Quickest Way to Become a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

by John Stevenson on October 30, 2011

There are a few things you will not share even with your family, like your underwear and your credit card. This sounds commonsense, but it actually isn’t for some people. Surprisingly, 15 percent of cardholders will lend their credit card to another person, and 14 percent of Canadians will disclose their PIN to others.

Is this a save thing to do? A recent survey of Visa Canada reveals that some 25 percent of Canadians have become a victim of card fraud at some point (the Globe and Mail). What are the risks of this type of sharing? Family members can write all credit card details on a sheet of paper and lose it. They may shop online, using sites that are not legitimate. Or they may choose to access account information from a public computer, e.g. an internet café or a library. These are all quick ways to be taken advantage of. Besides, a family member or a close friend may be threatened by a criminal to disclose your PIN. What if your friend or family member turns against you at some point in the future? The possibilities are endless. And if you really want to give your PIN, make sure the credit limit is not as high as to get you in deep trouble.

Sharing your PIN with family and friends is only one of the many ways to become a victim of fraud. Think about this one – if your bank is to contact you by e-mail, would you disclose your account information? No. Banks never contact their clients by e-mail to ask for account information. They should have this warning on their websites, making sure clients know this is a fraud attempt. If you are emailed with this request, you are likely to be phished. This means that cons are trying to obtain personal details from persons who think they were contacted by a legitimate financial institution.

What if you move and you forget to notify your credit card issuer of your new address ahead of time? They will keep sending mail to your old address and someone may be there to open it. Make sure your credit card company knows your new whereabouts.

What should you do if the keypad does not stretch far enough, and the salesperson offers to enter your number for you? You should never do this – your card should not be taken out of sight. Debit cards, in particular, can be reproduced by fraudsters in no time. A fake card, used with your PIN, gives criminals access to your funds.

The good news is that as a cardholder in Canada, you are protected. Holders of Visa are protected through the so called zero liability policy. Thus, they cannot be held responsible for unauthorized use of their account. Still, you should not leave your credit card unattended, and you should make note of balances, card numbers, and phone numbers of the issuer, keeping those safe.

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