A few weeks ago, my wife and I had an unpleasant call from Visa cardmember services. They informed us that our credit card number may have been stolen and that we needed to call them immediately. After being connected, the representative asked me if I had made any purchases in Mexico recently. I replied that I hadn’t and told him I found the whole situation pretty crazy. His response? “It happens every day.”
The fact that Visa has representatives to deal solely with stolen credit cards means you need to pay attention. Numbers get stolen all the time, and while you should be able to recoup any lost funds, the process can still be a headache. To avoid getting your card stolen as my wife and I did, follow these tips.
Use Caution Online
The world is becoming smaller and smaller, and you can buy nearly anything you need online. This is wildly convenient, but it can also be wildly dangerous. You need to be careful about where you’re submitting your credit card number. Consider shopping at larger sites, which offer stronger security, or using services like Paypal to help keep your money safe.
I have reason to believe an online purchase is what caused my number to be stolen. After speaking with the representative, I learned where the first test purchase was made from. It was in the same state as a recent online purchase I had made. I probably should’ve checked with the company more closely before buying their products over the internet.
Write “See ID”
In many stores, the cashier will check to make sure that your card is signed on the back. My mom taught me that writing “see ID” on the back of the card will sometimes cause a thief to be caught. This is a simple thing you can do that will help you if your physical card is stolen.
This can get tricky because some places don’t check cards. Other places only require a signature for purchases over a certain amount. For example, Target only requires a signature if you spend more than $50. This method, therefore, isn’t foolproof, but every little bit helps.
Keep an Eye on Purchases
Visa did a great job recognizing phony purchases on our card in Mexico. Some may not be so lucky. If you don’t track the purchases made on your card and it’s stolen, you may end up with a number of charges you didn’t make. If you spot something out of the ordinary on your credit card, you should report it immediately. By doing so, you can stop the problem earlier — rather than trying to get things sorted out later.
Having a credit card stolen is a hassle. You need to shred your old cards and order new ones. By monitoring online purchases, marking your card correctly, and checking your account frequently, you can avoid a lot of headaches.
How do you protect your credit card number?