Credit Card Security TipsAuthor: Margaret Winfrey
Credit card security is a hot topic these days and is something that is on the minds of all consumers. Knowing how to protect your credit cards and information from identity thieves in both the real world and cyberspace are viable concerns. After all, many Internet users consider a purchase on a website to be more risky than a real life transaction; however, just the opposite is true. Learning to identify safe sites that protect your credit is a step in the right direction for enhanced credit card security.About the Author:
Another step is to research various identity protection companies that protect your credit and vital information. One such credit card security company, LifeLock, keeps a watchful eye on your credit and informs you every time a request is made or a new line is opened. If you haven’t authorized the credit, then LifeLock contacts the appropriate authorities for you.
In any case, caution should be exerted when using your credit or check cards. Do you know the best way to protect your credit cards and keep safe from identity thieves? Furthermore, do you know what you should do in case a theft should occur? Following these credit card security tips can help keep you and your credit safe from outside sources.
Protect Your Credit Cards: Guidelines
The most important thing to keep in mind is exerting caution, but these suggestions will help protect your credit information as well as help guard you from thieves and maximize your credit card security.
• Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put PHOTO ID REQUIRED on the back and make sure that whoever swipes your card verifies your identity before the transaction is complete.
• When writing checks to pay for your credit card accounts, do not put the complete account number on the 'For' line in the lower left corner. Instead, simply write the last four numbers of the credit account. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and understands the necessity for credit card security. Better yet, anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels will not have access to it.
• Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Credit card security dictates that you should never have your Social Security number printed on your checks. If necessary, you can add it to the check when appropriate.
• Photocopy the contents of your wallet. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, and any other important documents necessary to protect your credit information. You will know what you had in your wallet as well as all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call if you must cancel your accounts. Above all, keep the photocopies in a safe place. Photocopying your wallet’s contents is an important step in credit card security; after all, we've all heard horror stories about fraud that is committed on unsuspecting consumers by merely stealing a name, address, Social Security number, or credit card.
In Case of an Emergency
If your card or wallet is stolen, use these vital credit card security tips to minimize the potential damage:
• Should your wallet or credit cards be stolen, act fast! Protect your credit information and cancel your cards at once. The key is having both the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep these numbers close by where you can easily find them should the necessity of heightened credit card security become a reality.
• File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards and other identification documents were stolen. This swift and responsible action proves to credit providers that you are diligent about credit card security and is the first step toward an investigation should there ever be one.
• Most important of all, however, is to call the three national credit reporting organizations to place a fraud alert on your name. After this report, call the Social Security fraud line number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they must contact you by phone to authorize any new lines of credit.
In my own situation with identify theft, the damage had already been done by the time I had acted. Of course, by the time I was advised to call the credit reporting agencies, it had been almost two weeks since the incident occurred. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert to protect my credit information. Since then, no additional damage has been done. My actions to protect my credit information seem to have stopped them dead in their tracks.
Who to Contact
Finally, here are the numbers you always need to use if your wallet has been stolen:
• Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
• Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
• Trans Union: 1-800-680 7289
• Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Make sure you pass along this credit card security information and use it for yourself as well. You have the power to protect your credit cards from theft and fraud. Don’t become another casualty – take charge of your credit and vital information.
For more information on credit cards, go to MyCreditCard.com where you can compare credit cards and other credit card offers and applications from major banks and issuers.
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