Ever gotten a phone call offering you “loss protection” insurance for your credit card? While it might sound promising, consider taking the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) advice: Don’t buy it.
Very often, these credit card protection offers are scams that use your concern about identity theft to take advantage of you. They prey on your worries about the security of your information to persuade you to buy a product that you don’t actually need. Be wary if someone contacts you claiming that you need “credit card protection” because:
- You’re liable for more than $50 in unauthorized claims
- Hackers can access your card number and steal thousands
- A computer bug could give thieves access to your account
- They’re calling from the “security department” to activate the protection feature on your card (for a fee, of course).
Remember the facts: you won’t be held liable for more than $50 in unauthorized charges. If you haven’t authorized a charge on your credit card, you don’t have to pay it.
If you find a charge on your account that you did not authorize, immediately take steps to alert your credit card issuer. As soon as you can, contact your credit card issuer to inform them of the situation. Make sure you keep copies of the statements that include the fraudulent charges, and all documents that could relate to your claim. The more information you have to prove that those charges are faulty, the easier it will be to show your credit card issuer that you are not responsible for the unauthorized purchases.
While knowing the facts about credit card liability can help you be prepared for identity theft scams, knowing how to protect your information in the first place is also helpful, especially if you frequently shop online. Of course there are basic safety precautions, like making sure the website is protected, but the FTC advises that you go beyond standard security procedures to make sure your credit card isn’t compromised. Here are a few precautionary measures to consider:
- Don’t give out your personal information, including your Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers.
- Be careful with every day information. Trivial personal details like your mother’s maiden name or birthday could be useful to identity thieves.
- Don’t share any personal information unless you trust the business you’re dealing with.
If you want to know more about identity theft protection, you can learn more at the FTC’s website, www.ftc.gov. They offer free publications about consumer issues including information on how online bank account users can protect themselves. Or, you can contact your credit card issuer; many of them have online guides to their personal protection plans and information about how you can seek assistance. It’s important to understand how the government and your credit card issuer keep your money and your information safe. Even more important, though, is understanding how you can keep yourself safe. Once you’ve taken preventative measures to keep your information secure, you can feel comfortable rejecting telemarketing scams offering credit card loss protection.
About the author: Check ‘n Go, the fourth largest consumer financial service institution in the United States, offers online payday loans, check cashing, payday advance and cash advance loans as part of their commitment to ethical and responsible lending. Check ‘n Go has consistently set high standards for their payday loan and installment loan services to ensure that their customers continue to have options available for whatever financial circumstances come their way.