Category Archives: Credit Card Fraud

The Difference Between Identity Theft and Identity Fraud

A recent post on iovation.com pointed out the differences between identity theft and identity fraud.

Xenia Antunes/Flckr

Identity theft is when someone’s personal identity information has been stolen; identity fraud is when that stolen information is used to commit financial fraud or some other kind of crime” wrote Max Anhoury.

“Identity fraud has been growing dramatically, by 22% each of the past two years” wrote Josh Smith of Wallet Pop.

“Based on the incidents reported to Travelers, the number one cause of identity fraud is old-fashioned burglary in which a wallet, purse, other personal identification, or computer are stolen. Theft of personal property was responsible for 78% of the cases of identity fraud with online issues or data breaches only accounting for 14%.”

These figures indicate that “peoples’ fears may have been, at least in part, misplaced. Individuals would benefit from an increased awareness and vigilance in all aspects of their life, not just online” states Anhoury.

“Identity theft is when a criminal steals your personal information. Identity Fraud is when a criminal uses that ill-gotten personal information in order to commit a crime or fraud all in the name of the identity theft victim.” said Joe Reynolds, Identity Fraud Product Manager at Travelers In an email he stated, “Although consumers should be concerned about identity theft, they should be even more concerned about the potential for identity fraud as the direct impact on consumers is much greater once their name is used in the course of committing a crime.”

Nevertheless, Anhoury wans that online businesses “need to be on high alert” and gives the following reasons why online sites “will likely remain the No. 1 target of identity fraud”

It’s safer to commit online identity fraud: Taking advantage of the Internet’s anonymity keeps criminals at a safe distance from their victims and the businesses they are trying to steal from. In other words, why would a fraudster risk getting caught red-handed when he could commit fraud in the comfort of his own home?

It’s more efficient: As you would imagine, today’s Internet-savvy criminals work extremely fast. Within minutes, one stolen identity can be used to apply for multiple credit cards or a stolen card can be used to charge thousands of dollars worth of goods at multiple online sites. By the time the theft is reported, the damage can be wide-reaching.

It’s easier to work in fraud rings: For ages, criminals have used whatever tools were at their disposal to organize and run their operations. Today, criminals around the globe are leveraging the Internet to work together, share information, and trade, sell and purchase stolen personal and financial information like never before.

It’s not limited by geography: Criminals that obtain stolen credit or personal information are no longer limited by their geography. With the Internet all but eliminating distance, crime can now occur anywhere, at anytime, making online businesses everywhere equally vulnerable.

So how can you avoid being caught?

Here are The Travelers Insurance’s Top 10 tips to prevent identity fraud

When Shopping Traditionally.

1.Review your wallet or purse contents before you go shopping.
2. Create a list of all your credit card and bank account information and store in a secure place.
3. Protect your Passwords and PINS.
4. Review your credit report now – and after the New Year.

5. Never provide confidential information over the phone to an unsolicited caller claiming that they represent a financial institution or creditor.
6. Never put outgoing checks or bill payments in your home mailbox, as they are easy to steal.

Online Shopping

7. Log off completely when finished with online transactions.
8. Increase up your own computer’s security.
9. Avoid e-mailing personal and financial information.
10. Delete, without replying to, any suspicious e-mail requests.

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Britains Top Credit Fraud Hot Spots

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Many of Britain’s high street shops may have been affected by the economic downturn, but millions of consumers have been more than happy to spend their money online and through mail order with their favourite retailers. However, once again the dark side of card usage is revealed as fraud specialists, the 3rd Man, unveil the extent of criminal card activity and in particular the worst places in Britain for attempted card fraud.

An analysis of the 3rd Man’s comprehensive and detailed records shows that

“Between August 2008 and August 2009, shoppers spent an estimated £46 billion using their cards in ‘card not present’ transactions” according to The 3rd Man whose service in excess of 95% of fraudulent attempts in the UK. Card not present transactions include online and telephone transactions.

“Of this figure, fraudsters have tried their best to relieve retailers of more than half a billion pounds worth of goods” states The Third Man..

“Although Britain has been in a serious recession, it appears that many consumers have been happy to spend their money over the Internet, which is good news,” says Andrew Goodwill, fraud specialist with the 3rd Man.

Online shopping has become big business.

“More and more honest people are using their cards to buy over the Internet, but unfortunately more and more fraudsters are also upping their game.”

