Some ways to avoid trouble as credit card fraud grows


With more than 600 million credit cards in circulation %o worldwide, credit card fraud has hit record levels.

The industry lost more than $1.5 billion to fraud last year, about 50 percent of it in the United States, says MasterCard International.

Almost half the fraud was traced to lost or stolen cards, but telephone-related scams also loomed large. In fact, about one in three Americans has fallen prey to an illegal phone scam, according to a survey by Consumer Protection Network.

you have been victimized, report the incident as quickly as possible. Most credit card companies will limit your financial liability if the incident is reported promptly.

Here are some other tips:

Destroy credit card bills before discarding them. Thieves sometimes rummage through trash in search of credit card numbers.

* When paying by check, never let a merchant copy your credicard number as proof of identification. A merchant can, however, note the type of card and expiration date.

* Never give your credit card number to a telephone solicitor.

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