Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the busiest shopping season of the year.
Identity Theft and Fraud
Many Americans will use credit cards for their holiday purchases in stores and online. Unfortunately, despite security measures, credit cards may be leave a shopper vulnerable to identity theft, and online retailers may fall victim to other types of credit card fraud. Credit card fraud takes many forms, including credit card theft, identity theft, and unauthorized transactions from a compromised account:
- Credit Card Theft - A stolen credit card (or a lost credit card retrieved by the perpetrator) is used to conduct transactions. Signatures may be forged, or easily deduced information such as a zip code may be used for verification.
- Card Not Present (CNP) - In these transactions, the perpetrator need not have the credit card itself, only information such as cardholder name, account number, expiration date, and verification or CVV code. CNP transactions are generally internet or mail-order transactions.
- Identity Theft - Conducted through application fraud or account takeover, the perpetrator uses personal information, stolen documents, or forged documents to open a fake account in someone else's name or to impersonate the victim to access his or her accounts.
- Skimming - Stealing credit card information obtained in a legal transaction. For example, a perpetrator may steal or photocopy credit card receipts or may use an electronic skimmer that can store hundreds of credit card numbers swiped into the machine.
- Phishing - Often conducted via telephone (tele-phishing). The perpetrator calls the victim and impersonates a trusted organization, attempting to con the victim into giving his or her credit card information.
- Carding - Making small online transactions to verify the validity of a credit card or card number generally obtained through a skimming or phishing scheme.
- BIN Attack - Randomly generating credit card numbers by simply changing the last four digits of a valid card number.
- Balance Transfer Checks - Unsolicited balance transfer checks are stolen from the mailboxes or trash cans of unsuspecting victims.
Things To Do To Avoid Falling Victim
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud: Do:
- Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
- Carry your cards separately from your wallet, in a zippered compartment, a business card holder, or another small pouch.
- Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
- Keep an eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
- Void incorrect receipts.
- Destroy carbons.
- Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
- Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
- Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
- Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.
- Lend your card(s) to anyone.
- Leave cards or receipts lying around.
- Sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
- Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
- Give out your account number over the phone unless you're making the call to a company you know is reputable. If you have questions about a company, check it out with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.
In tough economic times, desperation may lead individuals to illegal use of credit cards or personal information. If you have been accused of credit card fraud or computer fraud, visit the Phillips & Associates homepage to find an Oklahoma white collar crime lawyer who can assist you.