credit card fraud en-US New App Ondot Is a Remote Control for Your Credit Card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-app-ondot-is-a-remote-control-for-your-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="smartphone" title="smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What's the good of ordering food via your smartphone's Grubhub app or ordering a car via its Uber app if you don't also have an app to make sure there's some money left on your credit card when it gets there? (See also: <a href="">Apps to Manage Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <p>Well soon you will, thanks to <a href="">Ondot</a>, a San Jose-based company that just unveiled Card Control, a mobile command center for defeating fraud, all built into your phone.</p> <p>At the most basic level, the app serves as an extra line of protection against fraud, allowing the user to toggle the card's use on or off, or set the card to only function within certain parameters.</p> <p>For example, a location-based control means one can set their card to work only in a specific zip code, meaning it will automatically shut off if it gets nabbed and taken for a ride. Or, the app can sync a phone's GPS to the card, effectively disabling it if they're separated (e.g., the card is left behind).</p> <p>Other users might choose to toggle types of merchants the card will work with, disabling e-merchants until the user manually unlocks them before making a purchase, for instance. (See also: <a href="">Credit Card Safety When Shopping Online</a>)</p> <p>And here's where &mdash; even for <a href="">those unconcerned with fraud</a> &mdash; the app gets really interesting. That same technology allows parents to limit or toggle types of spending on their kids' credit cards, meaning one might allow food purchases but bar clothing expenditures on any particular card. And the app would even allow parents to monitor their kids' card use in real time.</p> <p>While the company's been around since 2011 and already raised $18 million in funding, the app itself is just now rolling out, having already partnered with four major card processors working with 10,000 banks and credit unions across the country.</p> <p><img width="605" height="446" src="" alt="" /></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="New App Ondot Is a Remote Control for Your Credit Card" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Joe Epstein</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Financial News Technology credit card fraud online shopping smartphone apps Sat, 26 Apr 2014 04:14:40 +0000 Joe Epstein 1136959 at Will New Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards Stop Identity Theft? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/will-new-chip-and-pin-credit-cards-stop-identity-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="smartcard" title="smartcard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you were one of the 70 million Target customers whose credit card information was compromised this past holiday season, you may have found yourself thinking, &quot;There's got to be a better way!&quot; as you combed through your statements looking for fraudulent activity. (See also: <a href="">How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud</a>)</p> <p>As a matter of fact, there is, and it's been in place in Europe for a decade. It's called Chip-and-PIN technology, and it will vastly improve credit card security for in-person transactions.</p> <p>MasterCard and Visa made headlines recently when they announced that they will be shifting to the Chip-and-PIN system (also known as EuropayMasterCardVisa or EMV), with a deadline of October 2015.</p> <p>The security improvement is certainly good news, and it will also be beneficial for the United States to finally join the rest of the world in using this well-proven technology &mdash; but the news isn't all positive. Here is all that you need to know about this major infrastructure change to credit cards. (See also: <a href="">An Intro to Bitcoin</a>)</p> <h2>How Chip-and-PIN Technology Works</h2> <p>The cards you currently carry in your wallet have a magnetic strip on which your credit card information is stored. Unfortunately, it's relatively easy to capture and copy the information on these magnetic strips, making security a serious issue. Add in the fact that our current swipe-and-sign technology assumes that you have signed the back of your card and that the clerk will check your signature to make sure it matches the one on the card, and it's pretty clear that your credit card information is vulnerable.</p> <p>Microchips on chip-and-PIN, or &quot;smartcards,&quot; on the other hand, offer another layer of security. Like magnetic strips (which will still be present on the new smartcards), these embedded chips also have the credit card information encrypted on them. When you swipe one of these cards on a chip-and-PIN reader, the terminal verifies that the card is authentic by checking the chip, and it asks the customer to enter the 4-digit PIN.