10 Tips to protect credit card fraud

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Tip #1 Put signature on the back panel of the credit card

A merchant has to verify the signature on the back of the card with that on the purchase transaction slip. Some merchants fails to do that, but putting your signature on the back of the credit card can minimize the mis-use.

Tip #2 Do not use your credit card for Online shopping from a public computer

This has been time again mentioned in various magazines/blogs/websites, but it still remain the single most important loophole, which causes significant mis-use of the credit card. To add an extra security measure I always use credit card from my home computer and not even office computer.

Tip #3 Always make sure to use secure http connection. The URL should contain https and seeing that a lock symbol is at the bottom corner of a website.

Tip #4 Mark the CVV number (last three digits at the back of the card) illegible by ink and remember it either in your head or keep it secretly at your home.

Tip#5 If you credit card bank provide some mechanism to create virtual cards (like HDFC's Netbanking OR Axis's eShop Card) use that facility.

Tip#6 Get a credit card issued with a very small limit

With disposable income rising and the mentality of credit card companies to provide exhorbitantly high credit limits (sometimes 2-3 times monthly salary or even more), it is no longer surprising that if you try to get a credit card, the limit would be several lakhs. It will be a big blow if such a high value card is mis-used. I have a citibank credit card with a limit of 20K (this was 5K when I was in IIT as a student). I have consistenly "thwarted" citibank's ploy to increase the credit limit. This credit card is of immense use to me and I mostly use the card for my daily purpose. I dont live in fear since the maximum misuse that can be done is (20K - outstanding balance) at any given time. If you dont have a card, ask the company to issue a card to your non-working spouse OR your child (Not an add-on card).
Another way is to push the company to reduce the credit limit. I have done this for my wife's credit card (whose initial limit was 1 lakh, which I forced the company to reduce it to 20K).

Tip# 7 Register for mobile alerts

All banks and credit card companies will now-a-days sends mobile alerts for any transaction in your account. It helps instantly to know if a misuse happened.

Tip #8 Use the a pre-set limit option (usually it is not advertised or made clear to the customer).
Credit card companies offer a pre-set limit option, where any transaction greater than the preset limit will need bank's authorization. It helps greatly to reduce the misuse.

Tip #9 Keep the bank aware of your changing addresses

This is another of the biggest reason for misuse. Sometimes the credit card user forgets his/her credit limit expiry date. If you have shifted your residence, and bank still has your old address, the new credit card will be automatically send to your old address (most of the times the mobile number has also changed, so bank has no way to intimate you). In last four years, I have shifted four cities and nine houses, each time I make sure to update the address in all banks.

Tip#10 Keep track of your expenses

This is easier said than done. It is so easy to use a credit card and throw the counter slip, so that when monthly statement comes, you will be wondering which are the correct and incorrect expenses. A simple precaution of keeping the old receipts can help you tremendously.