Thursday, March 03, 2005

Important Information - Credit Card Number Theft

In our materialistic and increasingly amoral society, it is unsurprising that the unscrupulous will discover more and more ways to steal your identity. (I've considered writing a book about identity theft because unlike nearly all of what I am currently writing, it might sell. But that's for another post.) This seems important enough to drop in here. It comes courtesy of Rachel L.

I had not heard about the one of expired cards being switched with your own card. A very clever way to steal yours! r

This is really good info ? some I have been aware of and some not; i.e., card switching and using cell phones to take pictures of the card at the register (even by the store employee).

Also, now we can add the new scam I saw on TV news last night ? They have small, hand-held scanners that can capture your credit card number. So, I will never let my credit card out of my sight (I?ll take cash to a restaurant).


Subject: Credit card Info.

SCENE 1 A friend went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the
locker. After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker
open, and thought to himself, "Funny, I thought I locked the locker. Hmmmmm."
He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order.

Everything looked okay -- all cards were in place. A few weeks later his
credit card bill came -- a whooping bill of $14.000! He called the
credit card company and started yelling at them, saying that he did not make
the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake
in the system and asked if his card had been stolen. "No," he said, but
then took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and yep - you
guessed it -- a switch had been made. An expired similar credit card
from the same bank was in the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the
gym and switched cards. Verdict: The credit card issuer said since he
did not report the card missing earlier, he would have to pay the amount
owed to them. How much did he have to pay for items he did not buy? $9,000!
Why were there no calls made to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts
rarely trigger a "warning bell" with some credit card companies. It just so
happens that all the small amounts added up to big one!

SCENE 2 A man at a local restaurant paid for his meal with his credit
card. The bill for the meal came, he signed it, and the waitress folded
the receipt and passed the credit card along. Usually, he would just
take it and place it in his wallet or pocket. Funny enough, though, he
actually took a look at the card and, lo and behold, it was the expired card of
another person. He called the waitress and she looked perplexed. She
took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the counter under the watchful
eye of the man. All the waitress did while walking to the counter was
wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the counter cashier
immediately looked down and took out the real card. No exchange of words
- nothing! She took it and came back to the man with an apology. Verdict:
Make sure the credit cards in your wallet at yours. Check the name on
the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is taken away for
even a short period of time. Many people just take back the credit card
without even looking at it, thinking that it has to be theirs. FOR YOUR

SCENE 3 Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order
that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of course, is
linked directly to my checking account. The young man behind the counter
took my card, swiped it, then laid it flat on the counter as he waited
for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure. While he waited, he
picked up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone
because it is the same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Then I heard a click that sounded like my phone sounds when I take a picture.
He then gave me back my card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was
still pressing buttons. Meanwhile, I'm thinking: I wonder what he is
taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. It then
dawned on me: the only thing there was was my credit card, so now I'm paying
close attention to what he is doing. He set his phone on the counter,
leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard the chime that tells
you that the picture has been saved. Now I'm standing there struggling
with the fact that this boy just took a picture of my credit card. Yes,
he played it off well, because had we not had the same kind of phone, I
probably would never have known what happened. Needless to say, I
immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor.

All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever
you are using your credit cards, take caution and don't be careless.
Notice who is standing near you and what they are doing when you use
your card. Be aware of phones because many have a camera phone these days.
When you are in a restaurant and the waiter/waitress brings your card and
receipt for you to sign, make sure you scratch the number off. Some
restaurants are using only the last four digits, but a lot of them are
still putting the whole thing on there. I have already been a victim of
credit card fraud and, believe me, it is not fun. The truth is that they
can get you even when you are careful, but don't make it easy for them.


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