You meet an old acquaintance for a long overdue lunch and play catch up over food and drinks while having a great conversation about old times. When the server arrives with the bill, you have a friendly feud over who is paying. Your friend agrees to pay for the next one. Before leaving, you make a quick trip to the restroom and upon your return; your credit card receipt is waiting to be signed.
The following month, you receive your credit card statement and, to your dismay, there are various charges that you didn’t make. Coincidently, you notice that the fraudulent charges were made around the same time frame you had lunch with your acquaintance. Thinking it rather odd, you call your friend to share the story and receive no callback.
Don’t be surprised, but it’s that easy to become a victim of identity theft. In situations such as this, you could be susceptible to fraud when your credit card is open for everyone to see, such as an acquaintance or a restaurant server. Keep in mind, not only is your full name and account number on the card, but also the expiration date and the CVV number (Card Verification Value Code) which is located on the back of your card.
As we all know, we certainly can’t stop using credit cards, and shielding yourself from friends or watching wait staff like a hawk isn’t going to help much other than maybe draw unwanted attention. However, having a solid credit monitoring product may alleviate the pain of identity theft and credit card fraud. To prevent a credit card fraud issue from escalating, contact your credit institution immediately to shut down your account (or work with your credit monitoring product to help you with this) and have a new credit card issued. Plus, you may want to start a fraud claim to have the fraud charges investigated which can take up to thirty days in addition to placing a password to your account.