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Safeguard credit card accounts

Credit card fraud happens every day. It's invasive and a hassle to correct. For these reasons and more, it's in your best interest to prevent credit card fraud before it happens. Here, take a moment to learn about the warning signs that your credit card information has been compromised, as well as next steps.

What Is It?

Credit card fraud is on the rise as thieves become more sophisticated and consumers become more reliant on using their credit cards. When your credit card number and account information are compromised and used by an unauthorized individual, you have experienced credit card fraud. The best weapon against card fraud is to be educated about the warning signs and best practices in card fraud prevention. If you think your credit or debit card has been compromised, contact Columbia Bank at once.

Red Flags

Your credit or debit card information can be compromised in a variety of ways. Perhaps your new card was stolen from your mailbox, or perhaps you used an ATM that had a skimmer attached to it. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the most common red flags associated with card fraud:

  • You have experienced home or auto theft.
  • You notice unexplained transactions on your monthly statement.
  • Your mail, wallet or purse has been stolen.
  • You receive email or text notifications of purchases that you didn’t authorize.

Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

  • Sign your new credit and debit cards on the signature panel immediately.
  • Don't give out your credit card number(s) online unless the site is secure and is reputable. Look for a tiny icon of a padlock on the bottom of the page that denotes a higher level of security to transmit data. The presence of the padlock is not a guarantee of a secure site, but might provide you some assurance.
  • Protect your cards as if they were cash—never leave your card unattended and always make sure your card is returned after every purchase.
  • Never leave your credit or debit cards in your car. An alarmingly high proportion of credit and debit cards are stolen from cars.
  • Report lost or stolen cards to Columbia Bank immediately!
  • When selecting your PIN, always avoid the obvious—your name, phone number, date of birth or any simple combination thereof.
  • Dispose properly of receipts from using an ATM and credit or debit cards.
  • Keep a list of credit card and financial account numbers, including telephone contact numbers, in a secure place.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings—people and places—when using an ATM.

If You Have Experienced Credit Card Fraud

Contact All Creditors
Do this by phone and in writing (save copies of the letters) to be sure they are properly informed. This includes: the power company, phone company, garbage collection, cable or satellite television provider, Internet provider, landlord, mortgage company, credit card issuer, etc. Contact anyone you pay a bill to or obtain a service from. Wherever possible ask to speak to the company's fraud department. They may advise you to close your account(s) and open a new one(s). Be sure to ask your bank what their procedures are for re-establishing account relationships in cases where automatic payment was being used.

Contact the Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies
Contact the fraud department at each agency to report the identity theft. Ask for a "Fraud Alert Victim Impact" statement to be placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts. (Each agency will need the police report/case number to activate the fraud alert.) Request that a copy of your credit report be sent to you.

Monitor Your Accounts
Keep a close eye on all of your accounts and watch for unauthorized or suspicious transactions.

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