Thursday, March 29, 2012

Credit card theft: How to keep your credit cards safe by Kate Johns

When a thief swipes one of your credit cards, he has the opportunity to live with wild abandon while you have no idea what is going on until you get a very large credit card bill in the mail. Then suddenly your world is turned upside down, when you must pay back huge bills you didn’t make in the first place.
Sometimes you get lucky, with a quick thinking bank employee seeing many out of character charges to your credit card, alerting you to this horrid reality. But most of the time, you will just have to pay either very large bills, or a series of small bills amounting to your entire credit card limit. That’s why you must be proactive to protect your credit cards from theft.

Here are ten common sense tips to protect your credit cards from theft:

1. Try to only have one credit card. It is more difficult to keep track of numerous credit cards. With many stores allowing anyone to sign for a credit card purchase without checking the signature or for proper identification, nearly anyone can grab a credit card and use it to your detriment.

2. After using your credit card, put it away. This keeps your credit card close to your proverbial vest. This allows for less stealing of your credit card and its numbers.

3.  Make certain you have signed the back of the credit card. That way, the credit card thief will have to sign your name like you do. If the store checks the card's signature, with your photo i.d.   

4. Avoid overusing your credit cards. The more you utilize your credit cards, the more chances there are for people to copy the number and your name to use it later.

5. Lock any and all of your credit cards in a safe at home. It may seem like an extreme move on your part, but you are better off, safe than sorry. Keep the credit cards locked up, away from criminals, especially if you are the party goer, who enjoys a good time.

6. Acquire credit cards with very low credit limits. Then if a criminal element swipes one of your credit cards, he can only spend so much of your hard earned money.

7. Always be aware of what you have bought each month with your credit cards. Always keep your credit card bills in one place at home, such as in a file drawer. This way, you have an ongoing record of what you bought, where you bought it and how much you spent. Just in case someone starts charging numerous or one large bill to one of your cards; you have a paper trail, and can verify that you did not use your credit card to charge those bills.

8. When you are on vacation, make certain you know where your one credit card is. If you don’t need it, lock it up in a hotel safe. If you find erroneous charges on it, you can place blame on that hotel.

9. Try to only use your credit card in an emergency.You might only use it to pay for things that are not everyday items such as buying food at the grocery store. This way, you have established verifiable credit history of how you utilize your credit card. Then if someone starts charging many items to your card, it is easier for a bank or credit card employee to see that something doesn’t seem quite right.

10. Don’t loan your credit cards to anyone. You are the authorized signor for your credit cards. Even though, many stores allow other people to purchase items on different cards, and usually don’t check the signature, with your signature established you have more evidence to use against a criminal.

Protect your credit cards by using your common sense. If you are a wealthy person like Paris Hilton or Charlie Sheen,you can afford to pay numerous credit card bills. Protect your future by knowing where your credit cards are, and how much you spend on them every month.

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