““However, it’s not all bad news,” Mr. Goodwill said. “In fact, using your card online or by mail order has never been safer.”

“When your card is used by a fraudster, it is unlikely your details have been obtained as a result of an Internet transaction”

Many retailers have better fraud detection and prevention systems in place, and they are working very closely together to deter the criminal element.

Nevertheless, Britain has its card fraud hotspots.

According to The Third Man, London tops fraudulent card transactions with South East London, and particularly Woolwich, Plumstead (SE18) and Thamesmead (SE28), gaining notoriety as the places with the most fraudulent concentration of ‘bad’ card activity in the UK.

An analysis of over 85 million ‘good’ and ‘bad’ card transactions from August 1st 2008 to August 1st 2009 revealed £85 million bad transactions. The 3rd Man monitors around a fifth of all card transactions in the UK.

In the South East London postcode districts alone, 66,000 of over 1 million were deemed fraudulent at a value of more than £18 million.

Outside of the capital, other hotspots included Manchester (4th) Nottingham (3rd), Romford (6th) in Essex, Coventry (8th) Birmingham (9th). Erith Marshes (10th), North and South West London occupy the other places.

As a percentage of good versus bad transactions, top ten localities included Ilford in Essex had over 7,000 bad transactions amount to more than £2 million in fraud. Also included was London EC with over 3% of fraud versus bad versus good transactions. Enfield had more than 1% of all transactions fraudulent.

Again, the least fraudulent places in Britain are Lerwick in the Shetland Islands (14 bad transactions), Kirkwall in Scotland (34 bad transactions) and Taunton in Somerset (79 bad transactions).

Liverpool improved but still suffered  £835,000 of fraudulent card activity.

Debt Relief Scams

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Some 82.5% of website-based debt relief operations were debt relief SCAMS, according to a report commissioned by comprehensive report conducted by HonestDebtReliefReviews.Org

Just 17.50% were legitimate debt relief operations described as fairly reliable although of varying quality.

Consumers attempting to avoid bankruptcy often experienced further financial loss, incompetent advice and forced into insolvency.

Some cause people to deteriorate further down to a worse financial condition and greater hardship which often force them to file bankruptcy, when, in fact, their purpose for going for the debt settlement option, in the first place, had been to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Nationwide regulators and legal authorities are concerned that a great and increasing number of companies which operate in the debt cures business today, are scam debt relief operations that are out to cheat and dupe an overburdened debt-ridden population.

For that reason Attorney General of New York State, Andrew M. Cuomo, declared a nationwide review on May 7.

There is no secret that many people are stuck with a credit card debt they can no longer handle. Some sadly though that the credit card would help them through a slump that the didn’t realize would bit as hard as it did. Others had debts easily manageable until their high incomes were lost.

“With so many companies out there, they all soon start looking and sounding alike after a while, as are their TV, radio, and newspaper ads. So, how in the world can the average person tell the good debt relief companies from the bad ones” states (HDRR) REVIEWERS.

“Consumers seem more and more today to be turning to debt relief organizations for ways to pay off debts in response to the current American economic recession” states HDRR.

“Most of those companies in the debt relief market place, are competing to out do each other in their claims — in constant advertisements on the Internet, radio and TV”

“Consequently, finding a truly good debt settlement company by a consumer under such circumstances, is not at all an easy task.”

The HDRR review used a rigorous “Key Evaluation Criteria” or KEC. Companies were ranked on their professionalism, reliability and credibility as well as accreditation by the Bureau of Better Business and debt relief industry.

Fees, results achieved, and background checks on personnel expertise, training, industry service and customer satisfaction.

So are Debt Relief Companies worth it?

“Using a debt settlement or consolidation company could be a viable and fruitful option for you” stated Dr. Anosike, the HDRR research director.

“Debt settlement is often a very good idea for individuals who are having difficulties with keeping up with outstanding overwhelming credit card debts that never do seem to go away” said Dr Anoslke

They are useful for people prepared to make a negotiated arrangement with the creditor for easier and more manageable repayments, or want to avoid bankruptcy, he said.

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The Critical Finding and Lesson from this Review…

HSRR points out that any positive outcome from a negotiated settlement depends on the choice of company It is essential people do a great deal of investigation and research on the companies involved in the industry.