</p> <p>According to Kate Cox of The Consumerist, &quot;the <a href="">chips cut back on card fraud</a> because their existence makes cards significantly harder to clone: even if you get all of the information from a card's magnetic strip, as through a skimmer, without the chip actually being present, the card data is useless in a physical transaction.&quot;</p> <p>This means that chip-embedded smartcards are harder to clone &mdash; even if a swindler were able to get both your credit card information and your PIN. (See also: <a href="">10 Things to Do If You Lose Your Wallet)</a></p> <h2>October 2015 Marks the Beginning of the Liability Shift</h2> <p>One of the reasons why the United States has been so slow to adopt this technology is because of the cost and effort required to set up the huge infrastructure necessary for a technology change of this size. Jaikumar Vijayan of Computer World reports that the upgrade to the new point of sale <a href=";pageNumber=1">(POS) terminals will cost billions overall</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>POS systems capable of reading EMV cards can cost hundreds of dollars apiece. Retailers like Target can expect to pay tens of millions of dollars just swapping out the hardware. In addition, they will also need to spend on software, testing and deployment.</p> </blockquote> <p>Those costs mean that many smaller retailers and banks may feel as though they cannot afford to make the switch. However, the deadline given by MasterCard and Visa for the changeover to chip-and-PIN technology is actually the time frame for a &quot;liability shift&quot; for fraud.</p> <p>Currently, in the case of card fraud, it is up to the credit card company to determine who is liable for the costs. In October 2015, the liability will shift to whichever party has the lesser technology. Carolyn Balfany, MasterCard's EMV expert, recently explained this liability shift to the Wall Street Journal:</p> <blockquote><p>If a merchant is <a href="">still using the old system</a>, they can still run a transaction with a swipe and a signature. But they will be liable for any fraudulent transactions if the customer has a chip card. And the same goes the other way &mdash; if the merchant has a new terminal, but the bank hasn't issued a chip and PIN card to the customer, the bank would be liable.</p> </blockquote> <p>Creating this liability shift was an ingenious method for Visa and MasterCard to ensure adoption of the technology, since it gives all merchants and banks the incentive to invest in the new system at the same time, making the transition much smoother for everyone.</p> <h2>Potential Pitfalls</h2> <p>Unfortunately, any change of this size is unlikely to be completely free of issues.</p> <h3>Internet Transactions Still Risky</h3> <p>The first concern is the fact that while chip-and-PIN technology greatly improves security for in-person transactions, it does nothing to make your Internet or phone purchases any safer. This is concerning considering the fact that swindlers &quot;look for the path of least resistance&quot; according to Balfany. That is why <a href="">half of all credit card fraud occurs in the United States</a> but only a quarter of all credit card transactions do. As other markets moved to EMV cards and technology, fraudsters simply moved to easier markets for gathering information &mdash; specifically the United States.</p> <p>Likewise, once our in-person transactions are much more secure, it's a safe bet that data thieves will start working on the less secure angle of Internet purchases. (See also: <a href="">Keep Your Credit Card Safe While Shopping Online</a>)</p> <h3>It's a Big Change in a Little Time</h3> <p>Another potential issue has to do with the amount of time it takes to make a major change like this. While MasterCard and Visa have done their part to incentivize this switch, it is highly unlikely that smartcard technology will be a fait accompli by October of 2015. Jaikumar Vijayan reports that, &quot;Canada first began moving to EMV in 2003. More than 10 years later, only about 85% of the country's POS systems can take EMV cards &mdash; and that's in a country with a more centralized payment system and far fewer POS systems, compared to the U.S.&quot;</p> <p>Basically, there may be some growing pains as we implement this technology. In addition, while the chip-and-PIN technology is proven in other markets, that also means it's an older technology. There is the possibility that we are just now adopting a technology that will become obsolete as we shift to more secure mobile and online payment options that are just now becoming available.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>While we are late to the chip-and-PIN party, it is good news that the U.S. market is finally getting proactive about making our credit card information more difficult to steal. However, no matter how smart our technology becomes, it will always be up to the consumer to keep a close eye on their statements and their credit reports &mdash; because swindlers, much like nature, will always find a way.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been the victim of credit card fraud? Will you feel more secure with this new technology?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Will New Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards Stop Identity Theft?