Identity theft is the new world of organized crime. The best way to protect theft of credit cards yourself from this crime is to prevent identity theft from happening to you. This starts with finding out what identity theft is, and where and when it could happen to you!
Defining Identity Theft
What is identity theft? Identity theft is any time someone without your knowledge or consent, uses your personal or financial information. This can range from steeling your passport to travel illegally, to gaining financial information to make fraudulent purchases. But the majority of identity theft cases involved identity theft of credit card information.
How It Works
Identity theft with your credit card information occurs any time someone gets a hold of your credit card number. This often happens online. You might receive an e-mail warning you that something is wrong with your credit card, and you click on a link and are directed to a place where you are required to put in your credit card information to “fix” the problem. This is a scam known as phishing, where the criminal is looking to gain those numbers for their own use. And just because you are not online, doesn’t mean your information is not! If you register your car or pay a speeding ticket, important parts of your identity, often including credit card numbers, are automatically put online!
Your Identity is Stolen – Now What?
Once the criminal gets a hold of your information, they will probably make purchases using your credit card number. It does not matter that they do not have the physical card in their hands, since the world of online shopping does not require seeing the card, just entering the numbers. When you notice fraudulent charges on your credit card statement, it is time to take action.
Start by contacting your bank. Often your bank will be willing to put a freeze on your account. Also, most credit cards have policies that do not hold you liable for purchases made by an identity thief, but you have to catch them! The card will be frozen, and you will be given a new card.