Credit card fraud is a traumatic event on so many levels. Not only is the act of theft a frightening breach of security. There’s also the short-term loss of funds, which can happen at any inopportune moment. On top of that are the longer-term effects, such as identity theft and credit damage. Consider your credit card information one of the most valuable, proprietary items in your possession. SmartAsset has created this guide in order to help you to protect your credit card number at all costs.
According to a survey that assessed the rate of credit fraud around the world, the U.S. topped the list, right under Mexico. The report, culling data from the third quarter of 2012, revealed that 44% and 42% respondents, respectively, were victims of card fraud. Approximately 3% of the total U.S. population fall victim to identity theft, or 9 million people. One quarter of these cases involve some form of credit-card fraud.
While the number may sound low, credit fraud can occur to anyone. All they need is one or more of the following pieces of information: full name, address, social security number, bank account number, employer and its address, your rate of pay. It’s time to be more mindful of what you do with this data.
1. Take Account of Every Person Holding Your Credit Card Information
Whether it’s for personal or business use, be aware of every single person who has ever gained access to your financial information. This includes friends, family and business associates, who may have reviewed your personal bank account and credit card numbers at some point.
2. Shred Sensitive Documents for Disposal
After you are done with them, any documents that contain details about your financial activity should either be archived securely or disposed of completely. Purchase a quality shredder, which can help you to destroy sensitive documents. While you may want to just toss them, be sure to shred pre-approved credit card solicitations. Any person can retrieve the form from the trash can and fill it out his or herself.