11 tips to protect your card from misuse

sudhakar ca cwa (service) (1518 Points)

09 November 2010  

1. Put your signature fast

Always put your signature on the signature panel of your card as soon as you receive it. Although this is one of the terms and conditions of a card's use set by the associations, this may also help prevent its misuse in case it falls into the hands of someone else.

Simply because that person can put one's own signature behind it and start using it without alerting the merchant's suspicion. Also, if the card is later recovered, then you may be held liable for all the transactions done by that person.

"Putting your signature is a good way for the seller to cross check the genuineness of the presenter. And most credit card companies insist that the card be signed by the user before making any purchases," says Ashish Kapur


2. Don't give photocopy of both the sides

Do not provide photocopies of both the sides of the credit card to anyone. This is because the card verification value (CVV), which is required for online transactions, is printed on the reverse of the card.

Anyone can use the card for online purchases if the information is available with one.

3. PIN precautions

Never write your personal identification number (PIN) on your card. Instead memorise it or keep the number separately from your card. This way you can prevent the card's misuse in case the card falls into someone's hand. If both the card and PIN are there, then someone can withdraw cash from the ATM machines.

Also, you must keep your PIN secure and must not disclose it to anyone. Keep changing your PIN and access passwords to avoid frauds and misuse. Don't use an obvious password like your birth date or your mother's maiden name.

4. Avoid giving out card number online

Don't give out your credit card number online unless you know and trust the company in question. Because when you input your credit card information at a website or send it in an e-mail, that information is transmitted across the internet as if it were written on the back of a postcard.

"To ensure the security of your account, that information should be encrypted using the latest technology. A fraudulent site may tell you that you don't need to encrypt the information. Don't believe it," says an HSBC spokesperson


5. Don't always trust a site

Before using a secured transaction site, check out the encryption software it uses. You can do this by clicking on the icon that looks like a lock located on the bottom right corner of the screen. A certification by VeriSign would be one of the industry's trusted technology.

"Some sites may claim to be encrypted when they actually are not. If you are not sure, ask for an alternate method of payment," says the HSBC spokesperson.


6. Don't give information over phone

Do not give any information to persons seeking credit card information over phone unless you have yourself initiated the talk. They may even claim to be a bank's representative, but you actually don't know who they really are. Know that banks and other legitimate businesses never ask for passwords, account numbers or updated information via email or over phone.

"Treat all unsolicited e-mail (and phone) messages with scepticism and avoid clicking on website links," says Kapur.

7. Separate record of card information

You should also keep a separate record of the credit card information as well as customer service telephone numbers so that you could contact the issuer in the event that your card is lost or stolen.

8. Notify immediately

In case your credit card gets misplaced, notify the credit card company as soon as possible to avoid any fraud transaction and get the card cancelled immediately. Once informed, you liability will be limited.


9. Watch your card being swiped

You should also watch your card being swiped on the terminals, which should normally be done in clear view to ensure no external readers are used to capture your credit card data. Check that the merchant swiping your card does not swipe multiple times. If you are suspicious, you can always alert your issuing bank.

10. Exercise caution at the ATM

Exercise caution at the ATM and ensure that you are alone when you are entering your secret PIN.

In case your card gets stuck in the machine, inform the card issuer immediately.

11. Monitor financial statements

You should also keep monitoring your financial statements. Make sure there are no changes or transactions you did not initiate. Because if reported after the stipulated period, you will be liable for any fraud transaction.

To avoid this, keep copies of sales slips and compare charges when bills arrive. If there is a mistake, call your issuer right away