3 easy ways to prevent credit card fraud

By UK CreditCards.com

Credit card fraud costs the UK public an estimated £440 million every year. From simple wallet theft to sophisticated online scams, card fraud is a major problem worldwide.


And now, Brighton has been named the UK credit card fraud capital. According to a recent study by the life assistance company, CPP, 38% of people in the south coast city said their details had been used by fraudsters at some point. 34% of people in London said the same, while 33% in Manchester reported being victims.

But it is possible to avoid becoming another fraud statistic. Here are three easy ways to protect yourself from some of the most common credit card fraud schemes.

1. Avoid telephone and internet scams
Don't give out your card information online or by telephone unless you instigated the contact and you are 100% sure that you are talking to a reputable company.

And don't ever agree to give your card details to someone who requests it so they can "check their information."

2. Keep your credit cards and PIN separate
A sure-fire way to ask for trouble is to keep your UK credit cards and your PIN numbers in the same place. Don't ever carry your PIN alongside your credit cards or in the same wallet or handbag. If possible, don't write your PIN down anywhere. If you are likely to forget it, then use an ATM to change your PIN to a number you are more likely to remember.

3. Sign up for card assistance with your provider
Many credit cards now offer sophisticated fraud prevention. The leading purchase credit cards and the best credit card rewards schemes all come with hi-tech fraud prevention services. For example, your credit card provider will often put a stop on your card if you use it abroad without notifying them beforehand that you are heading overseas.

Sarah Blaney, a card fraud expert at CPP, warns, "With card fraud costing the UK £440 million a year, consumers still need to remain vigilant and not let their guard down."

See related: Fraud figures show need for credit card security; ID theft cover: Do you really need it? 

Published: 2 March 2011