How to Protect Your Credit Cards and Information

Here are some reminders for how to protect your credit cards and information as you prepare for the holiday shopping season.

• Carry only the credit cards you need.

• Keep a record of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone numbers of each card issuer in a safe place so you can report a loss quickly.

• Guard your account information, including your PIN. Never leave it out in the open or write it on an envelope.

• Do not disclose your account number over the phone unless you initiate the call.

• Draw a line through blank spaces on charge or debit slips above the total so the amount cannot be changed.

• Do not sign a blank charge or debit slip. Only sign charge or debit slips as you use them.

• Tear up copies and save your receipts to check against your monthly statements.

• Check your account activity. Open your monthly statements promptly and compare them to your receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible.

• Cut up old cards (and cut through the account number before you throw them away).

• Pay your holiday bills with a credit card and not by check. Your check contains all the account information a forger needs to rip you off! So pay by credit card whenever possible.

For more information and a quick guide from the Federal Trade Commission that includes what to do when your card is lost or stolen, how to report fraudulent transactions, and how to limit your losses, see https://www.consumer.

Quickly report any loss or theft of your cards to the card issuer. Federal law protects you if your credit or debit (ATM) card is lost or stolen. Your protection against unauthorized charges depends on the type of card and how soon you report the loss. Acting fast limits your liability for unauthorized charges.

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