Year after year, millions of Americans become victims of fraud which leads to the loss of billions to the economy. If you are a victim of this situation, you would know that it can have rather telling effects on your finances. There are however several measures taken financial institutions to checkmate the effects of this situation. But, do police investigate credit car theft? We will attempt to answer this and a few other questions in this article.
Do police investigate credit card theft?
Yes, they do albeit rarely. And whenever they do, it is because they feel the case us one is quite easy to solve. More often than not, they may investigate it if the person who steals it opts to use the card locally. A credit card is often not investigated by the State Police because it has an international dimension. The police will carry out an investigation into stolen credit cards when they have found a suspect during their initial investigations. One thing about credit card fraud is that the majority of them occur on a wide scale especially overseas. More often than not, such cases are handled by the American secret service. It is however not possible to report such issues to that agency. The ideal thing to do in such a situation is to report the case to the Credit Card Company. They will then forward the case to the secret service.
What Is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud occurs when a person uses the credit card of another person without their authorization. There are several ways this activity may happen. Firstly, if you lose possession of your credit card, it can be used to make some purchases online or in person. Also, fraudsters may steal the pin to your credit card to make transactions that are not authorized.
What Is Identity Theft?
This usually involves the use of information about you illegally acquired. This could be your birthday, name, credit card number and social security number. This is to use your credit card accounts or to open a new one. When this occurs, the criminals being using your details to transact while the bills pile up for you.
What Are The Types Of Credit Card Fraud?
One unique thing about fraudsters is that they are very cunning and creative. Due to this, they often come up with creative ways to gain access and steal from you. Here are several ways your good credit may be breached:
The use of a lost credit card
It is not unusual to lose your credit cards by mistake. But the danger with this is that someone who finds it may want to use it. This is why you should always report your lost credit card to the issuer of the card so that they can reduce the risk of damage to you.
Stolen credit card
There are situations where a person may be trying to pay for something and before he or she knows it, someone picks their wallets. In such a situation, it becomes quite difficult to place one’s hands-on where it must have been lost. The moment you notice that your card is stolen, ensure to notify the issuer of the card.
Takeover of account
There are instances where a fraudster may use the personal information of a person like a mother’s maiden name, home address and other information. They often do this to contact the bank or credit card company to claim that your card has been lost. They may also claim that you have changed the address so that they can get a new card. Several issuers, however, have a system where you provide a verbal password to prevent such fraud from occurring.
What Is The Difference Between Identity Theft And Credit Card Fraud?
It is not uncommon to find people interchanging identity theft and credit card fraud. There are a few differences which one needs to understand between them both. Firstly, identity theft can be viewed as being more comprehensive. The reason for this is that it is not just one aspect of your identity that is taken. These identity thieves could take your credit card number, social security number and home address.
When they lay hands on this information, the next thing they would do is to open utility accounts, fie for government benefits and even tax returns. A credit card often occurs in any of two ways. The first way is via New-account fraud while the other is existing account fraud. For the new account fraud, the fraudster would simply apply for a credit using your details. Existing-account fraud involves a situation where thieves would gain access to your credit card information.
But in either instance, the thief would probably carry out a lot of expenses before you ever notice. You may take certain steps to forestall the occurrence of such. For instance, you may create transaction alerts and also sign up for monitoring services on your credit card.
Tips That Should Help You Prevent Credit Card Fraud
The truth is that there is no hundred percent guaranteed way to tackle credit card theft. But you should know that your daily actions have a profound effect on the possibility of such theft occurring. Here are a few things you can do to limit the possibility of such:
1. Only use ATM’s owned by banks
One device credit card thieves often use is known as Skimmer. This device is used to steal the credit card information of people. What they do is to put the device on fuel pumps and ATM’s and they skim the needed data from the strip that is on the back of the credit card. This is why it is advisable that if you must use an ATM, use the one affiliated to your bank. Ensure you do not use the one at a bar or convenience store. This is because their machines are often less secure.
It will also be wise for you to even stay away from cash advances. One of the main reasons for this that the card issuers often begin charging interest rates without any grace period.
2. Consider mobile app payments for some shopping
The chances of your card information been skimmed at an in-store are quite low. But that doesn’t eliminate the risk. Due to this reason, you could avoid any possible risk by using mobile payment platforms. These technologies use a technology known as tokenization. Transactions done using Tokenization are those that are not linked to the primary account number that is on the front of your card.
3. Carry out payments in the gas station
Gas pumps are one of the places targeted by fraudsters; this means that you consider paying inside instead of at the pump. If you are in a hurry, you should check the card reader to ascertain if there are any irregularities. The truth is that skimming devices don’t always look the same, so you have to be very careful and vigilant.
4. Use retailers that use chip readers
Not every retailer will accept mobile-based payments this is especially in the case of small businesses. It is therefore ideal that you visit stores that would have you insert your card as against swiping them. The moment you put in your card in the reader, it would read the chip as against reading the information contained on the magnetic strip. The information contained on the strip is often more secure and ensures that the data on your card is always safe from potential skimmers.
5. Be careful how you send your information
The thing about sending sensitive information is that you will no longer have control over what happens to it. There is no guarantee that the person won’t forward your info to someone else. There is also the risk of them losing their devices and as such your information may be in the wrong hands. It is therefore imperative that if you must give your card information to someone else, do it in person.
6. Use a virtual number on the internet
Even if you are not the type that stores credit card information online, there is still a chance that it could end up on a server. This is especially if you use it to make certain transactions on the internet. To eliminate this type of risk, several credit card issuers often provide programs that give you a special credit card number which is connected to your primary account each time you buy something online. This number is however only valid for one use hence it is useless for whosoever steals it.
7. Be careful about who has access to your information
The major perpetrators of credit card fraud are often strangers, but this does not mean that someone familiar can’t do the same. This is why you should be careful the way you give out sensitive information such as your social security number and credit card information.
We have been able to establish in this article that the police are limited when it comes to investigating credit card theft. This is mainly because issues bothering credit card fraud often assume an international dimension hence the efforts of the Secret Service. Be careful the way you handle sensitive information and you will never be a victim of this fraud.
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