False Charge: Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Credit cards can be a smart financial tool when used wisely. They’re secure, flexible, and may come with perks like rewards or cash back. But credit card fraud can happen too. Losing your physical credit card, or having your account virtually hacked, could cause a serious problem. Here are a few tips to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

Secure your card when traveling.

  • Whether you’re going to the grocery store or on a week-long vacation, secure your credit card in your wallet or purse while traveling to minimize the chance of it being stolen. Only bring the credit card(s) you plan to use and safely secure unused cards at home. This will ensure they are never left unattended or sitting out inside your vehicle for thieves to see. If you misplace your credit card, Cinfed members can lock their cards through Digital Banking until the situation is resolved.

Sign up for transaction alerts:

  • One of the best ways to monitor your credit card is by signing up for transaction alerts. This way you can view a transaction and the amount charged almost immediately after the card is used. The sooner fraud gets reported, the better chance of getting it resolved. If you notice a suspicious charge, report it as soon as possible to your card issuer. You may not be responsible if it’s reported promptly.

Review your monthly statements: 

  • Your monthly statement is the final record of every charge made on your account. It’s important to verify transactions and report any fraud detected to keep your finances in check. These statements also show any mistakes made by your financial institution, such as double charging an account. This is the time to address any issues, or fraudulent charges, before your grace period to report them ends. If your statements arrive in standard mail, consider changing them to electronic delivery. This way you can view them at any time and prevent any chance they are lost or stolen.

Check your credit reports:

  • Your credit report includes a complete history of credit usage and payment history of loans, credit cards, and any lines of creditConsumers are entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report from all three reporting agencies once every 12 months.
  • With My Credit Score, Cinfed members can check their credit reports as often as they like at no charge although once or twice a month is usually sufficient for monitoring any changes. In addition, alerts can be set up to notify you when a change to your credit report occurs. My Credit Score provides the same data for which many services charge a fee or subscription.
  • Credit cards can provide convenience as well as special perks. But just like any other financial tool, they need to be monitored and managed to maximize benefits and maintain security. 

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