Credit Card Fraud


Nationwide, the cost of credit card theft and fraud is well into the billions of dollars each year. Ohio University and the City of Athens are not isolated from this problem. Every year the Ohio University Police Department investigates numerous reports of stolen credit cards and fraudulent charges. Here are a few things you should know to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of credit card theft and fraud.

  1. If you believe that your credit card was lost or stolen, or you have charges that you did not make, contact your credit card company and the police immediately. The faster the reporting, the better the chance for credit card companies and the police to prevent any more charges and apprehend the thief.
  2. Never leave your wallet or purse unattended. It only takes a few seconds for someone to take them. Always remember to lock your residence hall room, house and car when leaving, even if it's only for a few minutes. Only carry the cards when you know you're going to need them; otherwise, keep them stored in a secured place.
  3. Sign your new card as soon as it arrives. Signature verification is one of the best weapons against fraud. If a criminal signs your card in his or her handwriting, he or she will have no trouble using it.
  4. Always keep your charge receipts so you can compare them with your monthly statements. Also remember to destroy any carbons you may receive at the time of transaction. Make the merchant destroy the carbons in front of you.
  5. Never release your account number, expiration date, or personal information over the phone without verifying the caller's identity. Offer to callback -- look up the number yourself, it is often on the back of the card.  Legitimate companies will not mind. If the caller hedges, you have reason to be suspicious.
  6. Review your monthly statements immediately and report any charges you do not recognize to your credit card company. The faster an unauthorized charge gets reported, the better the chance of minimizing additional losses. Quick reporting of thefts to police greatly helps the investigation and the chances of catching the thief.
  7. Memorize your PIN (Personal Identification Number). DO not carry your PIN in your wallet. Do not write the PIN on your card or on a piece of paper.The PIN will allow a thief to gain unlimited access to bank machines around the world.
  8. When using your card, watch to be sure that it is not being "skimmed." Sometimes people will carry their own credit card scanners, and will run your card through their machine before the stores, collecting your credit card information to be used later.
  9. When a merchant returns your card to you, make sure that it is your card. Mistakes can happen, and cards get switched. The person who gets your card may not be as honest as you.
  10. Avoid signing blank charge receipts. Always insist that the exact amount be entered on the receipt before you sign. Always sign your receipts with an ink pen.

If your credit card is stolen on campus, report it immediately to the Ohio University Police Department, 740-593-1911, located at 135 Scott Quad. Off-campus, report to the police agency with jurisdiction. If you're not sure where the card was stolen from, report it to OUPD and we can make the determination.