Five ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud

Making purchases with your credit card is convenient and very safe. In the event of credit card fraud or a stolen credit card, there are steps you can take to erase fraudulent charges and protect your money. It pays to be vigilant in the use of your card — here are 5 ways to greatly reduce the chance you’ll be affected by credit card fraud.

1. Evaluate websites before entering credit card data

People who commit credit fraud use the Internet to their advantage by stealing credit card information from unsecure websites as well as fake sites.

When shopping online, make sure you’re on a site that has “https” in the address line, which indicates it’s secure. You should also examine the site for proof of authentication services. For example, VeriSign is a trusted company that secures the information entered in the purchase screens for online retailers. If the site lacks a security policy, doesn’t bear the seal of a trusted authentication service provider or phone number, it’s possible that your credit card information will be exposed to hackers.

2. Keep your credit card protected and out of sight

Be aware of your surroundings, and don’t present your card until it’s necessary. Refrain from reading your card number out loud in public; keep your PIN hidden on keypads by use of your hand or body; and ensure if a cashier requests to see your card, it is always in sight.

3. Regularly check your statements for odd charges

If credit card fraud has taken place, your best chance of repairing the damage is to catch it early. Look for charges from places you know you did not make purchases. The general thought is credit card thieves will start with small charges to see if the cardholder notices. For example, you may see purchases at a sandwich shop, gas station or online retailer for just a few dollars. If you spot these charges, follow the steps of reporting a stolen credit card immediately “What to do in the event of a stolen credit card.”

4. Shred your statements and card specific documentation

Thieves going through the trash is another common source of credit card fraud. To protect yourself from this low-tech scam, shred your statements and other papers that show your card number, rather than throwing them in the trash.

5. Consider using a credit card over a debit card

Finally, to limit the damage that can result from credit fraud, it may be better to use a credit card for purchases rather than a debit card.

A credit card is not tied directly into your bank account, so if fraudulent charges start appearing, you can appeal those charges without having had your money liquidated. If there is fraudulent use of your debit card, the money would start coming out of your account immediately, putting more of a strain on your finances.

Learn more about card security from CIBC

CIBC offers a variety of credit cards that come with credit card fraud protection so that you can make purchases with confidence. You can sign up for alerts when out-of-the-ordinary charges are made on your account and take advantage of CIBC’s identity theft assistance if it becomes necessary. If you have more questions about credit card fraud or credit cards in general, contact a CIBC customer service representative at 1-800-465-4653.

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