Protect yourself against credit card fraud

Credit card fraud is a growing problem in the UK. Although it's very hard to prevent altogether, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to minimise your chances of falling victim to credit card fraud. For further advice, speak to your bank or your card provider.

Keep a close eye on your statements: Check your credit card statement as often as possible. If you have an online account (a good idea for keeping track of purchases and making payments), check your statement twice a week for any suspicious charges.

Cancel any credit cards that you no longer use: Just because you've stopped using a card doesn't mean that it's no longer active. Contact your card provider and ask them to close your account altogether. A significant proportion of credit card fraud occurs on cards that are disused by their owners.

Look after paper statements and letters: A simple rule of thumb is to shred any paper waste that has your name on it. Be particularly careful with statements, household bills and other letters that contain your personal information. Consider signing up to 100% online banking to minimise the amount of sensitive documents you receive via post.

Look after your passwords and PINs: Make sure that you choose a "strong" password (one that is at least eight digits long and contains a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols) and don't choose predictable passwords or PIN numbers (like 0000, 1234, your date of birth etc.). Change your passwords every three months.

Look for secure websites: When making online transactions, ensure that you only enter your card details into secure sites (ones that have a green URL bar or display a small padlock icon in the taskbar).

Don't let your credit card out of your sight: Always accompany it to the till in restaurants or ask the waiter to leave it with you while they bring you the card reader. A lot of credit card fraud occurs as a result of skimmed cards or copied details.

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