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards chip and pin credit card fraud credit card security smartcard Mon, 17 Feb 2014 10:36:26 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1125765 at How to Shop: A Beginner's Guide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-shop-a-beginners-guide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Apple Store" title="Apple Store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you&rsquo;ve decided to buy something. Congratulations! Here&rsquo;s how to do it.</p> <h2>1. Pick the Right Time</h2> <p>First things first &mdash; you&rsquo;ll need to determine when your adventure in commerce will take place. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">The Best Days to&nbsp;Shop</a>)</p> <p>This is a bigger deal than you might think, as &ldquo;when to buy&rdquo; can often be more important than &ldquo;where to buy&rdquo; when it comes to getting the best price. As a general rule of thumb, you&rsquo;re a lot more likely to pay full price if you&rsquo;re trying to buy something at the same time everyone else is. If you&rsquo;re just now getting around to buying an air conditioner, for instance, it&rsquo;s probably too late to get any kind of significant discount &mdash; this is peak season for air conditioner purchases, and most stores don&rsquo;t need to offer discounts to move units. You would have been better off buying at the end of last summer or in the fall, when purchases have slowed to a trickle and stores are trying to get the last remaining units off the floor.</p> <p>Timing is important for non-seasonal purchases as well. Most new products will start coming down in price after spending some time on the shelves. The waiting period can vary &mdash; iPhones and iPads tend to come down by $100 when the new model comes out a year or so later, while a new video game can see its first price drop within a couple of weeks. No matter what, though, you can expect to pay full price if you insist on getting that brand new book or DVD the day it comes out, so do your best to show a little patience.</p> <h2>2. Decide on Quality</h2> <p>People tend to talk about getting the &ldquo;best bang for the buck&rdquo; &mdash; that is, the best quality-to-price ratio. That&rsquo;s a reasonable goal, but I find focusing on value above all else sometimes means you wind up with a low-quality product because you couldn&rsquo;t pass up a too-good-to-be-true price. And that can backfire on you when your new forks and knives that you bought at the dollar store turn to rust in your sink after a couple weeks, forcing you to purchase a new set.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s a good idea to do some research, read user reviews, and determine which brands of your target product meet your standards for quality (and which don&rsquo;t). That doesn&rsquo;t mean casting aside questions of cost and simply buying the highest-quality product on the market &mdash; there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with balancing quality and price to some degree. But you should go into the store having established the minimum quality standard and feature set you&rsquo;re willing to tolerate.</p> <h2>3. Shop Around and Find Coupons</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve established what you want to buy and when you want to buy it, figure out where you&rsquo;re going to make your purchase. Buying online is usually cheaper than buying in a store, so start there. While you can have some success by simply checking the price on major e-commerce sites like Amazon and NewEgg, your best bet may be to use a price comparison site like <a href="">PriceGrabber</a> or Google&rsquo;s shopping tool. If you do find the best price online, don&rsquo;t forget to account for the additional cost of shipping &mdash; though remember that shipping costs could be offset by the lack of tax if you live in a state which does not collect sales tax on online purchases. You could also avoid shipping costs if you go with a site that offers free shipping (sometimes this is contingent on spending a certain amount) or if you&rsquo;re able to find a free shipping code.</p> <p>Speaking of codes, you&rsquo;ll want to hunt around for any way to get a discount off the sticker price. You can find coupon codes on deal sites (<a href="">RetailMeNot</a> is one popular destination for code-hunting) as well as on the websites and social media feeds of individual retailers. You should also check weekly circulars for deals, sales, and clip-out coupons.</p> <h2>4. Feel Free to Haggle</h2> <p>If there&rsquo;s one area where brick-and-mortar retailers have a definite advantage over online shopping, it&rsquo;s the potential to save by haggling. If you decide to skip the e-commerce trend and hit a physical store, don&rsquo;t be shy about negotiating for a lower price.