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Tips for using Credit Cards Safely

... more tips for using credit cards safely when travelling ...

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As with our previous article which covered Using your ATM cards safely, credit cards are also the target of unscrupulous people who want something for nothing.

Using credit cards safely needs a little more work than safe guarding your ATM PIN number and card, because unlike the ATM card you do have to give your card to someone else, and that is where the problems may begin.

 In fact, credit card fraud is extremely serious, and almost impossible to safe guard against 100% effectively. It is also very closely linked to an even more serious problem - identity theft.

These tips apply equally to when we travel abroad to when we are at home. Remember that all someone needs is your number, of course a little more information is sometimes required but problems can begin with just a credit card number so the first guide to safety is ensuring you stay with your card at all times, and watch how it is used.

 This can be difficult to do we know, but it really is the only way to help prevent the loss of your card details.

 Keep details of your credit card, the number, security number, date of expiration etc. somewhere safe and separate from your wallet, and keep a copy of this information when you travel.

 Also make a note of the emergency telephone numbers that credit card companies offer in case your card is lost or stolen, check if they have a local office in the destination you are travelling to.

 If your card is lost or stolen call the company immediately to report it.

 When using the credit card online, always ensure that the website is reputable, and that the website uses some form of SSL security which is normally visible by a little padlock appearing in the bottom right of Internet Explorer, the page may also start with https:// instead of the regular http://

Safe guard receipts and destroy carbon copies. This may seem over the top but we actually recommend keeping the receipts in a safe place so you can accurately compare them with the statements you receive and shred the rest. Shredders now are affordable and help to ensure that any confidential information is quite literally shredded. People committing credit card fraud and identity theft often rummage through dustbins and letter boxes.

 Don't give out any details about anything to anyone who has called you. If you know the company, ring them back on the general number to make sure that the person calling truly does work for that company.

 Always check the amount twice when signing, anyone can make a mistake be it intentionally or by accident.

 Always check your billing statement promptly to check there are no suspicious charges. If there is, report it immediately to the credit card company.

 Only allow people to use a machine you recognise on your card, skimmers are available that allow people to copy all your card details in seconds.

 If in doubt use cash, and happy travelling! These stories of using your credit cards and ATM cards are not meant to  scare you from using them we just hope they encourage you to use them more carefully. See also: Using your ATM card safely.

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