If you’ve fallen victim to credit card fraud, you’re far from alone. There were nearly 400,000 reports of credit card fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, a number that grew 44{8e7d489aa24518f4f31dc3b93526e2513276ec9457615114b76a5a45825e23b8} from 2019 to 2020.

The key to minimizing the damage of this insidious crime is to detect it early and act immediately. The right moves can even help you avoid becoming a victim altogether. For example, if you’re a business taking a loan, you can avoid being scammed by reading a few reviews about online business loans and verifying if the firm is actually legit.

Here are some tips from luminablog.co.uk on how to protect yourself from credit card fraud and recover as quickly as possible if it does happen.

Contact the Card Issuer

Upon learning of the fraud, immediately contact the card issuer, who will cancel and replace your card, thereby stopping any further fraudulent use. Once contacted in a timely fashion, the card issuer will absolve you of liability for any further use of the card.

Federal law limits your liability to $50 if you report the fraud within two business days after it comes to your attention. The maximum liability increases to $500 if you wait longer than two business days to make the report. If you delay 60 days without speaking to the card issuer, you may be responsible for all fraudulent losses.

Request a Fraud Alert

Requesting a fraud alert is critically important in order to limit further damage after your credit card was used fraudulently. A fraud alert makes it harder for the fraudsters to create new bank or credit card accounts under your identity. Once in place, a fraud alert will red-flag your account to credit issuers, including gas stations and department stores, warning them to request supplementary proof of identity.

If you become a victim of fraud or identity theft, immediately call one of the three bureaus and also order free copies of your credit reports. You only need to call one of the credit bureaus for a fraud alert, as that bureau will automatically alert the other two.

Request a Credit Freeze for Extra Protection

If you need extra protection because your card was defrauded or your identity was stolen, you can request a credit freeze instead of a fraud alert. The freeze allows you to curb access to your credit reports, which helps prevent fraudsters from discovering your other accounts and credit cards.

You have to request a separate credit freeze from each of the three credit bureaus, and you may have to pay fees. Each bureau will provide you with a password or PIN that you can later use to terminate the credit freeze.

Check Your Online Shopping Accounts

Nowadays, it’s fairly common for online shopping websites to let you save your card information for future purchases. Even if you’re protected by your credit card company’s “zero liability policy,” it’s important to make sure your online shopping accounts haven’t been compromised.

Remove the compromised card in case your online shopping account is no longer secure, and change those passwords as well.

Bottom Line

While anybody can be a victim of credit card fraud, nobody has to have their life or even day ruined because of it. These tips can help you stay on top of all your credit card activity, which is a great weapon to tackle credit card fraud.

As we continue to use credit cards more and more, credit card fraud will surely continue. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this fight. You can rest easier knowing there are plenty of tools to help you if you’re ever a victim. Of course, you can also help yourself by keeping your accounts secure with strong passwords and regular monitoring.