credit_card_fraud_inside1.jpgHave you ever reviewed your credit card statement and seen purchases you don't remember making? You may have been the victim of credit card fraud. Fraudsters continue to find new ways to target unsuspecting customers, and one way to beat them is to stay informed and be on top of your accounts.

Here are just some of the most common fraud activities involving credit cards:

1. Lost/Stolen Cards - Cards are taken from owners and used by unauthorized third parties.

2. Skimming - The magnetic stripe of the card, which contains all your personal data, is copied, and unscrupulous parties then use your information to create another credit card.

3. Account Takeover - An unknown third party pretends to be a bank employee and calls clients to retrieve personal account information for subsequent fraud use.

4. Promo Offers - A variation of the account takeover, this is when an unknown third party pretends to be a bank employee and offers the customer a credit card upgrade or higher credit limit in exchange for surrendering the card.

More than being familiar with these unscrupulous schemes, here are 12 things you can do to make sure that these cases don't happen to you:

For more advice on protecting your safety as a consumer and a credit card user, check out these FN articles:

(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Good Money section as "Financial Fraud" in September 2008; photo by alanak via Flickr Creative Commons; adapted for use in Female Network)
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