who called you are nowhere to be found.

Can We Protect Ourselves?

There are a few practices we can keep in mind to greatly reduce our chances of becoming a victim. Don’t lend your card to anyone (even your kids or roommates) and don’t leave your cards, receipts, or statements around your home or office. When you no longer need them, shred them before throwing them away (this can always be done at our seasonal Shred Days!).

Other fraud protection practices include:

  • Don’t give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable. If you have never done business with them before, complete an online search first for reviews or complaints.
  • Carry your cards separately from your wallet because it can minimize your losses if someone steals your wallet or purse. Try to carry only the card you need for that outing.
  • During a transaction, keep your eye on your card. Make sure you get it back before you walk away.
  • Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
  • Save your receipts to compare with your statement.
  • Open your bills promptly (or check them online often) and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made.
  • Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
  • Notify your card issuer if your address changes or if you will be traveling.
  • Don’t write your account number on the outside of an envelope.
  • Report losses and fraud

Call the card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with this. At Cascade Community Credit Union, we can also print you a new debit card instantly, so you’ll face as little disruption in your day to day life as possible.

Need a new debit card now? Stop by our Harvard Branch today!