Avoiding credit card fraud
Credit card fraud is a wide ranging problem with costs estimated to be seven cents per $100 worth of transactions or roughly $850 million a year and counting. It's worth noting that lost or stolen credit cards make up 43 percent of all identity theft incidents. Congregations are not immune from this activity so make sure your staff follows safety guidelines and practices.
Two basic rules to follow are:
- Always shred documents with credit/charge card numbers on them before disposal
- Be safe with your credit card when online — don't click on email links from anyone pretending to be your bank, credit card company or other business who uses your personal information, even if the email looks legitimate. These links are often phishing scams and want to trick you into entering your login information on their fake website.
It is not always possible to prevent credit card fraud from happening. But there are a few steps you can take to protect your congregation, making it more difficult for a crook to capture card information and minimize the possibility. Guarding against fraud
Here are some tips to help protect your congregation from credit card fraud.Do:
- Sign the cards as soon as they arrive.
- Keep all cards in a safe place. If your congregation’s cards are kept in your desk at work, make sure it is in a locked drawer.
- Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
- Keep an eye on your card during the transaction and get it back as quickly as possible.
- Void incorrect receipts.
- Destroy carbons.
- Save cash register receipts to compare with billing statements.
- Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
- Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
- Sometimes the credit card issuer requires you to also provide notice of a dispute with the vendor. If so, make appropriate contact and keep a record.
- Notify card companies in advance of a change of address.
- Shred expired cards.
Reporting losses and fraud
- Lend the cards to anyone.
- Leave cards or receipts lying around.
- Sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
- Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope or any other item.
- Give out the congregation account number over the phone unless you're making the call to a company you know is reputable. If you have questions about a company, check it out with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.
If you lose the congregation credit cards or if you realize they've been lost or stolen, immediately call the issuers. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. By law, once you report the loss or theft, you have no further responsibility for unauthorized charges. Make sure you keep a written record of the time and date of the call and the name of the person with whom you spoke. Ask if it is necessary to also provide a written notice of theft. In any event, your maximum liability under federal law is $50 per card.
If you suspect fraud, you may be asked to sign a statement under oath indicating that you did not make the purchase in question.