identity theft credit card fraud

Identity theft credit card fraud is a growing problem in our country. It’s relatively easy for a crook to get your credit card information and rack up huge bills. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take so that you don’t become a victim of these financial terrorists.

Here are some thing to keep in mind so that your information is kept safe:

1. Always keep your credit cards secure. If you don’t need to use your credit card, don’t carry it with you. Some people have several credit cards in their wallet at any given time, but if their wallet is lost or stolen, they are very vulnerable to identity theft.

2. Instead of signing the back of your credit card, which really only lets a crook learn how to copy your signature, write “Request ID” or something similar. This will let a store clerk know that they should ask for some type of photo id. This is a much safer method to use than just signing your card.

3. Let credit card companies know that you don’t want to get any more offers in the mail. Thieves will literally steal a card offer right out of your mailbox, send it in and activate the card. They will then rack up a huge balance, and all of this is done in your name.

4. If you do receive credit card offers in the mail, shred all of the information before you throw it away.

5. Don’t take your trash out at night. Dumpster divers will steal trash bags from your trash can and sort through them for any personal information that they can use to steal your identity. Try to take your trash out during the day right before your trash man comes.

6. Take full advantage of your legal right to receive one free credit report from each credit bureau once every 12 months. You want to check reports from all three companies since they sometimes have different information.

Carefully look over the reports and if you notice any incorrect information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, make sure to contact that credit bureau immediately.

7. When you are at an ATM or gas pump, don’t use a card reader that looks like it isn’t an original part of the ATM or gas pump. Crooks now have access to portable card readers that will steal your financial information from the magnetic strip on your card. They can mount these card readers next to the real card reader on an ATM or gas pump and steal all the information of anyone who uses those machines.

If you ever see anything like this, or anything that doesn’t look right, don’t use it. Instead go to another ATM, or go into the bank or the gas station and ask them about it.

Identity theft credit card fraud is a growing problem, but there are some things you can do to protect yourself. Prevention is always the preferred course of action. Follow some simple rules, use common sense, and you can greatly decrease the likelihood that you’ll be a victim.

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