Armed with the right knowledge customers should be the victors in getting better debt settlement deals and terms, Dr Anosike said.

A review of your options also includes knowing precisely how much you owe. This helps you know what progress you are making and what you are capable of doing. When finances go wrong the pain of facing reality can motivate you to put it in the too hard basket. It may not be fun but sometimes you simply must recognize how bad the situation is before you can do anything about it.

There is also the harsh truth that some people must decide if make a payment or eat.

Even if you do not have a card debt, knowing the real cost of an item after interest may persuade you to pay cash in future. Knowing your true financial position is good practice even if you are debt free. It helps you be a more effective shopper and discourages you from unnecessary impulse buys.

Should You Use A Debt Relief Agency?

A creditor would rather get some money out of you than none at all. When faced with an insurmountable debt, it is easy to assume you must file for bankruptcy. Yet some jurisdictions offer support, often through non-profit organizations, can give you guidance to control your debt or advise you of your options. Often these organizations are completely free.

In contrast to Dr Anosike, Suze Orman strongly recommends that customers negotiate with their creditor if they are able to make a settlement.

However, she recommends very clear guidelines to prevent being penalized in the future.

There is nothing that will replace will-power and discipline. However, these alone are not enough. In the minefield of legalities and heartbreak, it is both hard to think clearly and find room to maneuver.

Orman points out that a lot of agencies require an upfront fee – which you probably don’t have and take a commission with moneys you save with them before the account is settled.

She insists you never make your payment with your personal bank account, any check must have instruction that the organization cashing the check accepts that the debt is paid in full and that records state that the debt is paid in full. The word settled must not occur in the records or you will be seen as a high-risk debtor in future.

Identity Fraud Rapidly Increasing

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With the rise and spread of globalisation, identity fraud has become one of the fastest growing crimes in the world reports the Australian government sponsored National Crime Prevention Program

“The misuse of false or stolen identities underpins terrorist and criminal activity” states the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department.

“ It also undermines border and citizenship controls and efforts to combat the financing of crime and terrorism”.

International e-criminals have exploited the rapid change in internet access, telecommunications and technology. Simultaneously, Market deregulation has challenged the role of national boundaries and been a problem for regulators.

The criminals stored much of their data on computer servers in Latvia and Ukraine, and purchased blank debit and credit cards from confederates in China, which they imprinted with some of the stolen numbers for use in cash machines, investigators say.

[Global Trail of an Online Crime Ring – NYTimes.com

The scope of the problem was revealed in August 2009 when a former US government informant and two unnamed Russians were indicted for 130 million credit and debit card numbers.

The five corporate data breaches effected Heartland Payment Systems and retail chains 7-Eleven Inc and Hannaford Brothers Co between 2006 and 2008.

So if the big guys can’t protect your card details, what hope have you of protecting your digital identity?

The research body Gartner, stated that from mid-2005 until mid-2006, about 15 million Americans were victims of identity theft  related up over 50 percent from the 9.9 million in 2003.

Also, the Timesonline revealed that four million British identities are up for sale on the internet.

“Highly sensitive financial information, including credit card details, bank account numbers, telephone numbers and even PINs are available to the highest bidder” states the times.

Identity fraud in Australia has been estimated at $1.1 billion for 2001-02. However, this figure does not take into account the non-financial costs to organizations or victims, nor the amount of undetected identity fraud.

Yet According to ID-Theft Protect 90% of people do not check all the transactions on their bank or credit card statements.

“Internet users in Britain are more likely to fall victim to identity theft than their peers elsewhere in Europe and North America. In a recent survey of 6,000 online shoppers in six countries by PayPal and Ipsos Research, 14% of respondents in Britain said that they have had their identities stolen online, compared with only 3% in Germany.”

–          Where your identity is more likely to be stolen- Online fraud – The Economist

Types of Identity Theft

Financial identity theft

  1. The Victims account is accessed by a criminal who obtains unauthorized access details to your account and undertakes financial transaction in your name.
  2. A new account is created using false or a stolen identity. With a stolen ID a criminal may exploit the good someone’s good credit history to obtain funds or to obtain a checking account.

Identity cloning

A criminal who is ‘on the run’ from police may impersonate another person to conceal their true identity. This may continue for undetected for years and may not involve financial fraud. It is not in the criminals interest for the false ID to gain police attention.

