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'Money: It's Personal' — Tips on how to prevent credit card fraud at the register

SAN ANTONIO – Nowadays, you can't be too careful when it comes to protecting your personal and financial information online, but what about safeguarding your information when you're at the store?

Picture this: Molly received a store credit card in the mail, even though she refused an offer to apply for it at the store.

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Confused as to how this happened, she and many other older customers who went through the same experience contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate.

The CFPB says it's likely these consumers may have shared their personal information, including their Social Security number, without knowing a cashier could use that information to open a store card without permission.

It can be a scary situation, so the CFPB is offering tips on how to avoid this type of fraud.

First, never share your Social Security number with a clerk or bank teller unless you want to apply for a new credit card.

If you received a physical card in the mail, like Molly, cancel the card immediately and explain the situation to the credit card company in order for it to investigate.

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Next, report the situation to the three credit bureaus, which are Equifax, Transunion and Experian.

Remember: you're entitled to a free credit report every 12 months, so the CFPB says it's a good idea to request one every year to look for any fraudulent activity.

Lastly, you can place a fraud alert on your credit report through the credit bureaus or freeze your credit to prevent anyone from opening a new credit account under your name.

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Don't forget you can submit a complaint with the CFPB if this happens to you.

For more information from the CFPB, click here.

“Money: It’s Personal” is a series on KSAT’s News at 9 that breaks down personal finance topics. If you have a suggestion or question on the types of topics you'd like us to explain, click here.

For more stories from KSAT's News at 9, visit KSAT.com/newsat9.


About the Authors:

Ivan Herrera

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio for three years. With the creation of the News at 9 digital newscast and using his graduate education in business, he developed "Money: It's Personal," a weekly series that breaks down personal finance topics. Before living in SA, Ivan covered border news in the Rio Grande Valley.