Consumers beware: Credit card fraud is on the rise and could exceed more than $31 billion worldwide by 2020, according to The
- Someone stealing your credit card and making purchases without your authorization
- Security breaches that involve thieves breaking in to a computer system and stealing credit card numbers
Given the seriousness of this crime, most people would never dream of intentionally committing credit card fraud. But a few seemingly innocent actions on your part might set off alarm bells among those involved with credit card fraud detection. Here is a look at five credit card mistakes you could be making. Be sure not to make these mistakes so you can protect yourself from credit card fraud.
1. Exaggerating Information on a Credit Card Application
Credit card applications request your name, address and Social Security number.
Whether you're looking to build a credit history or have some other goal in mind, you might be tempted to fudge the numbers in your favor. After all, if there's no verification process, maybe you feel overstating annual income is no big deal. But that is a mistake.
“Lying about your financial/employment status or age can land you a one-way ticket to fraud,” said
Also, if you file bankruptcy and the judge discovers you acquired a credit card under false pretenses, you might be
2. Disputing Your Own Charges
Reviewing your credit card statement might reveal a charge you don't recognize. It's smart to dispute any charge you didn't make. However, you should also understand that just because you don't recognize a merchant on your credit card statement doesn't necessarily mean the charge is fraudulent.
“One form of fraud that could be done accidentally is friendly fraud — when a person reports a legitimate credit card charge as fraudulent and asks for a refund,” said
Since a merchant’s name can show up differently on credit card statements, don't panic if you see an unfamiliar charge. Do an online search for the name appearing on your credit card statement to see if it’s connected with a merchant with whom you've recently shopped.
3. Using Someone’s Credit Card Without Permission
It doesn't matter how close you are to someone,
The owner of the credit card can take legal action if you make an unauthorized purchase. Granted, it probably won't come to this, especially if you pay the charges. But if you skip out on the bill, the
Never use someone's credit card without permission. If someone gives you open access to a credit card, ask this person to add your name as an authorized user on the account.
4. Signing Someone’s Credit Card Receipt
Have you ever been out to eat with a friend who gives you a card and asks you to sign on his behalf before he runs to the restroom? "Without even realizing it, you’ve just committed credit card fraud,” said
You might not think twice about signing a receipt for someone else, especially when given permission to do so. However, a signed credit card receipt is often used to
“It is always best to politely decline and allow people to handle their own transactions," he said.
5. Using a Fake Credit Card Number for a Trial Offer
Trial offers let you give products a test run before buying. Sometimes, you have to enter a credit card number to start a trial offer. If you don’t cancel before the end of the trial period, the company charges your credit card. Since there’s the risk of forgetting to cancel, you might play it safe and use a fake credit card number when setting up the trial.
Some websites will
Truthfully, there's no way to know with certainty that a credit card number generated by one of these sites is actually fake. If the card number happens to be real, you might be liable for any purchases made with the number.
When signing up for a trial offer, read the fine print and you'll find that many companies specifically ask for a “valid” credit card number. So if you use a fake credit card number, you’re still signing up under false pretenses, which is potentially fraudulent.