By Azie Amini
Protection of credit card/ATM card transactions and the latest trends in banking, credit card or internet fraud.

• As we go towards the end of the year, one by one report each credit card missing and get a new one with a new account number (make sure you ask for a new account number, sometimes they send a new card with the same number). When you get each one, call the other credit card company and report the other one missing. Do this for each card so that when you start the new year with new credit cards. (The reason for it is that often thieves want to collect many stolen credit cards and then they sell a batch of hundreds of thousands of credit cards to a buyer. They often wait a year or two to collect many credit cards so often your credit card number is stolen sitting in their files without you knowing. All of a sudden they sell their large list of stolen credit cards and within a few days you will get hit with many transactions so your card is maxed in a very short time) and you will have the headache of having to report each transaction as false and hope your bank will not charge you. So change all your credit cards at least once a year to be safe.

• If any credit card company or bank calls you to report suspicious activities on one of your cards, do NOT give them your card number just tell them to read the number they have and you just say Yes or No. Also if they asked for the 3 digits on the back of your card, do NOT give it to them. They should tell you what info they have and all you say is Yes or No, nothing more. With me when I get calls like that, I tell them that I prefer to dial their toll free telephone number to talk to their fraud dept and see what may be the problem. Always suspect that the person calling is not really from your bank or credit card company but is a crook.

• Frequently check the balance of each banking account you have, as there are a lot of “Wire Transfer” fraud and often you only have 24 hours to stop a wire transfer, if you notice it later your bank may NEVER pay you back even though you did NOT authorize the wire transfer. (I know this sounds strange but I have talked to many lawyers whose clients lost their savings on unauthorized wire transfers and there is NO law to protect the person, the money is GONE). Check your bank balance daily.

• When you look for something on Internet, say using “Google” and you see a website that has all kinds of things posted on it; e.g. airplane tickets, charity stuff, news about movies, etc. Do NOT click on any links, these strange websites that have everything interesting on them are often set up by very smart crooks, very smart, and the links will direct all kinds of spyware (keyboard collection tools say to collect your banking user name and Passwords) loaded into your PC. Just exit and do NOT click on any links!

• Alway download the lastest Microsoft browser, word, Adobe updates, etc. These companies constantly try to add security features to their software. The moment you get an update from Microsoft or Adobe, load it asap. They sent you the updates because they have just fixed a security issue.

• Next time you order checks, do NOT put your first name and just have your initial and last name on them. If someone takes your check book they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank or credit union will know how you sign your checks.

• When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four or five numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

• Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. Never have your Social Security Number printed on your checks!. You can add it if it is necessary.

• Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also, carry a copy of your passport when traveling anywhere.

Very important, when you know your credit cards are stolen do this:
• Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.
The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
Here are the phone numbers to contact:
Equifax: 1.800.525.6285
Experian: 1.888.397.3742
Trans Union: 1.800.680.7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1.800.269.0271

Related articles and Books

Credit Card Scams II

Fraud Prevention Techniques for Credit Card Fraud

100% Internet Credit Card Fraud Protected