We’re in a world where speed is now the name of the game. From fast foods, to fast cars and, yes, fast business transactions. Add to that the internet and “fast” has gone onto a different level entirely.
Most times, especially when making business transactions, speed could be very important. Several banks have come up with different schemes and plans to make the exchange of money simpler, faster and better. Companies now offer their customers several channels through which they can make payments faster.
As the saying goes, however, “speed kills.” Just as with everything you can think of, these several means of conducting fast transactions also have their bad sides.
There are so many fraudsters waiting to take advantage of people while they’re busy conducting these fast transactions or payments.
Most times, they target their bank accounts or the cards (credit or debit cards). In this article, we’ll be focusing on credit card frauds and how to make sure that you’re not added to the ever-growing list of credit card fraud victims.
So, what is credit card fraud?
The FBI defines credit card fraud as the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or number, to fraudulently obtain money or property.
After obtaining information about your credit-card, usually the thief uses the credit card to make purchases. Then they go on to either sell their purchases for money or keep them for their own use.
But most of these criminals now go beyond just using your card to make purchases.
Some of them take their antics up a notch by using the information to open accounts or take loans in the card owner’s name. This causes the victim to go through the stress of getting the funds returned and getting his/her name cleared.
Despite the several efforts made by companies and financial institutions to check credit card frauds, the numbers still remain alarming. About 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft, especially credit card fraud, annually. This leads us to the next part of this article: How do you avoid credit card fraud? Here are 3 ways:
1. Handle Sensitive Bank Documents Carefully
It’s easy to overlook security when it comes to handling bank statements, credit card reports, ATM receipts, and even our credit cards,” says Graeme Donnelly, CEO of Quality Formations. “We tend to either carelessly discard them or keep them in the open where all can have access to them. This is wrong, and it can cause you to fall victim of credit card thieves.”
Always keep documents pertaining to your accounts safe. You cannot afford to have something as important as your credit card just lying on the office table. Keep it safely in your wallet or bag.
And if you feel you no longer need some of these bank documents, don’t just throw them in the bin. Shred or burn them. If you get emails about your account, make sure that your email password is strong enough and you change it every now and then, especially if you notice anything strange.
2. Patronize Companies That Offer Trusted Card Processing
There are several companies, that offer different card solutions for businesses transactions. Depending on whether you’re receiving payments or making them, you should stick to card processing companies who are good at what they do to avoid credit card frauds.
Also make your enquiries on the company you’re purchasing from. Read up reviews about them. Ask questions like, what’s their card processing like? How much emphasis do they place on security? Do they offer solutions that include fraud prevention? Answering these questions will ensure you only do business with the safest companies.
3. Keep An Eye On Your Account(s) Frequently
You’re probably wondering how this can help you to avoid credit card fraud, but let’s look at things from a helpful angle.
Assume you leave your account for two to three months. During this time, you did not check the activities on the account, had no idea about what transactions were taking place on the account, and opted to not receive alerts via phone or e-mail.
It would be almost impossible to know if there was a fraud on that account or not. And if you don’t detect the fraud early, how would you make quick moves to rectify the situation with your bank?
The importance of keeping up to date with activities on your account cannot be overemphasized. Check your accounts as regularly as you can.
Dan DeFelippi, who was convicted of credit card fraud and ID theft in 2004 advised thus: “the most important thing really is to watch your accounts.”
As far as staying safe from credit card fraud is concerned, you cannot be too careful. You have to take all necessary measures to ensure that you don’t fall victim. Use these tips, but also be on the lookout for other security measures you can take to remain safe.