As a part of National Consumer Protection Week, an annual weekly campaign to better educate consumers about their rights and ways to protect themselves, we would like to take the opportunity today to discuss credit card protection.
We know that the most common and obvious form of credit card fraud is through identity theft, especially in recent years through internet hacking. But there are still many ways your credit card information could be acquired through every day, seemingly normal occurrences:
– A corrupt clerk or waiter could take a photo of your card to buy items or open other accounts.
– Perhaps you get an exciting phone call about a free trip or discounted travel package, asking you to join a club and give your account number to hold your place. These are prevalent cases where you may find fraudulent activity on your credit cards.
Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud
- Never give your account information to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call and know that the company is established. If you’re unsure, quickly do an online search of the company before relaying any information whatsoever.
- When purchasing an item in person, keep an eye on your card and make sure you get it back before you leave the checkout counter.
- Notice what you are signing. If a receipt is blank, never sign it. Draw a distinct line above any blank spaces before the total.
- Notify your credit card company if your address changes or if you will be traveling.
If any of your cards have been lost or stolen, federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges. It’s important to act immediately, most companies have a 24 hour service and once the card has been deemed stolen, you are protected by federal law for any unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.
Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
- Your liability for unauthorized use of your credit card tops out at $50. However, according to the FBCA, if you report the loss before your credit card is used, you are not responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize. If your credit card number is stolen, but not the card, you are not liable for unauthorized use.
- For ATM cards: If you report an ATM or debit card missing before someone uses it, the EFTA says you are not responsible for any unauthorized transactions. If someone uses your ATM or debit card before you report it lost or stolen, your liability depends on how quickly you report it:
Fair Credit Billing
Have you ever been billed for merchandise you returned or never received? Has your credit card company ever charged you twice for the same item or failed to credit a payment to your account? These errors can be corrected with time, patience and knowledge of the dispute settlement procedures provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).
When it comes to using and managing your credit cards, accidents and mistakes happen all the time to everyone. It’s how you handle these misfortunes that make all the difference. If you don’t take the necessary steps to remedy the effects of fraudulent activity you may find yourself drowning in debt.
If you need additional information or help regarding credit card debt management, call 800-769-3571 today!