7 Tips to Counteract Credit Card Fraud in the New Year

As the New Year approaches, you want to make sure that your credit will be top notch for 2014. As a borrower, it is important to make sure your credit stays healthy because it can affect your chances to be eligible for loans. Also with staying on top of your credit, it is important to make sure to watch out for identity theft.

Especially after the holidays, many thieves may be ready to pounce at the chance to steal your credit card information, pin number or CVV verification number. This crime does not happen to everyone, but it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your information. By following a few tips, you may be better equipped to protect your credit card information now and in the future:

Keep your receipts
You may turn down receiving a copy of your receipt because most of the time it will just take up space in your wallet or purse. Although having more stuff in your wallet or purse can be a nuisance, it is actually a good idea to hold onto that little sliver of paper. Whether you are picking up a video game from a department store or are getting your groceries for the week, store that receipt away for record keeping purposes. If you feel that your credit card was used for an illegal purchase, look through your receipts and see if you made it. If you believe it wasn't you, contact your credit provider.

Close out passwords 
When you are making purchases online or checking your online bank statement, the sites will generally ask for a password or a line of security questions. This security measure is to verify your identity and make sure you are safely doing business with them. But as many safeguards as there are, you could still get your card information stolen. The best way to avoid this is to simply log out of the site. Taking a second to press the logout button will exit you from your online account and make sure your credit card is not still being accessed.

Carry one at a time
If you are a seasoned credit card user and have more than one card, keep just one with you at all times. Having more than one credit card may make it hard to track everything. Additionally, you will have fewer cards at risk if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

Have a watchful eye when making purchases
While you are shopping, keep your card close to you. Whether you are buying a pop from the store or an extravagant thing like a TV at a department store, be careful when using your card. It may seem simple but thieves can memorize your card information with just a quick peek over your shoulder. Being aware of your surroundings can help you keep your credit safe.

Dispose credit card statements carefully
A stack of bank or credit card statements in your office or room can begin to take up space. Dispose of these statements carefully. When you receive a physical copy of your credit card statement, do your best to make sure there is no visible information present when you are throwing it away in the garbage. By redacting any information off your statements, thieves will not be able to use the information that is on it. It seems odd thieves would go through the trash to look for credit card statements, but it is entirely possible.

Many credit card providers now have paperless options when it comes to bills. Instead of receiving a physical copy, your bill will be sent to you through your email. This is a great option in order to keep your information safe and have less clutter in your home.

Check your credit report regularly
You always want to maintain a healthy state of credit, and a tool you can use in this quest your credit reports. A credit report is a rundown of your credit history from all the open lines of credit you have had to any missed credit card payments. You are allowed one free report a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.

Alert your credit provider
As you are scanning over your credit report or credit card statements, check to see if there are any errors on it. If you see a new line of credit that looks foreign to you or purchases that you have not made, this may have been opened by a thief. If you feel for any reason that something on the report is inaccurate, call your credit provider immediately. You may want to consider putting a security freeze on your credit reports. This move can stop thieves from opening up new lines of credit, or using your current information. Talk with your credit provider for further recommendations.

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