University of Florida

Protect Your Money & Credit

ID theft and credit card fraud are, unfortunately, increasingly more common problems. Protect yourself with these tips.

How to Use Your Credit Card Safely

  • Never give your credit card number over the phone, unless you initiated the call.
  • Avoid losing track of your credit card.
  • Always check to make sure you receive your card back after you use it for a purchase.
  • Never sign a receipt with blank spaces in it.
  • Always check your receipt before signing it.
  • Make sure the correct total is clearly printed on the receipt.
  • Request your carbons, if any, or watch while the salesperson tears them in small pieces.
  • Cut up cards you no longer use into little pieces.
  • Never throw a credit card away or mail it back to the company in one piece. If you mail a credit card back to the company, cut it up and keep one piece with numbers. This makes it impossible for someone to steal your number.
  • Keep all the charge slips and check them against your bill.
  • If you find a mistake on your bill, write the company.
  • Make sure the machine-coded number often in the upper right corner of your receipt matches the number written in the total slot.

What to Do If You Lose a Card

  • Report the loss at once.
  • Telephone the credit card company and give your name, address, and account number.
  • Make a note of the date and time you called and the person you talked with. Ask for mailing address.
  • Follow up with a letter giving the same information as above. Send it registered mail, return receipt requested. This provides a dated signature record that your letter arrived.
  • Keep the telephone bill, showing the long distance call to the company, if any. This will also provides proof of the date and time you called.
  • Know that when the company gets the information that your card was lost, you are no longer responsible for any unauthorized charges made on the card.
  • Keep all the information in your home business file.
Excerpted and adapted from:

Credit Card Safety (FCS7149) by Nayda l. Torres. Published by: Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (rev. 12/2005).

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