How to beat identity fraud

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There’s no denying that the world is filled with criminals trying their hardest to get their hands on your credit card details for their nefarious ends. Whether it’s through tried-and-tested online ‘phishing’ attempts where they try to trick you into parting with your account details online, or old-fashioned telephone fraud or bin-diving, you need to be aware of the precautions you can take to protect your money.

 

Here are a few simple steps:

Protect your PIN – At the ATM or in a shop, make sure that nobody’s spying on you ask you input your PIN. Never, ever, write down your number, as sure as eggs, it’ll be found by a third party. Crooks resort to very unsophisticated means to find your secret number, and once they have it all they need is your card – or a facsimile of your card – to start stealing your money. It is your responsibility to keep your number a secret, and if it emerges that you kept it written on a piece of paper in your (now stolen) wallet, you might find yourself responsible for the loss.

Shred your paperwork – Don’t make life easy for bin-diving crooks who are after personal details for financial gain. All it takes is an old credit card bill, and one or two other pieces of paper, and they have all the details they need for fraud. Shred old bills and anything that might use used by criminals.

Keep an eye on your bill – You’ll be amazed how many people don’t look through every transaction on their bill. Question mystery transactions – nine times out of ten, it’s a purchase you’ve forgotten about, but it pays to keep an eye out for fraud.

Look out for skimmers – A more sophisticated fraud is shop or restaurant staff ‘skimming’ your card into a card reader to get its details. Then, all they need is your PIN (see above) and they’ve got everything they need. Is there any need for your card to be out of your sight when paying a bill? Has the waiter swiped it more than once? These are things to look out for. One scam we heard of had a secret camera mounted in the ceiling directly above the shop counter, recording every customer’s PIN.

Look out for phising emails and phone calls – Your credit card will NEVER ask you to “reconfirm” your account number,  PIN, secret details or anything else. You haven’t won the United Nations lottery either. No bank will phone you asking for your card number, and the reason is simple – they’ve already got it. Pass details of any attempt onto the police.

 

These are all fairly straightforward precautions that could save you a small fortune and embarrassment. The likelihood is that you won’t be the victim of crime, but it pays to be prepared.

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