A survey this year has revealed that the US is the world’s second most prone country to credit card fraud, the first being Mexico. 42% of the survey’s participants in the US stated that they’d fallen foul of credit card fraud.
Fourth on the list was the UAE, which fared better with 36% of the people asked saying they’d been victims of credit card fraud.
Lower down was the UK, in sixth place, with 34% of the participants reported having been victims of credit card fraud.
These may be worrying stats, but it’s not necessarily unsafe to use a credit card. If you take certain measures and avoid using your credit card in certain places, you can avoid becoming a part of these statistics.
Where not to use a credit card
Credit card use in some places can actually expose you to fraud, either because the technology is poor or because they’re generally insecure. Here are a few places you should avoid using your credit card in:
- ATMs that don’t belong to banks. Often they’re poorly encrypted.
- Small shops abroad — the rates of fraud involving credit card use at them are higher and tracing the merchants is also difficult
- Insecure online checkouts — Check you’re purchasing from a reputable e-commerce site, which have safer online payment facilities
- Internet cafes or other places with public Wi-Fi access — when you’re purchasing something online it’s easy to remain logged in without realising it, leaving your data for others to see.
Using your credit card safely
Credit cards are a common part of everyday finance. Lots of people use them perfectly safely. Here are some precautions you can take to use yours safely too:
- Sign your credit card as soon as you receive it — if you lose it, someone else can put their own signature on the card and use it
- Always cover your pin number when you’re using an ATM — the person behind you may be peering over your shoulder. Someone may have even installed a hidden camera above the keypad.
- Never register for credit card offers that ask you for money in advance or fail to provide the card issuer’s name
- Avoid giving your credit card number over the phone, especially over cordless phones. Radio scanners can pick up the signal and eavesdroppers your details
- Make sure you get your credit card back after a purchase, plus any slips for voided or cancelled payments, and whenever you use an ATM always collect your receipt from it
- Check your monthly statement to make sure all the charges on it are for purchases you’ve made.
Credit cards are a standard part of personal finance these days. Use them correctly and you can manage your money easier. More and more people are using them, but unfortunately this means there are also more incidences of credit card fraud. However, if you follow these tips, you can enjoy using your credit card and feel comfortable that you are using it safely.
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