The Bureau issued an alert this week, offering a series of tips to avoid becoming the latest victim of credit card fraud.
According to the FBI, "credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or similar payment tool (ACH, EFT, recurring charge, etc.), to fraudulently obtain money or property. Credit and debit card numbers can be stolen from unsecured websites or can be obtained in an identity theft scheme."
Tips provided by the FBI include:
- Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is secure and reputable. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but provides some assurance;
- Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure;
- Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses;
- Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source;
- Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate;
- Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working;
- Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account;
- Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information;
- Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area;
- Check out other websites regarding this person/company;
- Don’t judge a person or company by their website; flashy websites can be set up quickly;
- Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail;
- Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country;
- If possible, purchase items online using your credit card. You can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong;
- Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card number;
- Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately.
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