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If you activate your card online -- an option offered by an increasing number of banks -- you'll need to log into your online banking account; that, in itself, can serve as another way to authenticate that you're the rightful owner of the credit card.
However, even those safety measures won't keep a new card secure from sophisticated thieves, says Stevenson.
Even imitating your phone number is relatively simple with a voice-over IP box.
So how do you keep that new card fraud-free and make the activation process as smooth as possible?
Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.Still others, reluctant to slow down a dedicated shopper, will allow a handful of purchases before you're forced to activate."In the card world, there's a lot of issuer discretion, so this is one of those things where there's no hard and fast rule," says Peter Ho, product manager for card services and consumer lending at Wells Fargo."Although people think that stealing stuff out of a mailbox is an arcane way of identity theft, actual physical theft is still one of the largest categories of how IDs get stolen." And these days, it's easier than ever.A potential crook just has to rifle through your mail, grab the envelope with a credit card -- easy to identify because they come in similar envelopes, usually from a processing center, and you can feel the card inside -- and activate the card.
For most consumers, it's a familiar process: A new credit card arrives in your mailbox, you open the envelope, and the card bears a sticker reading, "Please call from your home phone to activate your card." Until then, your brand new credit card is as useless as a paperweight -- and just as secure, right? The startling truth is that while some unactivated cards are automatically declined, many others sail through a purchase without a hitch.