Protecting credit cards from theft and unauthorized use

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Credit Card Applications » Research » Guides » Cardholder Benefits » Protecting credit cards from theft and unauthorized use

Protecting credit cards from theft and unauthorized use


Updated: December 25, 2012

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Like anything else that is valuable, a credit card too has the threat of thefts and unauthorized usage. Credit card companies have many anti theft and fraud protection programs in place, but they are never enough if the card holders are not cautious enough in using them.

The biggest security threat can come from using the credit card on the internet without exercising caution. All card holders must make sure of the following before giving out information pertaining to the credit card account on websites:

  • All websites that are authentic and secure will have a sign of a lock at the bottom right corner. This means that the information given on the website is safe and secure. Credit card information must only be revealed on websites that have this mark. This ensures that the information is less vulnerable on the internet.
  • Card holders must avoid writing down important and confidential information like credit card numbers and pin numbers. Chances of misplacing written down information are more, making them very unsafe.
  • Credit cards must never be left unattended, or out of sight. This is very important while travelling and in public places like shopping malls, bus stops and so on.
  • Credit card holders must also be very careful in giving out credit card information over the phone. There is no way of establishing authenticity over the phone, so divulging such sensitive information can increase the chances of fraudulent use of cards.
  • Discarding bills and other documents with account information on them can cause unwanted problems, since they can easily be accessed by anyone. Shredding these documents before discarding is important.
  • Card holders must also be attentive of multiple swipes while using the credit cards and must always verify any such doubtful transactions.
  • Reporting to the credit card company immediately if credit cards are found stolen can prevent unauthorized use of credit cards. Credit card companies can cancel the credit account immediately, which will protect the identity of the card holder.

Federal laws do not allow credit card unions to charge customers for the unauthorized use of credit cards. Card holders are not liable for the bill amount incurred after they report the stolen credit cards. Reporting within 24 hours can avoid even the nominal fifty dollar fee for stolen cards that the companies are allowed to charge. Credit card companies have many fraud protection programs that may cause a service fee every month, but they are worth it considering the identity theft risks.

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