Credit cards are probably the greatest financial innovations since the formation of modern banks in the Renaissance. Credit cards allow you to shop anywhere in the world and even online! Having almost instant access to credit, and even enjoy perks like insurance. However, having a credit card also exposes you to fraud. To help you avoid this, here are a few tips on learning about your credit card features and spotting credit card fraud.
Tip #1: Monitor your credit card regularly
Your best protection against credit card fraud is to monitor your card’s account regularly. This is an important tip: You have to take the time to collect all your card receipts and review your statements (as soon as you receive them) so that you can keep track of all the charges that goes into your accounts.
If you’ve been keeping receipts but noticed that some charges don’t seem to have any, you’ll have to rely on your memory. Look closely at the establishment’s name and the corresponding “activity” listed and try to remember if you really did use your credit card there.
Tip #2: Sign up for online services
If your bank or credit union offers online access to your account, sign up for it. These online services usually allow customers to look at e-statements, payment histories, recent charges and spending patterns. If you keep tabs on your account/s frequently, you’ll easily spot any fraudulent charges, even before it shows up on your card’s paper statement, which would arrive weeks after.
Tip #3: Check your credit report
Getting your credit report is another way to detect credit card fraud. To get a copy, contact Veda Advantage or Dun & Bradstreet. To verify your identity, the credit bureaus typically ask for the following information:
- Your complete name
- Your current address
- Your previous address
- Birth date
- Driver’s licence number
With your credit report, you can verify the information listed there. If anything seems suspicious, contact the credit bureau to amend the inaccuracies.
Tip #4: Verify the amount in online purchases
Whenever you buy something online using your credit card, make sure you verify the amount charged to your card. There are times when companies throw in bonuses like complimentary items or gift cards in your purchase, which could charge you extra if you mistakenly agree to take it. Here’s the worst part: you won’t know about the hidden charge until it shows up in your statement.
Tip #5: Pay attention to warning signs
You should always keep your eyes open for warning signs that could indicate credit card fraud. These include the following:
- Charges on your credit card that you can’t remember or explain. These could be fraudulent charges.
- Wrong information on your credit report. This could include personal information like your name, Social Security number or address. If an identity thief opens a credit account using your name, it’s going to show up on the credit report.
- You get letters and/or calls from collecting agencies about items or services you don’t remember purchasing.
- You receive mail about a house you never bought, a job you never had or any other suspicious information.
- You apply for a car or home loan and discover that there are so-called problems with your credit history, which delays the loan’s approval.
- Not getting your credit card bill at all. This could imply that an identity thief has already changed your address to conceal their activities.
- You receive credit cards that you didn’t apply for.
- If you’re denied credit, or are offered unfavourable credit (e.g. a high interest rate) for no evident reason.