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Credit Cards Informative - Part I: Preventing Identity Theft

Review by MRM on 2007-09-13
VIRGINIA -- The other day I was checking my credit card statement online when I notice 3 unauthorized charges were made to my credit card. I immediately called my card company to notify of the fraud activities going on and the issue was resolved. I use this particular card for in-store purchases only and never online. I have a 2nd card for that. How did the thief got my card number? I accidentally drop this credit card, that I use for in-store purchases, at a store and I hadn't notice it missing until the store called me the next day that they had found my credit card. I picked up my credit card and thanked the store clerk for returning my card. Being a cautious person, I immediately went online to check for any suspicious activity and there were none. Then several days later, there were fraud activies going on and I immediately contacted the card compnay about the fraud. The thief must have found the lost card, then copied down the credit card number and returned it to the store customer service, hoping that the cardholder will not report it lost or stolen.

So if you're making in-store purchases and to prevent identity theft if the card is lost and stolen, heres some advice:

● Completely scratch out the card numbers on the front and back so that if the card is lost or stolen the thief cannot copy the numbers. What is the use of the numbers when you just swipe the card at merchants? (Please make a copy of the card before you scratch out the numbers!)
● Just keep one credit card in your wallet or purse. Other cards should be at home for backup.
● Make a habit of checking credit card statements online every week to find any suspicious activity on the card.

Please feel free to add tips or advice to other readers.
Comments:13 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-09-13
Posted by Tc1073 on 2007-09-13:
Usefull tips, thank you
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
Thanks. Never thought about deleting the numbers on the card. Good advice.
Posted by Sparticus on 2007-09-13:
I'm a big advocate of using credit cards that let you generate temporary credit card numbers whenever you need one. I use it for online shopping all the time, but also for when I need to give a credit card number over the phone but don't particularly trust the vendor to keep it safe... I just logon to my credit card company website and use a tool they offer to create a new "temporary" credit card number that I set the limit and expiration on. It is a great feature to help protect against fraud, since the number is basically good for that purchase and then it expires. My current credit card (MBNA/Bank of America) has it as a free service...
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
Thanks for the post.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
Do not scratch out the card numbers on the card. If the card reader cannot read the magnetic strip, the merchant need to punch in the card number manually.

I do agree that you should not carry all your CC in your wallet or pulse.
Posted by MRM on 2007-09-13:
Im sure that the magnetic strip is durable as it is on my credit card. I still think that scratching out the card numbers is a good idea to prevent the thief from copying the numbers if it is lost or stolen.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
“Card Identification Number (CID)”

By requiring the Security Code to be entered with the customer's credit card, you are verifying that the order is being placed by the card holder. The Security Code offers protection to the card holder as well. The Card Identification Number (CID) is not raised, so they are not scanned into standard credit card readers. In theory, these numbers are only visible to the card holder.

Most online merchants require the CID for online order to be processed.

If you scratch out this number on back of your CC, most credit card companies do not allow the transaction to be processed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
Dear MRM,
Ever since I, too, experienced credit card theft & like you, the bank paid it. We're fortunate, but not so many are.

By the way, I had ONE credit card and it was in my wallet when these people stole my information!!! Please e-mail me at a22455@gmail.com, I'd love to chat a little more.

My coworker's friend was a victim of identity theft. She was having a family dinner and get this: THE POLICE SURROUNDED HER HOME WITH THEIR GUNS DRAWN DEMANDING THAT SHE COME OUTSIDE! Someone had bought an Escalade in her name and did a DRIVE-BY SHOOTING in this Escalade that was bought in her name! The police actually handcuffed and arrested her! Did I mention she was SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT???

It's a NIGHTMARE! Glad yours ended well!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
We have federal laws that protect us from fraudulent changes on our credit cards.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/lossalrt.shtm

You really do not need pay extra for “Credit Card Loss Protection”.
Posted by MRM on 2007-09-13:
HappyJoyBear, this tips that I have offered only applies to in-store purchases. With online purchases, yes, you need a security code which is what my 2nd card (unscratched) is used for, which stays at home.
Posted by MRM on 2007-09-13:
Thank you, HappyJoyBear and to everyone in here, for their advice and references. Anyone else, please feel free to add tips and advice.

Stay tuned for Part II: Preventing Identity Theft while Shopping Online.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-13:
You are welcome... It is all good info. for everyone.
Posted by Principissa on 2007-09-13:
MRM great review. This is what we do to prevent ID theft. We shop using a pre-paid Visa card. That way we can leave our credit card and bank card at home, and the would be thief would not be able to get our personal information. It is especially helpful when shopping online. It has the CVC number on the back so if they ask for it you can put it in. It is useful in my opinion because once again you are not using your personal information on the internet you are using a pre-paid card that holds no account with Visa so if the thief calls to access the account, there isn't one.

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