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Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a booming business and thieves are getting away with millions of dollars annually. A thief does not have to steal your credit card or rifle through your trash to get account numbers. Any time you use your credit card you are making your account number available to everyone who is involved in the transaction, from the sales clerk to the billing staff of the creditor.

Stealing your information is fairly easy. Be aware at all times and reduce the risk. Thieves obtain your information through methods such as:
Card swapping at ATM’s

  • Theft – often out of motor vehicles or houses, purses and wallets at crowed locations
  • Skimming - Skimming is a process where the data from a card's magnetic strip is electronically copied onto another card. This can happen in restaurants and shops - you hand over your card and a replica card is produced and used,
  • E-mails purporting to come from the credit card service provider (Phishing)
  • Bogus Internet web sites
  • Dumpster diving- make sure all mail with credit offers, catalogues, bank information etc. are thoroughly destroyed before you throw them in the trash
  • Fake ATM’s a new and creative con. Use only ATM locations that you know or use a local merchant or grocery store.

How To Help Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Protect yourself by being aware. Credit card fraud comes in many forms generally through carelessness. Take these steps to help reduce the possibility of fraud, or theft.

  • Never leave cards or receipts lying around.
  • Destroy all carbons and incorrect receipts.
  • Destroy expired cards.
  • Never sign blank receipts.
  • Keep a record of your card numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone numbers and addresses of each creditor, in a secure place.
  • Report any questionable charges to the card issuer promptly and in writing.
  • Never give your account numbers over the phone, unless you are initiating a transaction with a company you know is reputable.
  • Sign credit cards, in ink, as soon as they arrive.
  • Save receipts to compare with your billing statements.
  • Instruct everyone who is authorized to use your account to take the above precautions
  • Shred all pre-approved credit offers and any related mail before throwing it away
  • Shred anything with your name, address, phone, social security number or other identifying features on it.

The electronic age is making thieves even more creative. Watch for “Phishing” what these thieves are doing is fishing for people who aren’t paying attention and will give them private financial information over the internet. The emails look official even to logo and links BUT DO NOT ever give your information to a link (even one you think you know) that has come in an e mail. Always retrieve the link from your browser or type it in yourself. If you get e mails from Pay Pal or EBAY and you suspect they are phishing forward those emails to or They will investigate and email you in return. If you bank online your bank probably has similar security set up and generally they will only send messages from inside your account when you are signed on.

If your credit card is lost or stolen, contact your bank or issuing institution immediately. The most you will have to pay for unauthorized charges is $50 on each account. But this can add up if several cards are lost or stolen at the same time.
If you find unauthorized charges on your statement, simply contact your card company and set a dispute in action. The Fair Credit Billing Act, an addition to the Truth-in-Lending law, makes sure that you have the right. You must notify them before 60 days and they must investigate and give you the results.

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