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Credit card theft seems to be occurring more and more these days. Lately I've been hearing more about dishonest merchants copying down credit card numbers then going on internet shopping sprees. All they need is your credit card number and security code that's sitting on the back of the card (front left on some cards).
A way to prevent this from happening to you is writing down the three digit security code and keeping it in a secure place, then filing off that number from the back of your card and covering it with ink. You must make sure you have written that code down for future use or your card will be protected from yourself, as well!
Source: My friend who has suffered from credit card theft twice until they used this method.
By attosa from Los Angeles, CA
Did you know that someone can steal your credit/debit card information by just standing near you? They can if you have one of the new cards that work under the RFID technology. RFID - Radio Frequency Identification. It's been used for years already, most familiar to us would be hotel keys, or those little tags they put in things at the store that the clerk just swipes across the reader to get the product info and price. Well, now they are putting these little chips in credit, debit, and ID cards to make it easier to use. You don't have to swipe them, you simply wave them in front of a reader - that simple.
Personally, I never liked the idea of having a card like that, it's bad enough to have a debit card that has to be swiped and doesn't always ask for a pin number!
I just watched a program on Inside Edition tonight that showed a man using a card reader hidden in a computer bag. He would walk up next to or behind people shopping at a mall, maybe stand on the escalator behind them or in line at the cash register and casually hold this small bag with the hidden reader between him and the person near him. And if that person had a card with an RFID tag in their wallet or purse, the reader would pick up whatever information was on the card!
Wondering if this was for real, I did an internet search and found all kinds of information that validates these claims. Some of them (including Wikipedia) also say that the guys from Mythbusters were going to do a segment on how easy it is to get information from these cards, but they were told that financing for their show would be pulled if they did!
The companies that issue these cards say they are safe, that information can't be stolen off the cards, that if it WAS stolen, it couldn't be used because it doesn't give the security code, and that if it was by chance able to be used to purchase something, you wouldn't be libel for paying the charges anyway. So how come the reporter from this TV show was able to use the information obtained by one of these card readers to order something by telephone and charge it to someone else's card,then have it sent to his address? And even if you don't have to pay for fraudulent charges, you have to deal with the headache involved in getting the charges are removed; and hope it doesn't mess up your credit score in the process!
How do you know if you have one of these? You don't have to swipe them like most cards, you just wave it in front of the reader. Credit card companies don't always tell you they put these in your cards. Cards will sometimes have a PayPass logo on it, or there will be several small wavy lines on the back, like radio frequency lines (I can't remember what direction they go, but they would be like ((( or ))).) But really, the safest way to find out if you have a card with one of these chips in it, would be to call the phone number on the back of the card and ask them.
What can you do to protect yourself if you do have one of these cards? Most companies will re-issue you a new card without the chip if you ask for one. If you like the convenience of the card, you can find companies on the internet that sell special card sleeves and even special wallets with liners that block the ability of the card to be scanned until it's removed from the protective sleeve.
Or - the THRIFTY way to do it would be to simply wrap the card in a piece of aluminum foil when you aren't using it!
By lyonpridej from Oklahoma
Editor's Note: Here is the link to the Wikipedia article:
I'd like to hear your stories. First and last time I was ripped off; I had a speed pass for gasoline. For those of you who don't know what a speed pass is; it is a little "thing" that attaches to a key chain and you swipe at the gas pump.
I took my car to the car wash and they were calling my insurance company to verify that they would pay for a small hole in my windshield where a rock had hit it. I waited which took awhile. Then I got my gas bill several weeks later and time for a thief to rack up a bill for close to $700 on gas, food from service station, and multiple gas charges at the same time. It looks like that person was buying food and gas for several people. The thief had stolen someone else's speed pass and after its owner had discovered it and had it deactivated, the person at the car wash switched it with mine. No telling how long the thief had been switching and may still be doing it.
I found out the speed pass I had on my key chain was not mine when I called the card company and gave them an identifying number on mine. Now when I give to car key to any service, I remove everything, but the car key. I'm so careful now that I don't even leave my insurance card in my car. If my car were to get stolen I certainly don't want a thief to know where I live.
By Betty from Lubbock, TX
Remove any credit cards from your wallet that you do not use on a regular, consistent basis, and store them in a safe location. Or, if this is not an option, check your wallet often to ensure all your credit cards are accounted for. I mention this tip because I recently heard of an acquaintance who had a credit card stolen from her purse at her workplace. She did not know the card was missing from her wallet because she had literally not used the card herself in several years, and she did not regularly check her wallet to account for all her cards.
Consequently, several days went by and the woman received a call from her credit card company inquiring about her account because there was "an unusual amount of activity" on the account, which was not normal for this particular account's history. It was at this point that the woman, after checking her wallet, realized that the card was gone.
Unfortunately, since she did not report her card lost or stolen within a 24 to 48 hour period, the credit card company intended to hold her liable for any charges on this account, which amounted to thousands of dollars by the time the woman realized the card was gone. I never did find out if the credit card company followed through with making the woman pay the charges, but I do know that if you report a credit card lost or stolen within the stated acceptable time frame the card company permits (usually 24 to 48 hours), the credit card company can charge you for the first $50.00 in fraudulent charges, but they usually waive this completely.
It all boils down to your quick response as the card holder! And yes, this is a true story!
Notify your credit card company when you are going on vacation. Charges from strange areas may make them think your card was stolen and reject a charge you may want to make. We were going to Cancun, Mexico.
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Over the years I have had several credit cards and saved them after their expiration date not knowing how to properly dispose them. How do I safely dispose of over 50 used credit cards?
By Raji from East Elmhurst, NY
I cut them up with kitchen scissors and put them in the trash. Don't burn them. Plastic puts off toxic fumes.