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It may seem second nature to give your credit card number over the phone.
But whether it's because you are making a purchase or just simply verifying card information for the person on the other line, it's worth taking some precautions beforehand.
Below, CNBC Select reviews the four tips you should consider when providing your credit card number over the phone.
There's a reason why businesses often add on a convenience fee to your purchase when you make it over the phone. For them, there's higher risk that the consumer on the other end is a fraudster using a stolen credit card, and it's harder to verify your identity when you are face-to-face at the cashier checkout.
But as the consumer, you should have ways to protect yourself as well. Here are some things to consider before and after you give your credit card number over the phone.
- Unless you initiated the phone call, never give out your credit card number: This may seem like common sense, but it can happen all too easily and quickly. No matter how legitimate the call may seem, you should verify who the caller is and, if you want, hang up and call that organization back to see if they did in fact call you.
- Find a private space to make your call: When you do make a call and are expecting to provide your credit card number over the phone, go to a private area where no one can overhear you. If you are in a public space and can't find a quiet area, wait it out or see if you can instead transact the purchase online. Check out CNBC Select's tips for safely using your credit card online here.
- Have the merchant confirm your purchase at the end of the call: Before hanging up, have the merchant on the other end confirm the amount of your purchase. When booking a reservation with your credit card over the phone, have the merchant read back to you the itinerary, such as when booking airfare or a hotel stay.
- Review the charges on your account immediately after: It's smart to habitually review your credit card charges, but even more so after you've given your credit card number over the phone. Make sure you look over your account to see your purchase was charged properly and that there are no unrecognizable transactions.
The first step you should take when you see an unfamiliar charge on your credit card account is to immediately call your card issuer so you aren't responsible for it. Credit card transactions that you make over the phone have the same protection as those you make online or in person at a store. The law limits cardholders' liability to $50 under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) for any unauthorized transactions on your account so you will want to make sure you report them.
Cardholders of the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, rated our best cash-back credit card, receive Visa's $0 fraud liability guarantee. Likewise, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, rated our best grocery rewards credit card, offers fraud protection on top of zero liability.
Many of the best credit cards offer security in times of unusually high concern like the current coronavirus pandemic. And currently the three main credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — are offering free weekly credit reports to American consumers. You can access yours at AnnualCreditReport.com through April 2021.
Information about the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
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