</p> <p>While you can haggle for anything, you&rsquo;re going to have the most luck (and the most potential for savings) haggling over big ticket items like TVs, appliances, cars, and jewelry; these have high margins and are typically sold by commissioned salespeople empowered to negotiate. Entire books have been written about the art of negotiation, so I can&rsquo;t even begin to tackle all the <a href="">ins and outs of the haggling process</a>. But the basics are simple: go up the retail hierarchy until you find a salesperson or manager who&rsquo;s allowed to haggle, then see how low he or she is willing to go. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to walk away from the negotiation and leave a phone number for the salesperson &mdash; as the end of the month gets closer and they grow more desperate to hit their monthly quotas, they might just call you with a better offer on that big-screen TV.</p> <h2>5. Use a Credit Card</h2> <p>Now that you&rsquo;ve done your research and picked out your purchase, head to the cashier (or checkout screen) and pull out your credit card. You&rsquo;ll notice I said &ldquo;credit,&rdquo; not &ldquo;debit&rdquo; &mdash; whenever possible, <a href="">you should use a credit card</a> for purchases.</p> <p>In part that&rsquo;s because your credit card likely gives you some sort of cash-back rewards with every purchase (and if it doesn&rsquo;t, you should apply for a rewards card as soon as you get the chance). But beyond the potential for rewards, there&rsquo;s also the fact that credit cards simply leave you better protected against the various things that can go wrong with a transaction. Many of them, for instance, offer purchase protection that serves as a sort of warranty on your merchandise. Obviously you&rsquo;ll want to read the fine print in your card agreement, but in many cases it will allow you to bypass the costly extended warranty that most salespeople will try to sell you. And if you make a purchase and somehow fail to receive the product you ordered, you can do a chargeback, which means the credit card issuer will refund you the money and then go after the shady retailer itself.</p> <p>Using a credit card also provides good protection against fraud in case the transaction somehow results in someone getting a hold of your card or card number. Most credit card issuers will refund all fraudulent charges made with your card, and federal law makes you liable for no more than $50. By contrast, you could be on the hook for up to $500 if someone goes on a shopping spree with your debit card number.</p> <p>Some people <a href="">prefer using cash</a>, and there are admittedly a few advantages there; being allowed only the cash in your pocket can rein in spending impulses, for instance. And using cash can also help in a negotiation, as the promise of avoiding swipe fees may prompt a retailer to knock another $5 or $10 off the price of an item. Other than that, though, you&rsquo;re better off using a credit card &mdash; just don&rsquo;t go getting yourself into debt.</p> <p>If you did everything right, you've purchased a quality product at the lowest possible price. Don't forget your receipt!&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Shop: A Beginner&#039;s Guide" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Matt Brownell</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Deals and Coupons Shopping bargain shopping coupon code credit card fraud haggling how to shop well online shopping Wed, 06 Jun 2012 10:36:11 +0000 Matt Brownell 932770 at Credit Card Fraud and How to Avoid It <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="credit card theft" title="credit card theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="197" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card fraud affects thousands of people every year. During 2009, in the UK alone, &pound;440.3 million was lost due to fraudulent actions on stolen or cloned credit cards. In addition to this, &pound;59 million was lost after tech-savvy criminals developed sophisticated malware programs designed to hack into online banking accounts.</p> <p>But despite these frighteningly high figures, the cost of UK fraud has actually fallen by 28% from the previous year. And 2010 is seeing a further decrease, although official figures will not be known until early 2011. The decrease comes at a time when more people than ever are using credit cards and online banking, so it would suggest that consumers are becoming familiar with the types of fraud and how to spot (and avoid) them. (See also: <a href="" title="How to Avoid Phishing Scams">How to Avoid Phishing Scams</a>)</p> <h2>Types of Credit Card Fraud</h2> <p>The most widespread form of credit card fraud in the UK is <strong>Card-not-Present fraud</strong>. This has grown alongside the rising popularity of <a href="" title="How to Shop Online Safely">internet shopping</a>, as an online retailer does not see the card being used and therefore cannot always determine the authenticity. A fraudster of this type can obtain a card through mail fraud, skimming/cloning, or theft &mdash; then use it to buy goods online. They may even buy from the same sites as their victim, to reduce the risk of banks flagging unusual activity.</p> <p><strong>Mail fraud</strong> involves the criminal intercepting mail from their intended victim's bank or building. The fraudster can then register the card themselves and use it. People who live in buildings with a communal mailbox are particularly susceptible to this type of fraud.