Stealing your credit card
fraud - One of the
easiest ways for criminals to commit fraud is by stealing credit
card numbers and using them for a short period.
That may not sound like the easiest thing to do because
your credit card never leaves your wallet. You would know it if your card was missing for even a day or
so. But still, itís
easier than you think.
When was the
last time you were at a restaurant or grocery store and used your
credit card? If you
are like most people, itís probably been within the last couple
of days. Have you
ever looked at the receipt you sign?
In many cases, the full
credit card number, expiration
date, and your full name is on the card.
Thatís all the information most thieves need.
If you have an one of a kind name, live in the same town as
the restaurant, and are in the phone directory, the thief now has
your address and phone number.
The next step
for many criminals is the computer and an online connection.
Any connection will do.
There are thousands of websites where people can download
music, purchase downloadable software, and then thereís the porn
sites. The average
thief knows that he has perhaps 30-40 days of potential use on
that card though you can bet that in most cases, the card has been
maxed out in a day or two.
Improving credit card security
There are many
things that credit card companies, merchants, banks, developers,
software companies, and ISPís are doing to help stop this kind
of fraud. Users are
often required to give very specific information, new codes are
being added to credit cards, credit card usage patterns are
monitored, and many companies are now tracking users through the
use of IP addresses.
also starting to use machines that donít show the entire number
on the receipt, only part of it. Other companies are using digital signature pads that donít
leave a number behind where an employee might be tempted.
This wonít be
enough to stop credit card hijackers but it may help knock some of
the amateurs out or at least help catch them.
There are some things though that consumers can do to help
reduce the fraud.
First, take a
look at your credit card slips each time you sign one.
If the business is using a receipt method that shows your
full account number, tell them that youíd like them to change to
one that doesnít.
your monthly statements and look at each transaction.
If you donít remember making that transaction, question
it. If you didnít
make the transaction, let the credit card company know regardless
of the amount.
that have your account information on them should be shredded
before being tossed. Garbage
pickers wonít be able to get your private information if your
papers are properly disposed of.
your card number is stolen
your credit card or credit card number has been stolen, you are
protected by Federal law as long as you report the information
when you learn about it. If you don't report it, you may be
liable for the entire bill.
you learn about the theft, the first place you should call is your
credit card company. They will put an immediate halt on the
credit card so that it cannot be processed anymore. This can
happen in a matter of seconds. They will then contact the
authorities and provide them with any available information to
catch the thief and send you a new credit card.