Consumer Safety Tips (Credit Card Do’s & Don’ts)

A credit card provides a convenient, secure way to shop, budget and manage your financial resources. You can use your card to make purchases, manage your day-to-day cash flow through cash advances and to access personal accounts through online services and Automated Banking Machines (ABMs).

When you use a credit card for everyday purchases, you don't need to carry a large amount of cash or provide the additional methods of identification necessary to pay with a cheque. In addition, a credit card is virtually the only way to make online purchases.

It is vital that you guard your credit card. Here are some safety tips to minimize the chance of becoming the victim of credit card fraud.

  • DO

    • Sign the back of your credit card as soon as you receive it.
    • Call to activate your new credit card as soon as you receive it.
    • Keep all your receipts and promptly reconcile your receipts to the charges on your credit card statement.
    • Call Mastercard at 1-800-MC-ASSIST immediately if you do not recognize a charge on your statement.
    • Store your card in a secure place where you will immediately know if your card is lost or stolen.
    • Call Mastercard at 1-800-MC-ASSIST immediately when you notice your card is lost or stolen.
    • Keep a close eye on your mail delivery when you are expecting a new or replacement card.
    • When you receive a new credit card, cut up the old one before you throw it away.
    • Treat your credit card like cash, never leaving it unattended.
    • Draw a line through any blank spaces on credit slips when paying with your credit card at places such as restaurants or retailers.
    • Keep you eye on your credit card during transactions and ensure that your credit card has been returned to you.
    • Take all receipts and carbon copies home with you, such as those from ABM machines, self-service gasoline pumps and restaurants. Destroy receipts by tearing them up or shredding them before throwing away.
    • Keep a record of all your credit card account numbers in a secure place.
    • Carry your credit card number and the toll-free customer service number on the back of your card in a secure place, separate from the card when travelling.
    • Memorize your PIN.
  • DON'T

    • Never lend your card to anyone.
    • When disposing of old receipts and statements, don't use public waste receptacles.
    • When you initiate a call, it is generally safe to give you credit card number over the telephone. But don't give your credit card number to someone calling you on the telephone, even if the caller assures you that you will win a prize or an award.
    • Never write or allow a retailer to write your credit card number on a cheque for identification purposes.
    • Don't make purchases from online retailers you're unfamiliar with or who maintain a site that isn't secure. If you're unsure contract the Better Business Bureau.
    • Never share your PIN with anyone.
    • Never carry your PIN in your wallet or purse.
    • Never let anyone see you input your PIN.
    • Never use a PIN that could be guessed, like your SIN or a birthday or anniversary date.
    • Never leave your card unattended.