Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

How To Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud

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Credit card fraud can happen to anyone. It's important that you periodically check your credit card statements and report any fraudulent activity right away.

Steps You Should Take To Protect Your Credit Card Information

  • Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
  • Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
  • Keep an eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
  • Void incorrect receipts.
  • Destroy carbons.
  • Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
  • Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
  • Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
  • Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.

Credit Card Don'ts:

  • Don't lend your card(s) to anyone.
  • Don't leave cards or receipts lying around.
  • Don't sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
  • Don't write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
  • Don't give out your account number over the phone unless you're making the call to a company you know is reputable.

Reporting Credit Card Fraud

If you lose your credit or charge cards or if you realize they've been lost or stolen, immediately call the issuer(s).

Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. By law, once you report the loss or theft, you have no further responsibility for unauthorized charges.