The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are releasing a series of new guidelines to help consumers avoid potentially fraudulent online payments.
The guidance will help consumers make more informed financial decisions about the value of their credit and credit card balances, and help ensure they are aware of possible fraud when making purchases online.
“This is a first step in addressing the increasing use of online credit card offers to make deceptive offers,” FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.
“By making sure consumers know how to spot the fraud in the offers they are receiving, we can make it more difficult for unscrupulous individuals to manipulate the value and use of credit card accounts.”
According to the FTC, there are nearly 4 billion consumer credit cards in the U.S. The vast majority of these credit cards were created by people who have no connection to the businesses or financial institutions they are borrowing from.
The agency’s guidance encourages consumers to carefully review the terms of the card before making a purchase.
If consumers don’t check these terms carefully, they may be unwittingly making purchases that may not be legitimate.
For example, some card issuers offer discounts for people who purchase a certain amount of goods and services.
This offer may be fraudulent if it is offered to people who don’t actually use the cards to make purchases.
The FTC also warns consumers that they should never open a credit card account that has been charged to a third-party without their consent.
If you have questions about how to protect yourself online, contact your credit card company.
You can also read FTC advice on protecting yourself from fraudulent transactions.