Using Your Credit Card By Phone

©2008 Kenneth M. Smith

Card transactions often take place by phone. This is also a common way for fraudsters to try to rip you off. A few tips to help protect you:

1. Never give your card number to anyone by phone when they have called you. Even if you feel that it's legitimate, just don't do it! Someone calling you to ask for your card number is a little suspicious, but it does sometimes happen for valid reasons. Take down their name and phone number, confirm that they are for real, and call them back if it's appropriate.

2. Avoid giving your card security code, known as the Card Verification Value (CVV), over the phone. This number is only intended to be entered into a computer as a way to confirm that you do have the card with you. If you are giving this number to someone by phone, there is a good chance that they are writing it down or typing it into a database. Neither of these should be done by any merchant.

3. Use a secure phone line. Sniffing and eavesdropping of telephone conversations is possible, especially with wireless devices. If you are using an older 'cordless' phone or cell phone, there is a good chance that someone could listen in on your conversations using equipment that can be readily purchased at electronics stores.

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