It can be a pretty stressful experience when you find out someone has been able to access your identity or use your credit card details without your permission. But whether your identity has been compromised or you’ve simply had your wallet stolen, there are different things to look out for. Here are just a few of the different types of fraud out there – and how to avoid falling foul of them.

Cash machine fraud – Who’s watching you?

Most people will be aware of cash machine fraud and its increase in recent years, mainly as there are now so many warnings about being vigilant when using your card – whether it is a credit, debit or cash card – at a high street ATM. Sometimes this type of theft will involve a device that is attached to the cash machine, often over the slot where you insert your plastic, but it may also involve people watching to see your PIN number. Reputable credit card providers and banks continue to develop ways to fight this fraud, but it’s important for us all to maintain our vigilance too. This means always covering up and not being afraid to go elsewhere if you are concerned about the ATM in front of you.

Mail not received fraud – Expecting something?

A pretty simple way of stealing credit cards is to make sure they don’t reach their intended user in the first place, so it’s no real surprise that career criminals have developed ways of intercepting mail that relates to financial accounts. While stealing someone’s actual new or replacement card is the most obvious way to begin getting access to their money, so too is building a profile of their identity by stealing letters, bills, statements and anything else that they may have delivered to their home. In fact, sometimes the card won’t actually be required. Of course, we can’t stop our post completely, but most companies offer the option to go ‘paper-free’ so items won’t be sent out in the mail in the first place.

Credit card skimming – Has someone copied your plastic?

This is a method of credit card fraud that has been around for many, many years and continues to be a problem for authorities and providers alike. In this type of theft, a counterfeit card is manufactured to look like a genuine piece of issued plastic. The details of authentic cards are then stolen and loaded onto the card using its magnetic strip. This is a process known as skimming and, while certainly it can be a sophisticated way of getting access to someone’s money, it is something that providers are equipped to prevent. Of course, card activity is still one of the most effective ways of doing this, as are card verification codes or systems like 3D secure which can protect online purchases.

While it’s important to be aware of all of the above, it is also important to remember that credit card fraud is something that also costs banks and providers lots of money too. While you may think this is really no concern of yours, it ensures that they have all the facilities possible to make sure your account details are as secure as possible. It also means that should the worst happen, there are things in place to make sure that your money is recovered and the source of the fraud is identified as quickly and efficiently as possible. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to see what different providers are doing to make their products the safest on the market at the earliest possible juncture. So, whether you’re shopping for a new credit card, transferring to a new one, or are just looking for a better deal, it may be worth looking at the anti-fraud facilities of different options as well as the APR and balance transfer rate.

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