How to Protect Your Credit and Debit Card Activities

Take control of your financial future with these tips to protect your credit card activities.

11/17/2015

Protect Your Credit and Debit Cards During This Holiday Shopping Season

Credit and debit cards have become a preferred way of purchasing for many people.  They are convenient, accepted by most stores, eliminate the need to carry cash, are often easier to use than a check.  Along with these benefits, comes the risk that a thief will steal your card or your card information. If that happens, the thief can then charge purchases to your account.  Here are some guidelines to protect your card activities:
 
First, you need to physically protect your credit and debit cards.

  • Only have as many cards as you need and carry as few as possible.
  • Keep any seldom-used cards in a safe place.
  • Keep a list of your card numbers and the phone numbers of the issuing companies in a secure place.
  • If you are expecting a new or re-issued credit or debit card and don’t receive it, contact the issuing company or bank right away.
  • Activate and sign any new cards as soon as you get them.
 
You also need to protect your card information.
  • Never write your PIN numbers on your cards.
  • Never give card information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • If your credit card or checking statement does not arrive as expected, contact the issuing company to make sure that someone has not changed your address and started receiving your statements.
  • When writing a check to pay your credit card bill, do not put the full credit card account number on the memo line.  Just use the last four digits.
  • Do not use your card at an ATM, gas station, or retail store that has card reader that appears to have been tampered with. These machines may have been manipulated by criminals using skimming devices to steal your card information. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your bank or card issuing company. They are more than willing to work with you to look into it and resolve the matter.
 
And no one should use your card without your permission.
  • Never lend your card to someone else because they could use it improperly or it could be stolen.
  • Always total the receipt and draw lines through unused spaces on the receipt.  This is especially important at restaurants.
  • Never sign a blank charge slip.
  • When using your card, be sure to get it back and take the receipt.  This way you can compare them to your account statement.
 
In case you have problems, there are some steps you should take.
  • If your card is lost, contact the issuing company or bank immediately.
  • If you believe your card was stolen, contact the police and the issuing company or bank.
  • If your wallet or purse is stolen, contact all your card issuers to report the theft.
  • Most card companies have a toll-free numbers for reporting stolen or missing cards.

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