Plastic Card Fraud Prevention Tips

  • Keep an eye on your plastic card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible. Try not to let your plastic card out of your sight whenever possible.
  • Be very careful to whom you give your plastic card. Don't give out your account number over the phone unless you initiate the call and you know the company is reputable. Never give your plastic card info out when you receive a phone call. (For example, if you're told there has been a 'computer problem' and the caller needs you to verify information.) Legitimate companies don't call you to ask for a plastic card number over the phone.
  • Never respond to emails that request you provide your plastic card info via email - and don't ever respond to emails that ask you to go to a website to verify personal (and plastic card) information. These are called 'phishing' scams.
  • Never provide your plastic card information on a website that is not a secure site.
  • Sign your plastic cards as soon as you receive them.
  • Shred all plastic card applications you receive.
  • Don't write your PIN number on your plastic card -- or have it anywhere near your plastic card (in the event that your wallet gets stolen).
  • Never leave your plastic cards or receipts lying around.
  • Shield your plastic card number so that others around you can't copy it or capture it on a cell phone or other camera.
  • Keep a list in a secure place with all of your account numbers and expiration dates, as well as the phone number and address of each bank that has issued you a plastic card. Keep this list updated each time you get a new plastic card.
  • Only carry around plastic cards that you absolutely need. Don't carry around extra plastic cards that you rarely use.
  • Open plastic card bills promptly and make sure there are no bogus charges. Treat your plastic card bill like your checking account -- reconcile it monthly. Save your receipts so you can compare them with your monthly bills.
  • If you find any charges that you don't have a receipt for -- or that you don't recognize -- report these charges promptly (and in writing) to the plastic card issuer.
  • Always void and destroy incorrect receipts.
  • Shred anything with your plastic card number written on it.
  • Never sign a blank plastic card receipt. Carefully draw a line through blank portions of the receipt where additional charges could be fraudulently added.
  • Carbon paper is rarely used these days, but if there is a carbon that is used in a plastic card transaction, destroy it immediately.
  • Never write your plastic card account number in a public place (such as on a postcard or so that it shows through the envelope payment window).
  • Ideally, it's a good idea to carry your plastic cards separately from your wallet --perhaps in a zippered compartment or a small pouch.
  • Never lend a plastic card to anyone else.
  • If you move, notify your plastic card issuers in advance of your change of address.