News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Business

February 12, 2007

The cost of theft: Citizens pay for credit card theft through higher banking, card fees

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

“It could be a nightmare” for the victim of card theft, Piazza said.



New ways to steal

“A thief [may go] through the trash to find discarded [credit card] receipts or carbons” or a “dishonest clerk [may make] an extra imprint from your credit or charge card,” the U.S. Federal Trade Commission warns on its Web site dealing with credit card security. In short, you may not have to lose your credit card or have it stolen to be a victim of credit card theft.

“‘Phishing’ is one frightening example” of a new type of credit card or “identity” theft that is increasing, Cate writes. “Phishing” involves fraudulent e-mails that claim to be from legitimate businesses. These e-mails seek “confirmation” of existing business accounts by asking the victim to reply to the e-mail with personal financial information, such as credit card or bank account numbers.

One recent well-circulated “phishing” scheme involved a phony e-mail claiming to represent eBay. The e-mails asked eBay customers to verify their accounts by sending personal financial information. In this case, as in many others, “phishing” scams include very real-looking, but phony, Web pages from legitimate businesses.

“That’s the number one problem right now … ‘phishing,’” Piazza said. He warns card holders to never answer requests for information about credit cards that come via e-mail, adding that a legitimate credit union or bank is “never going to ask you to put your personal information online and send it back to us for verification” purposes, he said.

Other suggestions for keeping your card information safe include signing your cards as soon as they arrive; keeping a record of your account numbers, expiration dates and the phone numbers of your card companies in a safe place; keeping an eye on your credit card during a transaction; saving your card receipts to compare with card statements; and reporting any questionable charges on your credit card statement promptly and in writing to the card issuer.

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