</p> <p><strong>Skimming</strong> is the term given to the practice of scanning a credit card using a device designed to harvest card details. These details can then be used to create a cloned card which may be sold to other fraudsters or used for CNP fraud.</p> <p>The most common place for skimming to occur is in a bar or restaurant, where customers have to hand their card over to the waiting staff in order to pay the bill. The card is taken by the staff and processed &mdash; but a corrupt employee may carry a skimming device which they pass the card through before doing the actual transaction.</p> <p>Often, the victim isn't aware that anything untoward had taken place until they receive a statement showing unfamiliar transactions. At this stage, the criminals may have been obtaining credit in the victim's name &mdash; another form of fraud known as identity theft or <strong>application fraud</strong>. Someone with a good credit score may not know this is happening until they apply for credit themselves and get refused.</p> <p>Due to the sophisticated nature of some of the devices used by criminals, it can be difficult to detect fraud. But there are steps everyone can take to lessen the chances of falling foul of the fraudsters.</p> <h2>Detecting and Avoiding Fraud</h2> <ul> <li>Only use trusted online sites, which display either <em>https</em>&nbsp;in the URL or have a locked padlock symbol in the status bar on the lower right. Sites that have these use an advanced form of encryption which prevents thieves from harvesting data as it's being sent from server to server.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Using a PO box instead of a communal mailbox can lessen the chances of mail fraud. If this isn't possible, some banks may allow customers to collect cards from their local branch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Verified by Visa is a payment system set up to prevent card fraudsters committing CNP fraud. It's a way for online retailers to confirm a buyer's identity at time of checkout, by way of a special security password known only to the card holder. The password is chosen by the consumer when they register with VbV. When purchasing from a site which uses VbV, 3 digits or characters from the 6+ character password will be asked for, and the entire password is never entered. This is currently one of the most secure ways to buy online, as more and more e-merchants are signing up to the scheme.</li> </ul> <p>Banks are becoming more intelligent when it comes to fraud detection, and are able to recognize certain behavioral patterns on a customer's account which raises security issues. These can include a series of small transactions (usually under &pound;2) or usually large amounts being withdrawn. The former is one way in which fraudsters can tell if it's worth using a card, so banks are being trained to recognize this as a warning sign.</p> <p>It's recommended that if a consumer genuinely intends to withdraw a large amount from their account they contact their bank beforehand to inform them of the fact. This can then prevent any anti-fraud measures, such as a block being put in place for that instance.</p> <h2>Legal Rights and Responsibilities</h2> <p>In the UK, if money has been lost as a result of fraud, the card holder is only liable for repaying the first &pound;50, provided the fraud is genuine and not as a result of negligence (i.e., leaving the card on a bus or in an unattended bag). Reporting the fraud as soon as it's discovered increases the chance of money being recovered and the perpetrators being caught.</p> <p>The fraud department of each card provider should be contacted along with the police. Any online banking passwords should be changed and the credit reference agencies notified; they will place a fraud alert on the affected file in case the thief tries to commit application fraud.</p> <h2>The Consequences of Fraud</h2> <p>A victim of fraud may be left feeling vulnerable and afraid to trust anyone outside their close circle of family and friends. If you or someone you know has suffered at the hands of a fraudster, don't feel like you are alone. Seek advice and counseling and follow the preventative steps above to restore your peace of mind.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Credit Card Fraud and How to Avoid It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Louise Tillotson. Louise is a financial writer in the UK and her work has appeared on several websites, including as a <a href="">credit card applications</a> guide for Moneysupermarket. She has also written several pieces on <a href="">Voices in Finance</a> and related sites and runs a local community blog and site network called <a href="">Flintshire Families</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Louise Tillotson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Credit Cards articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Credit Cards credit card fraud identity theft Fri, 22 Oct 2010 13:00:28 +0000 Louise Tillotson 267834 at What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-do-you-and-a-credit-card-thief-have-in-common" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="414" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta content=" 2.3 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I've always considered myself to be an educated credit card user. I keep my balances low, pay on time, and don't do anything that could potentially come back to haunt me.. Little did I know, that by playing it cool, I was putting myself at risk for being treated like a criminal.