Preventing Credit Card Fraud 101

If you discover that you’re a victim of credit card fraud, you’re likely to feel anxious about someone emptying your bank account. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about your funds being drained — as long as you report fraud within 60 days, most banks have zero-liability policies that will cover any money spent on your card, and federal regulations prevent you from paying any more than $50 of any fraudulent charge. Still, you’ll need to act quickly as soon as you detect fraud.

At Public Service Credit Union, we know that experiencing debit card fraud can cause a lot of stress. Read on for the steps you’ll need to take if you’re a victim of credit card fraud. If you live in the Michigan area and have more questions about your accounts, including whether a debit or credit card makes the most sense for your needs, we’re here to help!

What is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is when someone uses your credit card or credit account to make a purchase you didn’t authorize. This activity can happen in different ways:

  • Lost or stolen credit card — If someone else has your card, they can use it to make purchases or other transactions, either in person or online.
  • Stolen card number, PIN and security code — Also known as card-not-present fraud, this is when your credit card account number, PIN, and security code are used to make unauthorized transactions without your physical credit card.

What is Identity Theft?

You can still experience credit or debit card fraud even if your card is safety in your wallet. When someone illegally obtains information about you and uses it to gain access to your credit or debit accounts, that’s identity theft. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your accounts for any unusual activity.

What to Do if You’re a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

Even though there are tons of benefits to using a credit card, like building your credit and raising your credit score, every cardholder is likely to experience fraud at least once. If you follow a few simple steps as soon as you detect fraud, you likely won’t be out any money:

  • First, Immediately contact the credit card company. If you report the loss before the card is used, you’re not responsible for any charges that occur afterwards. You also aren’t liable if it’s just the card number that’s stolen and used.
  • Change your online passwords and PINs.
  • Closely monitor account activity and bank statements for any further signs of fraud, like an expenditure at an establishment you don’t recognize, or new accounts you don’t recognize.
  • Request a copy of your credit report. Often, signs of fraud show up on credit card statements first, and soon after on your credit reports.

How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

If you recently got your first credit card, you’re probably concerned about finding the most effective way to prevent credit card fraud. While It’s impossible to prevent fraud 100%, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the possibility:

  • When shopping around Romulus, keep your wallet or purse with you and secure at all times to protect your credit cards.
  • Only carry the credit cards you actually need and use.
  • Memorize your social security number, and never carry your Social Security card on your person.
  • When shopping online, only buy from reputable companies or sites with verified security measures.
  • Only give your credit card number or personal information over the phone when you can trust the person you’re talking to.

Learn More About How to Prevent Fraud from Public Service Credit Union

For more advice on keeping your accounts safe, stop by one of our Detroit-area locations to learn more about preventing credit card fraud. We’re also happy to talk about the benefits you’ll get with membership in a local Michigan credit union!

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