Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

By: Francesca Fiori

One of the fastest growing criminal activities that consumers face today is that of credit and debit card fraud. Statistics show that about 10% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud, with many never realizing that they have been victimized. Worldwide the amount of credit card fraud totals over 5.5 billion dollars.

There are a number of types of fraud that criminals commit using card numbers that are fraudulently obtained. Through phishing, pharming, utilizing fake websites and other methods, criminals will attempt to trick consumers into providing their credit and debit card number. Once you unwittingly provide this information, you are giving criminals access to your credit or debit cards, which could lead to fraudulent losses by criminals stealing your identity. This can lead to further financial losses as well as ruining your credit history, by criminals assuming your identity to take loans out in your name.

The key to avoiding losses at the hands of online criminals is using common sense. If you receive an unexpected message from a financial institution or an individual, looking for your information, use caution. Only provide your personal financial information to websites or people you know to be legitimate. Also, don't be fooled by websites that claimed to be legitimate, but are in fact, spoofed sites. These spoof websites look like the real sites, but go to criminals. Most often spoof sites are included in emails you receive that look like they come from legitimate sources.

In summary, credit and debit card fraud is one of the leading criminal activities affecting consumers. To combat this fraud, be alert to suspicious activity that requests your account numbers. If you are uncertain, don't do it!

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