The Danger of Casually Using Your Credit Cards

The Danger of Casually Using Your Credit Cards

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In today’s fast-paced business and personal environments, there are definite dangers to casually using your credit cards. Whether you use your charge cards primarily for purchasing personal items and bill-paying or to meet expenses as owner-operator of a small business enterprise, you should take precautions to keep your identity and accounts safe from fraud. Especially since many merchants now accept credit card numbers and charges by mobile phone apps, it is easier for observant thieves and skillful hackers to steal card numbers and valuable related information. 

How can I best protect my charge cards and identity? 

1. Always Be Aware of Unusual Activity or Distractions. – When using your credit cards to make purchases in stores, restaurants and other public places, be aware of any unusual or suspicious activity around you. Especially in crowded stores and transportation hubs, identity thieves often prey on consumers who seem distracted, preoccupied or overly relaxed. Not only will they attempt to steal bags, purses or backpacks—many times they use mobile digital devices to obtain credit card data and personal information from unassuming shoppers and travelers. 

2. Use Your Charge Cards with Care in Restaurants. – In restaurants and food malls, use your credit cards responsibly. Never leave your card casually on a bar or food counter while engrossed in conversation with others. In addition, do not leave your credit card clearly visible on your table in a restaurant when stepping away to greet friends or to talk on your cell phone in a quieter area. 

3. Exercise Caution When Making Online Payments and Purchases. – Although many people now feel it is safer to pay bills and make purchases via the Internet or by text messaging than it is to send charge card information by first class (snail) mail, be sure to take care when doing so. Whether you bank online to pay bills or make your payments on company websites, either use your own personal computer or a shared computer on which your individual log-in information is secured. 

4. Do Not Share Your Credit Cards Casually with Friends. – It is best not to share use of your credit cards or charge card numbers with friends, especially to pay for meals or casual socializing or partying. If you do want to extend charging privileges on your card to include a family member or a close, trusted friend, you should obtain a second card on your account for this person to use. The more people who have access to your charge card information, the more likely you are to experience identity theft and fraud. 

What measures should I use to protect my credit cards and those of others in business settings?

1. Never Become Careless with Credit Cards Used for Business. – If you work for a busy retail sales concern or mail order business, you may be processing payments for merchandise and services on many different customer charge cards each day. Most responsible sales companies stress the necessity for protecting the credit identities and personal information of clients throughout mandatory training sessions. However, especially during hectic shopping hours and seasons, even the best-intentioned sales rep can accidentally leave charge card information visible on a computer terminal or purchase order log. Always remind yourself when working in sales to safeguard the identities of all customers and clients. 

2. Be Careful with Your Own Charge Cards When Working in a Sales Capacity. – Many people who work regularly in sales positions are protective of the personal identities of customers, yet they neglect to protect their own credit card data. Most sales clerks and representatives purchase the same merchandise they are familiar with selling from time to time, especially since many sales companies offer discounts to their employees. However, many employees are somewhat more casual about their own credit card usage while at work once they become accustomed to their work environments. Because they are relaxed with use of their own credit identities, credit card fraud can occur when and where they least expect it. 

3. Business Accounting Departments Can Be Subject to Identity Theft. – Accounts receivable and accounts payable departments in business must always be on guard against ID theft and fraud when sales executives and reps place orders using their business expense accounts and charge cards. These card numbers can be easily confused or interchanged—either by intention, or purely by mistake. When working in such an accounting department, always take care to keep all credit identity data secure and well directed to processing the correct transactions. 

In both personal and business situations today, it is essential to safeguard credit information and identities when purchases and charges are make. Especially since new advancements in digital technology are being introduced every day, both business staffing and consumers must exercise caution to prevent identity fraud from casual use of credit cards.

Blair Thomas is the co-founder of The High Risk Guys powered by emerchantbroker.com in Los Angeles, CA. He has been in the electronic payments industry for over 10+ years.  When he is not running his business he spends his time writing and producing music, which has been featured in a variety of films.

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