A variation called Criminal Identity Theft occurs when a criminal, perhaps charged  by police, identifies himself under the assumed identity. A victim then find that their drivers license has been revoked, a warrant has been issued in their name or they fail a background check by performed by an employer.

This can cause a lot of long term problem. Not only do you need to clear identity from any false information, you may find you have an incorrect criminal record. Court records may have to expunged. Even after police and court records are corrected police may record your identity in case of false aliases. Data aggregators, organization like Acxiom and ChoicePoint that complie public record data for resale may still have incorrect data. This can result in backgroud checks giving false information.

Synthetic identity theft

Synthetic Identity Theft is the  complete or partial fabrication of an ID.Commonly a real social security or credit card number are combined with the name and birthdate of someone else.

Medical identity theft

Medical identity theft occurs medical service or products are purchases using a false ID.

“Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous entries being put into existing medical records, and can involve the creation of fictitious medical records in the victim’s name” states the site www.fightidentitytheft.com

Social networking sites as a source of identity Fraud

The social network site Tagged was accused of sending e-mails to people saying that members of the site had tagged them in photos that did not exist. The state of New York, Office of the Attorney General alleges Tagged then raided their private accounts.

“This company stole the address books and identities of millions of people,” New York’s Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo said.

“Consumers had their privacy invaded and were forced into the embarrassing position of having to apologize to all their e-mail contacts for Tagged’s unethical – and illegal – behavior. This very virulent form of spam is the online equivalent of breaking into a home, stealing address books and sending phony mail to all of an individual’s personal contacts. We would never accept this behavior in the real world, and we cannot accept it online.”

Mr Coumo intends to sue the company “for deceptive e-mail marketing practices and invasion of privacy”.

Tagged CEO Greg Tseng stated “Simply put, it was too easy for people to quickly go through the registration process and unintentionally invite all their contacts.” He stated that “some complained that our invitation confirmation language was confusing” and that the company ‘hit the pause button’ on the testing the new registration process.

There is nothing new in sites asking you to invite your friends. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook do it all the time. Tagged is accused of deceptive marketing because there were no tagged images .

This technique has been used to more sinister effect. I was tricked into signing into what I believed was my web server account. I was then bombarded by several hundred megabytes of returned email messages for an email I had allegedly been sending.

Besides hurting my pride, it sorted out who my real friends were.

Giving away your identity is like handing over your credit card to a stranger.

What about your email? Identity Theft Expert, Robert Siciliano warns advises you be convinced a company is 100% legitimate before you hand over your login credentials.

“When you have web based cloud accounts that contain email and also have proprietary documents or files within that account never give that data to any company” he said.

  1. As discussed in What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Stolen? if you are effected immediately contact your credit and ID card providers.
  2. In the United States you follow the instructions for your state at consumersunion.org. Have your credit card frozen  or obtain a  “security freeze.” This will prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.
  3. You may consider an Identity Protection service like Intelius Identity Theft Protection.
  4. Monitor the benefits claimed on your service accounts and your health insurance providers.
  5. Correct erroneous and false information in your file
  6. Keep an eye on your credit report.

Card fraud plagues UK businesses

 British credit card fraud

Card Not Present Fraud (CNP) in the UK has risen 13% from £290.5m in 2007 to £328.40m in 2008 according to APACS accounting for 54% of all card fraud losses the British trade body that represents payment institutions.

From 2001 to 2008, Card Not Present Fraud losses have risen by a massive 243 per cent.

However, this does not fully reveal the extent of the problem.  

“Given that businesses are losing millions of pounds each year and this cost inevitably is being passed on to consumers whose pockets are being hit from every angle” states Paul Simms, fraud expert and Managing Director of fraud prevention specialists, The 3rd Man.

The 3rd Man questions the APACS figures, as it is not clear whether they include fraudulent transactions on non-UK issued cards.

Figures for attempted fraud are much higher. The 3rd man alleges that CNP fraud is not a high enough priority among institutions.

 “It is also important to note that more businesses are now actually protecting themselves better than ever, working together in partnership through shared data schemes,” says Paul Simms.

“Retailer initiatives are preventing hundreds of million pounds of attempted frauds” he said.

“The rate of prevention is far in excess of the announced figures and consumers should be reassured that the Internet is a safe place to shop and continues to make significant progress.”

