Don’t Become a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

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The ease of credit card use has a dark side. Taking a few simple steps can help cut the risk that your credit cards will be used without your knowledge or permission. It can also lessen the likelihood that you’ll be liable for any charges unauthorized users make.

If your credit card is used without your permission, you may be responsible for up to $50 in charges. If your card is lost or stolen and you report the loss before your card is used in a fraudulent transaction, you can’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges. Some card issuers don’t hold their customers liable for any fraudulent charges, regardless of when they notify the card company.

If your debit card is used without your permission, your liability will vary depending on several factors. These include whether the card was lost or stolen or is still in your possession; the type of transaction; and when you reported the loss or unauthorized transaction.

If you report a missing debit card before any unauthorized transactions are made, you aren’t responsible for the unauthorized transactions. If you report a card loss within two business days after you learn of the loss, your maximum liability for unauthorized transactions is $50. If you report the card loss after that time but within 60 calendar days of the date your statement showing an unauthorized transaction was mailed, liability can jump to $500. Finally, if you report the card loss more than 60 calendar days after your statement showing unauthorized transactions was mailed, you could be liable for all funds taken from your account.

Taking these five actions can help lower your risk:

  1. Carry only the cards you need and destroy old cards, slashing through the account number, before discarding them.
  2. Don’t provide your card number over the phone or online unless you’ve initiated the contact.
  3. Memorize your PIN — don’t write it down. And don’t choose a PIN that could be easily guessed.
  4. Take a few moments to scan account transactions every time you log on to your bank’s or credit card company’s website. If you don’t have online access, review your monthly statements. If you notice a transaction that isn’t yours, report it to your credit card issuer or bank right away.
  5. Keep a list of important numbers and relevant data and store it separately from the cards themselves. Having this information handy will make it easier to report a missing card or suspicious transaction quickly.

It’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the ease and convenience of credit and debit cards. There’s always the risk of theft and fraud.

Need Additional Information?

If you need more information, please contact us so we can connect you with one of our CPA advisors who will be committed to your business and personal success. BLS is here to help!