No matter what you are using your credit card for, there is always the possibility that an opportunistic thief is just waiting to get your number. Once that happens, someone else will shop-till-they-drop-a-bundle on your account. Even though your legal liability may be limited, the annoyance and inconvenience of sorting it all out can be like a bad dream.
Here are some guidelines for keeping your credit cards safe:
When you’re out shopping … Keep your cards separate from your cash, preferably securely in a wallet or handbag. Avoid carrying them loose in your pocket, briefcase, workout bag, etc. Don’t allow salesclerks to put receipt slips in your shopping bag; take them and put them in your wallet. Tear up any carbon interleaf that may be used in older style sales receipts, taking care to destroy the area where your account number appears. And lastly, before leaving the cash register, always double-check to make sure that the salesclerk returned your credit card to you.
When you’re on the telephone … Never reveal your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone. No legitimate bank or law enforcement officer will ever call you on the telephone and ask for your PIN number. Exercise extreme caution when using your credit card to make purchases over the telephone. Never reveal your credit card number to anyone unless you initiated the call and you’re certain the firm you’re dealing with is a legitimate and reputable business. Never use your cellular phone to make a purchase using your credit card. Cellular phone calls are not secure and are easily intercepted by credit card thieves.
When you’re on the Internet … The best advice is use extreme caution and make absolutely certain the web merchant is a legitimate business. Never use your credit card to buy anything over the Internet from anyone who doesn’t employ a secure encryption program to protect the security of your credit card number.
Every year billions of dollars worth of merchandise and services are “stolen” by credit card thieves. If you have even the slightest suspicion that any of your credit card numbers have been compromised, notify the card issuer immediately. They’d much rather issue you a new account number than lose thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases made by a criminal.