What is Credit Card Fraud?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 May 2019
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Fraud is a legal term. When someone commits fraud, he or she either purposely conceals the truth or intentionally misrepresents the facts with the goal or deceiving or manipulating and individual or a company. Credit card fraud is simply fraud involving credit cards.

Credit card fraud can occur in several ways. First, if a credit card is lost or stolen and the person in possession of the card — not the owner — uses it to make any purchases or to represent him or herself as the person named on the card, then credit card fraud has been committed. Credit card fraud may also be committed by someone who finds a credit card receipt showing the card number and signature and uses this information to make unauthorized purchases, although not in possession of the physical card. A third type of credit card fraud occurs when the holder of the card places an order and another party adds unauthorized charges to the order and has those, as well as the card holder’s purchases, covered by the card.


While one cannot guarantee that one will never be the victim of credit card fraud, there are some steps to take to help prevent it. First, one should always sign one’s credit cards as soon as they arrive, and note the account numbers, expiration dates, and contact information for the issuer so that one can make contact in the event of a stolen card. Experts recommend carrying one’s credit cards separately from one’s wallet: presumably the thought is that having one’s wallet stolen will have less of an impact. Other recommendations include saving receipts to compare with billing statements, notifying card issuers well before changing addresses, and keeping one’s card in sight during transactions.

Other advice includes thoroughly researching companies prior to giving out a credit card number and not giving out a credit card number on the phone unless one has initiated the phone call oneself. Experts urge being careful when ordering from merchants outside one’s own country. Also recommended is checking for a secure transaction — https, not just http — when placing a credit card order via the Internet. A person who suspects credit card fraud should call the card issuer as soon as any questionable charge is noted. Lost or stolen cards should also be reported to the issuer immediately.


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