Tuesday, 17 April 2012
NIGERIA'S CASHLESS SOCIETY: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FRAUD!
Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorised funds from an account. Credit card fraud is also an adjunct to identity theft.
Before now, many finance experts had noted that credit card fraud was an increasingly serious problem, having grown almost threefold in frequency in the last five years.
With the growth rate of such fraud, there’s the need not to underrate the most common scam, called “identity theft”, where the criminal opens a credit card or other account with another person’s name and social security number (or other uniquely identifying information).
This means that you must protect your credit cards as if they were money. If you can’t afford to lose money, then you can’t afford to lose your credit card.
Recently, personal finance experts from investorguide hinted some steps you as a credit card user can take to reduce the risk of credit fraud; this is in addition to checking your credit report periodically.
Firstly, according to these experts, for those living in developed economies, you must try to limit the number of people you give your social security number to.
“Get a copy of your social security earnings and benefits statement once a year to ensure that no one is using your social security number for employment,” the experts said, adding that you must try and sign new credit cards as soon as you receive them.
According to them, there is the need to check every charge on every statement and confirm that they are purchases that you made, meaning that you must report any unexpected charges immediately.
As a preventive mechanism, you must as well maintain a list of your credit card account numbers and those companies’ phone numbers in a safe place, so you can notify them immediately if your cards are lost or stolen. Don’t reveal your credit information to anyone who calls you.
“Instead, call that company’s customer service number to confirm that the caller’s intent is genuine. Similarly, don’t enter your credit card number into a web site that is not secure,” they added.
Furthermore, for Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and other identification numbers, don’t use obvious choices, change them periodically, and don’t let others see them when you use an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or public phone. Cut up pre-approved card offers, receipts, and other documents that reveal your card numbers.
Experts at investorguide believe that if your credit card bill doesn’t arrive on time, you must call the issuer to see what the problem is. “A thief may have changed the billing address to enable them use it for a longer period of time,” they said.