According to The 3rd Man business who fail to take precautions are being worst hit.

The 3rd Man has pioneered a CNP Fraud screening system that informs banks of an attempted fraud the system detects.

‘This information significantly assists banks in early detection” claims The 3rd Man.

“Criminals are targeting the customers more than the technology. It is not about hacking into computers as much as it is about tricking users into revealing their card or account details” said Jemma Smith, of APACS. Most Credit CardFraud can be avoided by following a few simple steps.

What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Stolen?

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Don’t panic! Your card is stolen, who knows how many charges have been placed on it and you know you need to protect yourself. But how?

According to the US Federal Trade Commission credit card fraud rose 21 % accounting for 35% of fraud complaints and cost the United Kingdom an estimated £535 million, (US$750–830 million) in 2006.

What do you do if your credit card or wallet is stolen?

There is no need to panic. Most credit cards offer protection from fraudulent charges made by unscrupulous thieves. Check your credit card statement and find the contact number provided for lost or stolen credit cards.

However, lets simplify a few  easy steps to lessen the trauma:

What to Do Now

Credit card security starts with the present- before there is a problem. Keep a record of all your credit cards, licenses, ID’s and Tax File numbers in a secure location. Also keep a copy of the credit card companies contact detailsso you can quickly ring in an emergency. Some suggest you photocopy both sides of your cards so there are no errors in transcribing the details.

You may want to revisit How To Protect yourself from Credit Card Fraud for a few helpful tips.

You may also consider joining a credit card registration service for an annual fee you can register all your cards. This way you only need to ring one company if you lose multiple card. Many registration services will also request replacement credit cards in your behalf. However these services can be costly, and the benefits vary between services. You must also ensure that the fee is always kept up to date.

Contact the Company Immediately

Contact the credit card company immediately. Most companies have a 24 hour toll free number to report lost cards. Record the name of each company representative you speak with along with the date and time of the call.

It is recommended you write a follow up letter explaining the incident and confirming the telephone contact. This doubly ensures there is a record of your communication on file. Include in the letter a summary of the telephone conversation, including your name, the name of the person you spoke too, account number, when you noticed that your card was missing,  and the date and time you first reported the missing card.

Although many credit card companies allow a 60-day grace period for reporting lost or stolen cards, the quicker you act the easier it is to gain control of the situation. As soon as you are sure the card is not sitting in your suit pocket call immediately.

The credit card company will prevent further charges being made on the card. However, if you have online bills or monthly utility charges linked to the account you may be able to have them continue if you notify the company in the first month while you wait for a new credit card. It is best you discuss this with the company and not assume your utilities will be paid.

If it is important to have the new cards as soon as possible, some companies may expedite delivery via courier at no charge. Reports suggest that some companies like Citibank and American Express may even contact you if suspicious charges are being made on your card to confirm if they were made by you.

The credit card company will probably contact you and review what recent charges were made by you. Many companies will require you to sign an affidavit stating that the charges were not made by you.

Contact Credit Reporting Agencies

Contact your national credit-reporting agencies to report the theft, and ask them to attach a ‘fraud alert’ to all your credit cards.

In the United States there are three agencies to contact:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

For a list of international Credit Reporting Agencies click here.

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Contact other ID card providers

If your social security card, drivers license or other ID’s are missing contact the card providers to ensure your identity is not being used fraudulently.

Contact the Police

Finally, report the police in the jurisdiction or district where the  credit card was stolen to report the theft.

The ease at which a purchase can be swiped has made credit cards a major part of daily life. It is that ease which makes then a target for thieves.

Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

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“And though there are no definitive global figures on losses from credit card fraud – most financial institutions are tight-lipped on the subject – an FBI report from 2005 indicated that credit cards represented the majority of the total $315 billion U.S. financial fraud loss for that year, while a recent European study found that more than 22 million adults fell victim to credit card scams in 2006. Figures from the Banque de France, the country’s central bank, showed a credit card fraud loss of €236 million, or $319 million, for 2005” reports the New York Times.

In the USA “Credit/debit card fraud made up 9.0% of referred complaints” referred to the Internet Fraud Complaint Centre in 2008.

In 2003 there was no reported online banking fraud in Britain. There was £33.5 million, or $66.4 million.

Card Fraud was £428 million in 2006, states the New York Times.

