Anyone can fall victim to credit card fraud. Take television personality Sharon Osborne, for instance. “The Talk” host recently shared with viewers she and rocker husband Ozzy were credit card fraud victims.
Osbourne revealed, “Someone rang up charges and maxed out Ozzy’s card and my card. I called through to the credit card company, and they go, ‘No, no, no, you’re maxed out, so is Ozzy.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t go to that store, or to that store.’”
What can you do if you are targeted?
Osborne revealed that she has been working with the credit card company on the fraudulent charges. That’s an excellent first step to take. Once you notice suspicious activity, report it immediately to your bank or financial institution.
If your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges. If someone uses your lost or stolen credit card before you report it missing to the card issuer, you can only be held responsible for $50 of any fraudulent charge. If you report the loss before the card is used, you’re not responsible for any charges, nor are you liable if it’s just the card number that’s stolen and used.
You should also consider changing your online passwords and PINs to prevent fraudsters from doing any further damage. Be sure not to use the same password repeatedly, as “credential stuffing” is something fraudster can attempt. Once they hack one of your accounts, they try the same username and passwords on other websites hoping to gain more access to your personal finances. Sophisticated fraudsters can run programs that automate logins because they know time is of the essence.
Keep a close eye on your bank statements, and if you notice signs of fraud, notify your bank immediately.
And it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report since signs of fraud, like new accounts you don’t recognize, can show up on the report before your information has been compromised. Actively monitoring your credit report and your identity is an important step, so you can act quickly if you’ve become a victim.
Here are some additional steps you can take to reduce credit card fraud:
- Monitor your account activity each day and set up spending alerts, so you’re notified as soon as something looks amiss.
- Check to see if your credit card offers a virtual number, which you can change each time you make a purchase to protect your account.
- Be suspicious. Every link in an email or a too-good-to-be-true deal on an unfamiliar website might be an attempt to harvest credit card details or other personal information – stay alert. You may also want to rethink handing over your email address or additional information to any retailer in exchange for a promo code because those retailers are significant targets. Take, for example, Barnes & Noble’s recent data breach. The attack exposed customers’ personal information, including transaction history and email addresses, along with erasing e-reader Nook libraries.
Whether you’ve already been a victim of identity theft or you want to be proactive about staying safe from fraud, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your credit.