Credit/Debit Card Fraud – How To Prevent It?

Reader needs practical with attempted credit/debit card fraud.

Really I am seeking some suggestions on this one. What do you do to limit fraudulent attempts to use your credit or debit cards? I have had to cancel two credit cards and one debit card due to attempted fraud since January. Thankfully both companies blocked the attempts.

I think the most recent may have come through a PayPal phishing attempt saying my account was limited and I needed to update it. Yet one fraud department told me PayPal was the safest way to charge online. Another told me that Amazon is not a secure site.

Please just send me your suggestions.

Thank you.

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Dave Abbott July 27, 2012 at 01:11 PM
As someone who used to investigate these types of crimes, here are a few basics; 1-Treat your credit card like it is your wallet. Would you hand over your wallet to a complete stranger and watch them leave your site? Accordingly, use your card where you are the one swiping it or the person is swiping it within your sightline. Don’t hand it to a waiter or waitress unless the machine is visible to you. 2- If you go away on a trip and you use the card a lot you can always call the card company and have them issue a new set of numbers for you for free. You get a great piece of mind out of this for maybe a two day inconvenience. 3- Monitor your transaction activity online at least every day or two- easy enough to do in this day and age. 4- I have not had an issue with amazon.com, but don’t be afraid to change your password(s) at least quarterly for online sites that store your card information.
Reason July 27, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Prepaid/gift cards are great for using with untrusted online merchants. Some credit card companies allow you to make virtual credit card numbers for one time use.
Joe Jones July 27, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Thanks Dave good advice...
English first July 27, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Dave. About number 2. I have done this if I go out of the country. But what about on vacation in the USA?
Dave Abbott July 28, 2012 at 02:20 AM
I have changed my card numbers after completing a Florida vacation. It is always a good idea when you are using the card multiple times on a trip and not a bad idea to do annually on your cards. It is really no different then when you change a password on an account...you are just changing the numbers on your existing account and usually will have the updated card in your hands within 2 days.
bee08 July 28, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Be careful when ordering over the phone from Classic Pizza. They store and print the credit card numbers and expiration dates on every order delivered to that address
Karen Paley July 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM
I am not sure what you mean by monitor. I have been fortunate that the two banks involved have shut down my card instantly at the slightest unusual charge.
Stephen Greenwell (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
I've deleted several comments that were wildly off-topic. Please try to comment on what the blog is about - ways to limit your exposure - as opposed to offering non-relevant political opinions or unhelpful, obvious advice. (Example: "Best way to avoid a car crash??? Don't drive!")
Sailor July 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM
PayPal is one of the safest ways to make purchases online. I have used PayPal for over 8 years without a single issue. The phishing problem you described seem to be from your own doing and had nothing to do with PayPal. Amazon as well is extremely secure. I make purchases every week at Amazon and have never had a single issue. I have had two fraudulent credit card issues in the last 8 years and neither of them came from PayPal or Amazon. In both cases Citizens Bank and Amex caught them in progress and I was not out one dime.
Sailor July 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
an addendum: If PayPal writes you concerning your account they will ALWAYS have your name in the email like it is listed in your account. A phishing expedition will not. Depending on your email client you can hold your mouse over any link they want you to click on and the real URL where that link will take you will be shown. THe main this if your name isn't in the email it's not from PayPal.
Karen Paley July 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Very informative! Thank you.
Karen Paley July 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM
The phishing problem you described seem to be from your own doing "from my own doing"--this is what I am inquiring about--what is my doing?
NKGOP Watch July 28, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Log onto your credit card account at morning coffee that way only one or two days can elapse before you spot any unauthorized charges. Also, my credit cards set up to send an email when anything over a certain amount happens. I think I have it set for $50 or $100. Now vote Romney 2012. Or Obama 2012! lol
English first July 28, 2012 at 01:44 PM
More blog writers should do this. However, it is a bit like having "daddy" watching out for us. We should be able to keep to the subject ourselves.
Uncle Ben July 28, 2012 at 02:23 PM
English ? you never quit do you ? lol
Uncle Ben July 28, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I'd also suggest that, your careful when putting personal data out there, such as facebook. Good counterfit criminals can find your SS# just by knowing your name, birthdate and hometown, careful with that as well.
E July 28, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Great advice Dave! Husband and I are cautious, but with this rampant fraud, one can never be cautious enough. Thanks for the insider tips! :)
Uncle Ben July 28, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Sorry, and mothers maiden name.
CJ July 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I just had two "digital" purchases charged to my debit from Amazon that I did not purchase. The person ordered them on a Friday, apparently downloaded them for their own use, and my debit account is not updated by the bank until Monday, which is when I saw it. Amazon had no explanation as to how someone was able to do this, but refunded by money w/o questions. Don't store your credit card with on line stores.
Uncle Ben July 28, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Cj, i'm sure theres more to it then what your saying, maybe the site your on isn't safe ? and also maybe you trusted someone more than your suppose to online ? I always look for the padlock symbol in url box, when you see that, what ever you type it can't be scanned by hackers. Some hackers have password readers, as your typing it in they can see and have full access to your accounts from anywhere in the world.
E July 28, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Here's the NKGOP that I find clever and entertaining! LOL - Good advice, and I'll go one further. When we travel, if making a purchase over $500, credit card co. is instructed to have merchant call, and put one of us on the phone for transaction authorization and acceptance. Also, on the back strip of my credit card, "Check ID" is written instead of my signature. So when merchant's see this, they ask for my license before putting the transaction through. A very elementary tip, but a tip just the same!! :)
E July 28, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I've had excellent experiences with Amazon.com also. However, I don't do business with their recommended outside sites if I can't find what I'm looking for from them.
Still Hope July 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Dave seems to be a little out of date. A lot, maybe most merchants have a print out of the day's transactions, this includes CC #s and exp dates. So, even though you think you are crafty watching the cashier's every move or maybe you try to black out the numbers on the signed copy....they can just reprint it. Your copy only has the last 4 numbers, there's has it all. Another way that credit cards are compromised, probably what Karen is concerned about, is though fake e-mails. In about an hour, I can make a copy of a legit website that looks real but send me all the info entered. I would send you what appears to be a standard e-mail requesting you update your info, you click the link to say www.amazon.co (no m) and with one click you send me your whole life story. Another doozy is when someone actually does get your name and password for say paypal, you think you are safe by simply changing your password. Little did you know, it wasn't the paypal account they took your info from, it was from your e-mail! Someone can get ahold of your e-mail credentials and add their own e-mail address as a secondary forwarding address. So, when you changed your paypal password, the thief just got an update of your changed password to his e-mail address. Then there is wifi. Unlocked wifi is great. It lets everyone in the neighborhood attempt to get into your computer. Even if you have it password protected, someone with persistence can attempt to brute force your password.Tolstoy'd
Stephen Greenwell (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 09:07 AM
I've deleted a spam comment from this article.
Megan Smith November 01, 2012 at 08:34 AM
There are technologies in the market place now that allow the issuers to decline transactions when a cloned or skimmed card is presented for use. One example is MagnePrint®. Think of it like a fingerprint, but a fingerprint of the actual magnetic stripe (not the data encoded onto the stripe, but the stripe material itself). No two are the same and they cannot be duplicated. MagnePrint already exists on every magnetic stripe card ever issued because it is a naturally occurring property that is part of the card from the moment the card is manufactured. It’s already in your wallet. Megan from http://paydayloansat.com/
Karen Paley November 01, 2012 at 10:32 AM
Thank you, Megan. But if MagnePrint is already there, how do you activate it? In each case, my bank has blocked the transaction, but I have had to cancel the card and get a new one.


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