WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013 — Identity theft and credit card theft is the bane of most, if not all, financial institutions. Sadly, a recent study has shown that the problem for both crimes is growing and has revealed the top credit card fraud states in the US.
A Map of Fraud
FICO, a credit scoring company, managed to collect new data about the number of identity and credit card theft and laid it out in terms of where it occurred. The data was then illustrated as a map showing which locations had an increasing or decreasing or flat rate of fraud.
Their findings revealed the top credit card fraud states in the US to usually be those in the Northeast along the eastern seaboard and those in the Southwest. A total of 20 states were found to have increased instances of fraud, among which were New York, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Nevada. On the flip side, 20 other states experienced a decline in their cases of credit card fraud and identity theft. Among these states were California, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The remaining 10 states had a flat growth rate for their fraud cases like Florida.
The discovery of 20 states belonging to the top credit card fraud states in the US is not the scariest part of this study. Rather it’s the details that you see as you dig down deeper. Fraud caused by ATM skimming dropped to 46% from 2011’s 79%. The insight behind these numbers is that criminals are starting to become savvier in their methods and have begun targeting other type of devices that can give them the information they need to commit fraud.
Protecting yourself from Fraud
We all need to take an active stand against this issue if we don’t want to become another fraud case statistic. Always take the necessary precautions when using your cards. Given that card skimming is still a very common way of committing fraud, you need to know how to guard against it. Card skimming can basically happen whenever you swipe your credit or debit card. This is done through the insertion of skimmers into card reader sleeves. Skimmers can actually look like it’s part of the actual device. So before making a swipe, try to pull on the card swiper. Should it seem loose in any way, stop and find another ATM.
Also make sure to always check your account statements and see if the transactions are accurate. Should you see anything suspicious, look into it immediately to prevent any further theft or fraud. When typing in your PIN, always remember to cover your hand as you type to keep it secret. Lastly, trust your gut. If at any point, you think that your account has been compromised, make sure that you take the time to check with your bank or whichever financial company you’re tied to. Tell them what you think and they can look into your suspicions as soon as possible.
Getting Credit in a Time of High Security
With cases of fraud on the rise, you can expect that people AND financial institutions will be increasing their security. This may make it more difficult for you to get loans or, at least, get favorable rates for loans. Keep in mind that, by Federal Law, we are entitled to get 3 credit reports for free. These reports come from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. We advise that you get your hands on these reports, look it through, and remove as many negative marks as you can. The 3 credit reports mentioned can help evaluate your credit standing through data taken from any creditors, banks, and the like. If you study it well enough, you know what exactly you can do to make your credit score better especially if you need to take out a big loan such as a mortgage loan. These 3 credit reports can be requested online once every year and can be obtained online or through snail mail.
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