News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 12, 2007

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



Who should foot the bill?

“Not one person bothered to check ID,” said the local victim of credit card theft, referring to store clerks who accepted her stolen card. Maybe if the stores, instead of the banks, had to “eat the charges,” she said, they would be more careful.

But automated gasoline purchases, online shopping and other recent shopping innovations make it clear that credit card use is getting easier, faster and more common. Face-to-face transactions and the practice of signature verification may be becoming less and less the norm.

“It’s always good on a face-to-face transaction that they verify the signature,” Piazza said. But, with systems such as Falcon in place, the risks are not as great as they might seem, he said.

In the meantime, credit card fraud remains an expensive problem, but not one that most consumers deal with out-of-pocket since the law shields consumers from direct monetary costs. However, these costs are nevertheless real and are reflected in higher banking and card fees, higher prices at the stores and wasted time spent sorting out the mess a credit card theft creates.

Arthur Foulkes can be contacted at (812) 231-4232 or


• Open credit card bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly. You have 60 days to dispute questionable charges.

• Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to your card issuer.

• Notify card companies in advance if you change your address.

• Keep an eye on your card during a transaction.

• Save receipts to compare with card statements.

• Sign your cards as soon as you receive them.

• Do not lend your cards to anyone.

• Do not leave your cards or receipts lying around.

• Do not give out account information over the phone unless you know the company is reputable.

• Do not click on embedded e-mails.

• Do not click on attachments.


• For additional security tips, see the Federal Trade Commission Web site at For more information on identity theft and “phishing,” see

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    March 12, 2010