A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that in 2007 half a million people fell victim to some form of fraud, costing the country nearly AU$1 billion.

Credit Card Fraud affected 280,000 Australians in 2006-2007.

“Overall, 32 per cent of businesses had been the victim of online credit card fraud, with 51 per cent of traders experiencing more than one incident over the two years” Australian Institute of Criminology, in March 2005.

“The increase in Internet fraud could be expected when you look at how many more businesses are accepting online transactions,” said Jemma Smith, a spokeswoman APACS (recently renamed UK Payments Administration Ltd) pacs, the British trade body that represents payment institutions.

“The problem is that the criminals are targeting the customers more than the technology. It is not about hacking into computers as much as it is about tricking users into revealing their card or account details” said Ms. Smith.

“That is why opening an unsolicited e-mail is like opening the front door of your home to a stranger” she said.

Internet credit card fraud has risen faster than overall credit card fraud.

Using a secure internet site may be more secure than giving your card to a waiter at your favourite restaurant.  Credit card frauds from cell phones occur at a higher rate than on the internet.

Types of Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud falls into a number of broad categories:

  • Lost/Stolen Card – An existing card is lost or stolen and used without the card holders consent or authority.
  • Card Never Received – During delivery from the financial institution the card has been intercepted (stolen) and used before it was received by the customer.
  • Fraudulent Application – A card has been applied for under a fictitious or fraudulent identity perhaps using stolen identity or false information.
  • Counterfeit/Skimming – An altered or illegally reproduced card using a replicated or altered magnetic strip or false card front. Skimming describes the process in which a device is used to copy the magnetic stripe encoding off of a card.
  • Card Not Present (CNP) – the use of account information including pseudo account information without the physical card being involved, via the phone, mail, Internet etc. without the authority of the cardholder. This category also includes fraud where a card should normally be present (eg: in a retail transaction ) but a merchant has chosen to accept the transaction based on a card number only and it turns out to be a fraudulent transaction.

In Britain CNP fraud increased by 16 percent in 2006 to £212.6 million – about half of all card fraud, states the New York Times.

  • Other fraudulent techniques include using imprints of cards at merchants, the illegal use of card details, such as by a fraudulent change of address request for the reissue of a card falsely claimed lost or stolen.

How To Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud

First and foremost, be cautious, and use common sense.

Treat you cards as though they were cash. You don’t leave easy access to your cash, so don’t leave the PIN numbers or account details lying around for easy access of criminals.

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The FBI recommends you keep a list of your card details in a secure location so if one is stolen you can immediately report it to the correct Institution. However, Conexus.ca advises “Never write down secret identification codes and do not choose easy-to-guess passwords”

The Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) gives the following advice on using credit cards on the internet;

  • Don’t give out your credit card number(s) online unless the site is a secure and reputable site. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but might provide you some assurance.
  • Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure.
  • Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses.
  • Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.
  • Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box and a phone number, call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.
  • Send them an e-mail to see if they have an active e-mail address and be wary of sellers who use free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.
  • Check out other web sites regarding this person/company.
  • Don’t judge a person/company by their web site.
  • Be cautious when responding to special offers (especially through unsolicited e-mail).
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
  • The safest way to purchase items via the Internet is by credit card because you can often dispute the charges if something is wrong.
  • Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.

The following additional advice may help protect against offline Credit Card Fraud:

Sign the signature panel on your credit cards immediately.

Keep a close eye on your credit card when you use it, if you have to hand it over – to a waiter for example- make sure you get it back quickly. If possible, keep the card visible at all times.

Never lend a credit card to anyone.

When changing address notify your issuing institution IN ADVANCE.

Never give your card details over the phone to an unsolicited call unless you know the company well. A legitimate company will not call to request credit card details.

Never respond to email requests for your credit details or account password information.

Destroy any credit card applications received in the mail.

Never leave PIN number records near your card or near a record of the card number, or leave card receipts lying around as this could reveal your account numbers.

Shield your credit card number when in public so as to prevent Shoulder surfing, that is  when a fraudster stands near a cardholder at an ATM machine to copy a pin, or to prevent someone capturing your card details with a cell phone or camera.

Treat your credit card like a cheque book. Reconcile your receipts and charges.

Destroy any unnecessary receipt or copy duplicates of card numbers, for example carbon duplicates.

Never write your card number out in a public place or give the number over the phone in a public place.