Most national credit card companies are ready to accept phone calls from frantic cardholders that have been victims of lost or stolen credit cards. All cards have 800 numbers to call for instant assistance. All insist you will not be held accountable for any unauthorized purchases. Many suggest registering with The Register®, a company that will contact all your cards to cancel and notify them of your situation. A relief? Most likely not if the thief has swapped your whole identity.
Identity theft is on the rise. It affects nearly seven to ten million people a year alone. Not paying attention to individual credit could be a detrimental factor in protecting what is yours. Federal law prohibits any credit company to hold you liable for more than $50 in unauthorized spending. Yet, true fraud takes away a victim’s good name on credit reports and therefore will affect the future application process when applying for loans, renting or buying homes or purchasing large items on credit.
There are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim:
- Do not carry more than a couple of cards at a time.
- Leave your social security card at home and do not give it out unless absolutely necessary.
- Never give out credit card information over the phone.
- Check your credit report at least once a year.
- Keep photocopies of all credit cards in a safe place for emergencies.
- When making a purchase, double check that the clerk gives you back your card and the receipt.
- Shred documents that have account numbers on them.
- Know your passwords by memory.
Taking these few fundamental steps could protect you from becoming a victim.