Credit card fraud is a devastating crime that makes victims feel violated on many fronts and can take years to rectify. Unfortunately, the first quarter of 2020 experienced a marked increase in credit card fraud occurrences, 161.7 percent increase compared to the same period in 2015. This means credit card holders need to be vigilant in protecting their credit cards, credit score, and name. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

Watch Your Credit Report Carefully

Your credit report may be the first indicator that something is going wrong. Fortunately, the major three credit bureaus—Experion, Equifax, and TransUnion—are offering free weekly credit reports through April of 2021. This means you can get a credit report every week to make sure nothing suspicious is going on. This also gives you an opportunity to explore your report for outdated information and to make sure it correctly reflects your credit situation.

Don’t Become a Victim of Phone Scams

Unfortunately, scam callers are in abundant supply at the moment. They are seeking to take advantage of stimulus checks, people’s fears, and unemployment benefits by getting your credit card information. Even people pretending to be charitable organizations are only after your credit card and/or bank information. Don’t let them have it. Avoid anything resembling high pressure tactics or heavy-handed threats to get you to give out your credit card information right away.

Reconcile Charges Monthly

It’s important to keep up-to-date with your credit card statements and make sure everything on your statement is accounted for. If you have suspicious charges showing up, chances are that someone else may be using your credit card to commit fraud. Contact your credit card company right away to get to the bottom of things and identify the fraudulent charges.

Protect Your Credit Cards

Know where your credit cards are at all times and be careful with them that others do not have access to them. If cards do go missing, it is best to report the missing card to the company right away so they can cancel the card and issue a new one before a mountain of charges are racked up under your name.

Credit card fraud is not a victimless crime. The violation of this crime goes much deeper than the financial chaos it creates. Vanderburgh County Crime Victim Resources (VCCVR) understands the violation victims of this crime feel and has put together a list of resources to assist you in your recovery from credit card fraud if you become a victim. We prefer to help you protect yourself, first, however. Use these tips to help you protect yourself from credit card fraud.