Fine dining should be just that: a wonderful experience where you enjoy delectable foods. But memories of that evening can be wrecked if someone misuses or steals your credit card number or other information. How does that happen? More importantly how can you prevent a crime from taking place? By following several simple tips every time you dine out and use a credit card, you can avoid being victimized by credit card fraud.
One way that thieves obtain your credit card information is to find carbon copies of your receipts in the trash with your name, credit card number and signature on them. Most retailers including restaurants no longer deal with carbon, but if you suspect that your restaurant does, ask for the carbon copy too. Take it with you and then shred it at home.
Some diners don't complete their restaurant receipts or fail to inspect them later for abuse. Dishonest wait staff will sometimes scratch out the tip amount you wrote and fill it in with a higher amount. Changing a 3 to an 8 is an easy thing to do and something you may not notice when your tip was initially $23.
Examine your monthly credit card statements closely; keep your restaurant receipts handy and compare that information before destroying them. Contact the restaurant if you suspect fraud, speak with the manager not your wait person. You may have uncovered a widespread problem that will lead to prosecution. Notify your credit card provider as well.
Restaurant employees aren't the only ones you need to worry about. In crowded restaurants where privacy is virtually non-existent, you may end up dining right next to someone who is interested in something besides the food in front of them: your credit card. Fraud can take place if you don't safeguard your card when you remove it from your wallet to give to restaurant staff. Make sure that the only eyes looking at your card are those that you authorize. A credit card skimmer can quickly record your information without your knowledge.
If you're worried about your restaurant receipt being doctored or other credit card fraud perpetuated, then there is one option worth taking: pay cash. Yes, greenbacks are still a desirable way to pay for your meal without worrying that someone will hijack your personal information. Avoid an epicurean nightmare by flashing cash, not your credit card.