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Blog – Plastic Predators

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Today’s individual financial world has become plastic, no doubt about it.

We hand over our credit or debit cards for virtually everything we do.  I can remember when my parents would only use their plastic for purchases over $100 or so, and then only if a check was not available.  Times have definitely changed.

We give out our credit card number like we give out our phone number. It’s become a number that we memorize and give out without much thought. But how safe are we as we hand this important information out so freely? And what can we do to be more vigilant and protect our plastic?

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Unfortunately, fraudulent activity is looming all around us and it is our individual responsibility to protect ourselves against these predators.  So what can we do? We have to be a step ahead of them at all times, and minimize the chance we may be their next victims.

There are many basic things that you’re probably familiar with.   Keep an eye on your card when you hand it over to the clerk to make sure it’s not swiped in a card reader that stores the card number for these crooks to use until they’re discovered.  Or if you see your card being swiped more than once, ask why ­ it is your card after all!  Be careful when talking on your cell or office phone when giving out your credit card number because you never know who’s in ear -shot and may be jotting it down.   Note when your statement arrives in the mail each month and call if it doesn’t arrive on time ­ someone could have removed it from your mailbox.  Only use your card at reputable merchants ­ if you have any questions, use cash.  If you use your card a lot on the Internet, consider having two credit cards ­ one as your primary card, and the other as a low limit card for use on Internet purchases.

These are a few obvious tips to protect your plastic on the front end, but what do we do to ensure no fraudulent activity has occurred on our accounts after the transaction?  It is our responsibility as the cardholder to periodically monitor our accounts.  So you should at least check the balance several times between statements to see if it sounds right. 

Here is one more tip for you where I have been 100% satisfied ­ Truliant Federal Credit Union’sonline banking and RSVP phone system. This allows member-owners to review and monitor all of their transactions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And bonus ­ it’s free, safe and very convenient. Don’t let the criminals win, ­ keep an eye out for your assets and report any suspicious activity you may suspect. Regrettably we live in a world where the criminals are getting smarter and can do more damage, and we have to be smarter too!

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