Last month, Sukanya got a huge credit card bill. The bills listed items that she had not even bought. It said that she had shopped at stores that she had never been to. Like anyone else would have done, Sukanya called the customer care and asked if sh had received the correct bill. She was shocked to know that the bill was hers and that her credit limit had been exhausted on that card. The credit card company refused to listen to her complaints of fraud and demanded quick payment if she wished to avoid the heavy interest on the unpaid amount.

Thousands of people all over the world have found themselves in a similar situation at some point in their lives. Who is to blame? Can someone use your credit card without actually stealing it? Is it possible that your card remains in your wallet and yet works for someone else? The answer is “Yes”, it is possible. This is in fact what is called Credit Card Fraud. You might be a victim of credit card fraud without even realizing it.

Memsaab brings you a list of very practical tips and ideas on how to avoid credit card fraud. If you follow these tips on a daily basis, you can hope to steer clear of any kind of fraud on your credit card payments. Most of it is common sense, but then, common sense is not as common as we may like to think!

• The first rule of thumb is to never let your card out of your sight. If you shop at a store and are paying by card, keep an eye on your card as the billing attendant takes it from you to swipe it. Get it back as soon as possible and whisk it safely away to your wallet/purse immediately.

• Do not give your credit card information to anyone who calls you. As a rule, credit card number should never be given to anyone over the phone. But if you are making a transaction over the phone, make sure that you initiated the call and not vice versa. Beware of people who call you and ask you for credit card number in order to verify your identity.

• Did you get an email that is asking for your credit card information? Never ever give out your credit card details in email, no matter what!

• When shopping online, make sure that you provide the card details only on a secure website. If you are not so sure about the website’s credentials, chuck the shopping and hold on to your credit card details.

Sign your credit card as soon as you receive it. Do not write the PIN of your card on it. Do not even keep the PIN of your credit/debit cards in your wallet/purse.

Make a list of all your credit and debit cards. Note down the numbers, PIN numbers, expiration dates and bank details of each. Also note down the phone numbers where you need to notify in case of theft. Keep this list in a secure place.

• When you shop, store the receipts. Even when you shop online, note down the exact date, amount and item you buy. When you get the monthly bill, reconcile the bill with your receipts and notes. Are you being overcharged? Are you paying for something you did not buy? Keep your eyes open for these details.

Do not loan your card to anyone else.

• If you are moving from your current address, notify the credit card company in advance of your new address.

• Last but not the least, hold on to your credit card and credit card information like one holds on to gold. Be very very careful when you use it or share the information with a third party.

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