I recently received a recorded message from the fraud department of the credit card which I use, letting me know that it is imperative that I return the telephone call to the company that issued my credit card. It seems that while I am currently in the United States, my credit card was being used at a Home Depot store somewhere in Mexico. Fortunately, the charge was not allowed to go through. The credit card company immediately canceled my credit card and sent me a new one.
I was lucky in the sense that at best, I suffered a temporarily minor inconvenience. The incident did not cost me any money or time. While it can be annoying at times where a credit card company may question the usage of your credit card — especially when traveling internationally — it is nice to know that my account is being protected. I need not worry.
A similar situation happened with FlyerTalk member Dovster, whose MasterCard credit card was being used at a store in the United States while he was in Germany. He suffered very little as well and his trip was not ruined, but other FlyerTalk members impart similar experiences as well.
The holiday season is an especially critical time to experience credit card fraud, as unscrupulous people attempt to take advantage of those whose minds appear to be elsewhere, thinking about things that preoccupy their minds and therefore not paying attention to their surroundings.
Here are a few tips to help protect yourself from credit card fraud:
- If you are embarking on an international trip, be sure to inform your credit card company before you go. This will save you a lot of trouble once you attempt to use your credit card outside of your home country.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Do not leave your credit card exposed long enough for anyone to memorize it or record it. Only surrender it for just enough time for the cashier to complete the purchase transaction. Ensure that it is returned to your possession as quickly as possible.
- Only use secure Internet web sites when entering your credit card number and information. The URL for secure Internet web sites usually begin with “https”.
- Always check your credit card statement to ensure that there are no unknown charges posted to your account. If any do appear, call the issuer of your credit card immediately.