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Credit Security / Fraud
 ASAP Credit Card - Copyright © 2007
    Security Basics-- Things you can do
    What if there are errors on my credit card bill?
    What if my credit card is lost or stolen?
    Cybershopping-- Protect yourself online
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Security Basics-- Things you can do

  • To protect yourself against loss or theft of credit, sign your credit card immediately so no one else can use it. File the papers that came with your card in a safe place.

  • Always protect your credit cards as if they were cash. Just like cash, credit card numbers can be stolen.

  • If your credit card has a PIN (personal identification number), do not keep your PIN with your credit card. File the PIN separately.

  • Keep your account number to yourself. Give your credit card number or expiration date over the telephone only if you know you are dealing with a reputable company.

  • Never put your account number on the outside of an envelope or on a postcard.

  • Draw a line through blank spaces on charge slips above the total so the amount cannot be changed.

  • Keep copies of sales slips and compare charges when your monthly statements arrive. If you see any questionable charges or errors, you must report these, in writing, to the card issuer, within 60 days.

  • Make a record of your credit card numbers, their expiration dates, and the telephone number for each credit card company in case of an emergency such as reporting lost cards.

  • Carry only those credit cards you regularly need, especially when traveling.

  • Never give out additional personal information when you use your card for purchases. Merchants cannot ask for a driver's license number or phone number as a condition for accepting your card. All that's required is your signature.

  • Never use a credit card as personal identification. Your credit privileges and history are too precious to risk.

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Errors on your credit card bill

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you are protected whether you use your card online, over the phone, through the mail, in person or at a store. If you find any questionable charges or billing errors on your monthly credit or charge card statement, you may dispute the item and provided you follow the guidelines for resolving a dispute you may withhold payment for that amount while the issue is being researched. The issue might be a charge for the wrong amount, for something you didn't accept, or for a product or service that wasn't provided. To dispute a charge on your credit card:

  • Write to the creditor and include your name, address, credit card number, and a description of the billing error. Look for instructions on the back of your billing statement.
  • Send your letter as soon as possible. You must notify the card issuer in writing within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you. In your letter, include your name and account number, the amount of the error, and the reason you believe there is an error. The card issuer will then investigate the problem and either correct it or explain why the original bill was correct. The issuer's response must occur within two billing cycles but no later than 90 days after the issuer receives your billing error notice. Although you do not have to pay the amount in question during the investigation, you are still responsible for payment on the remaining balance.

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Stolen Credit Card

If your credit card is used without your authorization, the most you can be held liable for is $50 per card. Many credit card issuers offer a "Zero Liability" policy, which removes your obligation to pay for any charges. But different issuers have different policies. Either way, if you report the loss of a card before it is used, the credit card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges.

It is important to safeguard your cards and account numbers, and to review your statements promptly. If you suspect unauthorized activity on your account, or if your card is lost or stolen, contact the financial institution that issued the card as soon as possible.

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Cybershopping—Protect yourself online

Whether you're interested in computer software or compact discs, online shopping can give new meaning to convenience and choice. Should you decide to pay by credit card, your online transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act just as other transactions. But before you visit your favorite online store, take care to make your cybershopping experience safe. Security is a must and begins with your connection and your browser. Unsecured information sent over the Internet can be intercepted. That's why a secure browser—one that encrypts or scrambles purchase information—is important.

If you're unsure if your browser is secure, check with your Internet service provider. When you're ready to make an online purchase, pay close attention to the information you need to enter. Be cautious if you're asked to supply personal information such as your Social Security number or your mother's maiden name. If you have any doubts, cancel your order immediately.

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  Other Sections:
  Credit Basics: Learn about the basics of credit and it's effect torwards your future!
  Establish Credit: Learn how to get your credit started and improve your finances!
  Maintain Credit: Keep your credit and finances on the right track and avoid pitfalls!
  Credit Reports: Everything you need to know about credit reports and credit scores!
  Credit Resources: Find other helpful credit resources to assist you with your finances!

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