This article was reviewed by Jay Brecknell, CFP®.
Do you know someone who has had their debit or credit card compromised?
It seems that more and more often, we hear of a friend or acquaintance who has experienced some form of identity theft or bank card fraud. What can you do to help prevent this from happening to you?
Sign your Cards
Despite what you may have heard, credit card issuers and banks strongly urge clients to sign the back of each credit and debit card using permanent ink instead of leaving it blank. This way a merchant can compare your signature against your photo ID if needed.
Review your Statement
Do this regularly to ensure all the charges are correct and there haven’t been any unauthorized transactions made without your knowledge. It’s also a good financial habit to get into as it may help to reduce your spending.
Be aware of your Surroundings
If you need to confirm your credit card information over the phone, only do so if you have initiated the call and are confident the company will only use your information for the intended purpose or purchase. Also make sure that others nearby can’t overhear your personal information.
Hey! Where’s my Card?
When making a purchase, keep your debit or credit card in sight at all times and make sure to get it back immediately if it has to leave your possession to complete the transaction.
If you have to sign a paper receipt (e.g. at a hotel or restaurant), make sure to give the merchant copy back to the server directly rather than leaving it on the table.
And finally, never give out any personal information such as account number, birth date, or Social Insurance Number (SIN) in response to a phone call or email from someone claiming to represent your bank or credit card company as they should already have that information on file.