Credit card fraud can be prevented by using a CVC in place of the magnetic stripe. However, this does not completely eradicate the threat posed by those who fail to heed this recommendation. A card security code, magnetic stripe verification data, verification number, or signature strip code is just as good of a deterrent as it gets. The use of both of these security measures is a must for preventing credit card fraud, but those who are lax in implementing them are truly putting themselves at risk. How can you make sure that you and your business are not falling victim to the crooks?
First, be sure that you do not carry more than one credit card. In light of recent news stories, there are growing reports of businesses and even individual consumers who have multiple cards, sometimes even several thousand. This is especially dangerous if they carry their checkbooks with them, since most crooks will know they can simply go right back and bypass such checks. Even if you only have one card, make sure that you are aware of your limits. A lot of card fraud takes place when a business user exceeds their spending limit, gets a late fee, or even charges a higher interest rate than they were already paying.
Make it very clear to customers and business owners that credit card fraud is not acceptable. To that end, sign up for fraud alerts through fraud prevention companies. For most companies, this means that they are connected to state-funded agencies that actively monitor and track down people who commit credit card fraud. These agencies' websites contain useful information on what you can do to protect yourself.
Another way to make sure that you are not a target for crooks is to make sure that you do not make it easy for them. If you are planning to carry multiple cards, ask your bank about an application fee or membership fee for a card monitoring program. The programs are offered by many banks and are especially useful for businesses. This will allow your employees to track all of your expenditures, and in some cases, even make purchases online using your card. This gives your company more visibility to any would-be thieves.
Be sure to keep your card as safe as possible. Never carry your debit or credit card in your wallet. It's a good idea to have it hidden, but it's even better to never carry it in your wallet at all! When you do have it in your pocket, you should always have it in your sight. Don't write down PIN numbers or access codes, and if you ever fall victim to a scam, get in touch with the authorities right away so they can help you trace the suspect.
Also, when you buy goods or services on your card, make sure that the site has a secure payment gateway. Fraudsters love these types of sites, as it makes it very easy for them to try and get their hands on your money. Most merchants will alert you when you've hit the shopping cap and want to complete your purchase. Just make sure the site is secure before you leave the payment page. Also, when you're near the checkout section, ask the clerk if you can pay with a plastic card instead of a check and use the section above the checkout for this purpose.
Avoid carrying your credit card and wallet at the same time, and don't sign for items with cash unless you're absolutely certain you can say no. Many stores and restaurants will require that you swipe your card at the point of sale. Keep it handy and in sight, and don't sign for something unless you're positive you can say “no.” Even if you think you don't have to, never take more than $200 out of your card at once. This is one of the best ways to minimize your risk of fraud.
There are also other steps you can take to protect yourself and your business. Check with the FDIC, and learn about fraud, credit card fraud and other fraud prevention methods. Don't be a victim. Protect yourself. Report any suspicious activity to the local authorities.
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