Credit Fraud: Easier to Prevent than You Might Think
You never thought credit fraud would happen to you...until it does. Credit fraud is just one of those things, we tend not to think about it until it is too late. But after a quick introduction to how easily fraud can happen - and how easily it can be prevented - youll be more aware of the situation and what you can do to prevent becoming a victim.
Generally, when we speak of credit fraud against consumers, we are thinking of thieves who use our cards as much as possible before we notice they are missing. Although there are no foolproof measures that can guarantee prevention of credit card fraud, there are several quick fixes you can take to minimize your risk, such as:
- signing your credit card as soon as you receive them;
- keeping a record of all account numbers, expiration dates, phone numbers and addresses in a safe
- carrying your credit cards separately from your purse or
- voiding and/or destroying incorrect charge slips and receipts; keeping an eye on your card throughout any transaction;
- and checking your bill for fraudulent charges.
Beyond those quick tips, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to know qualities often found in vulnerable consumers. In general, while trust in others is a virtue, vulnerable consumers tend to be too trusting. They fail to question the honesty of sales clerks or others. They forget that if it seems to good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true. They will often fail to seek further information about a situation, because they do not wish to admit their lack of experience and knowledge regarding the subject. They might agree to a transaction based on a feeling of some unexplained obligation to the person selling the product or service, or out of pity resulting from a sob story. They also may feel intimidated when it comes to asking questions regarding such things as price, quality of goods, or the "small print. Finally, vulnerable consumers tend to be those who fail to seek legal counsel (even when they become a victim), and they frequently neglect to report a crime to the necessary authorities. Search for these qualities in yourself; if they seem to describe you, work toward becoming less vulnerable. Just remember, your financial future is worth every amount of protection you can give it.
Smart consumers still fall victim to credit fraud event after taking steps to prevent
Unfortunately, it is always possible that you will do everything right and still become a victim. Here is a list of what you should do if you realize someone has created fraudulent transactions on your credit card. First, you should notify the credit card company as soon as possible! The majority of credit card companies have 24-hour toll free numbers, which can be used for this purpose. Next, if the fraud involves identity takeover, request a credit report and request a fraud victim information kit. Depending on the nature of the crime, you may even want to file a police report. It is also helpful to know these facts: After you have reported the loss or theft of your credit card, you can no longer be held responsible for any unauthorized charges that may be made with it from that point on; Your maximum liability under federal law, for unauthorized purchases made using your credit card, is only $50 per card. Keep records and document every correspondence you have with your card company. Sometimes a credit card company will determine that the charges are not fraudulent and will bill the fraudulent charges back to your credit
By keeping all this in mind, you can protect yourself from one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada. Be wary of those things that sound too good to be true, watch your cards like a hawk, and dont hesitate to ask for help if you become a victim.
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