Even if you use the utmost caution, you can still be a victim of credit card fraud. Credit card companies and banks are more and more often putting the onus of catching phony or incorrect credit card charges on the consumer.
The most important thing is to check your billing statment, of course. And there are organizations like Creditcards.com that offer tips on how to keep your cards safe as well. Here, we take a look at 10 of the riskiest places you might use your card, according to Creditcards.com , and what you can do to avoid the dangers.
2) Flea/Farmer Markets
Flea/Farmers market merchants are often transient and can be difficult to locate if there is a problem with charges. It’s especially true for vendors who don’t have online credit card terminals and instead make carbon copies of your credit card.
That doesn’t mean those vendors are necessarily fraudulent, but it makes the transaction less secure. The credit card company might have trouble doing a charge back. If you’re going to the flea/farmer market, take cash. It’s also easier to negotiate that way.
These smaller merchants have a significantly higher percentage of credit card fraud as reported by large banks and credit card companies. Many of these transactions end up being written off by the banks because the merchants simply can’t be located. There’s just a higher chance of fraud when you get outside of the mainstream, so when in doubt, use cash.
6) Recurring Bills/Subscriptions
Instead of using automatic billing, ask to be billed on a one-time bill by bill basis instead. When you use your credit card for purchases that involve weekly, monthly or annual billings, you can encounter the headache of over-billings, continued billing once a subscription has ended, etc. Some less-than honest merchants will use automatic billing in hopes you’ll forget and won’t check your credit card statement.
8) Unsolicited E-mail Offers
Unless you’ve signed up for solicitations from particular companies, be wary. Check the URL in the e-mail. If it looks suspect, don’t click on it. You can always contact the company through their official Web site to confirm the legitimacy of the offer.
9) Strange and Foreign Domain Extensions
If you’re going to be shopping online, it’s best to stay with sites that use a .com extension. And be sure they have a secure checkout. With extensions for countries outside the U.S. — like .ru for Russia — use caution and make sure the company you’re purchasing from is actually located in the country depicted in the domain extension.
If there’s something that looks suspicious at an ATM or a gas pump credit card swipe terminal — like a separate stand-alone device for you to swipe your card through — or something looks like it’s been added onto the terminal, think twice about using it. More often than not, those types of add-ons are put there by criminals so they can steal your credit card information.
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