You look inside your purse and you suddenly realize that your wallet is gone. With the wallet were your credit cards and other identification cards inside. Are you ready and secured in instances like this? Are you sure that you just left the wallet at home or if someone stole it from you? This may sound scary, but you should act on it at once or make yourself open to identity theft. Here is a fact: a thief only needs a credit card number and the expiration date as well as the code at the back of a card to be able to use your name. You will never know how and how much these con artists will pilfer at your expense. Report this loss immediately to the financial institutions with which you have existing accounts and alert them. Do this and spare yourself from serious financial losses later on.
You can actually shield credit cards from potential identity theft by practicing proper handling of your cards. You might want to consider having a photocopy of all your cards, front and back, for your records. Moreover, limit the number of your active cards and bring only a couple of cards which you will likely use when out of the house.
Identity fraud incidents are most likely to happen online or via the internet. Here are some steps to secure your card information:
o Be aware that crooks are capable of sending “phishing” emails. These are bogus emails that seemingly look legit. Do not enter information into any suspicious links. When in doubt go directly to your bank or credit card company website and check whether they sent out a notification email asking to change anything about your account.
o Make sure that the website you are about to log into is secured. A secured page is one that uses an address that has “https:” instead of the usual “http:”
o It is advisable to avoid online stores that keep a record of your card information. Stores that do this are an eye-candy for fraudsters. They might hack into the store’s system and pass on all pertinent information to a third party.
o It is always best to access accounts from a private computer at home. Although it is relatively safe to do this, always make sure that you clear the cookies, cache and history of your browser for added security.
Keeping these things in mind will probably make you a smarter credit card holder and avoid identity theft in the future.