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Remember my recent <a href="../../../../../../double-coupons-%E2%80%93-they-could-cost-you">Kmart Double Coupon excursion</a> that left me more than a little irritated? Part of my frustration stemmed from the outcome of my purchase &ndash; or rather my NON purchase. I never got to buy all the goods in my overflowing cart that day, and the major cause of my headache was the decline of my credit card. For real.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I don't play games with my credit.</b> I kept this card in my wallet, but barely used it for in-store purchases. I think I had used it to reserve hotel rooms from time to time, but almost always ended up paying with cash or a debit card when it came time to check out. The card was a little worn from carrying it around all that time, but really didn't get much swipeage (if you know what I mean.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&ldquo;<b>Your money is no good here.&rdquo;</b> Upon entering the checkout line, I tried to swipe the card. Apparently, the reader machine was having a hard time making sense of my card. The Kmart cashier suggested that I put a plastic bag over the card and try again. No go. So I suggested that she type in the numbers manually.... after some discussion with a manager, she did. My card was declined. I was flabbergasted.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I tried, unsuccessfully, to use other methods of payment, but due to the code that was coming up for why my card was declined... I couldn't get any other method (including check) to work. I left fuming, and received precious advice from the Kmart cashier. &ldquo;That's why I always carry cash.&rdquo; Thanks, lady, but we're talking over $350 cash, and with all the muggings going on in my area this time of year, I think I'll pass.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I hang my head in shame... and confusion.</b> I felt like a loser, but I wasn't sure why. I got home and immediately noticed an email from my credit card company, alerting me to &ldquo;problems&rdquo; with my account. I called, and I was told the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This time of year is ripe for credit card fraud, so my card (along with every one else's) was being monitored especially well</p> </li> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My account was showing &ldquo;suspicious&rdquo; activity, specifically, a $16 Subway charge and a $30 gas charge &ndash; all in one week.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Because of the shocking nature of the recent flurry in activity, my card was flagged as suspect for fraud. (I.e., they thought that the two charges in one month was a little shady, so they froze my account... hours before I headed to Kmart.)</p> </li> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">They were very sorry, but they have to think of the safety of their customers. Big purchases (like that monster charge of $200+ at Kmart) was unspeakably high. It could only mean theft.</p> </li> </ul> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">OK.... so I argued (politely, of course) with the rep. How can I possibly use my card if small charges like this could be flagged as fraud? What if I was traveling out of town and needed to crash in a hotel slightly nicer than the Wagon Wheel Inn? Would the $80 charge throw my account into a meltdown? How could I be sure I could count on my card?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After a long letter to the executive office and a phone call later, I got everything straightened out (and a nice compensation of award points, to boot.) Basically, there was no surefire way any one of us could guarantee the same thing wouldn't happen. Here's what was recommended, however:</p> <ul> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If you plan on using your card after a period of long inactivity (<a href="../../../../../../a-guaranteed-way-to-avoid-impulse-credit-card-purchases">sitting in your freezer</a>, perhaps) start slow, make many small purchases, and work your way up to larger purchases. Be prepared for it to cause an alert to be placed on your card, and carry a backup method of payment, if you can.</p> </li> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Be aware of your spending patterns. In my case, my credit card had only two charges each month for over a year. They were recurring charges for Netflix and my newspaper, so they were very predictable. When my spending went OUTSIDE of this pattern, it alerted my credit card company. It might help to call ahead and let them know if you plan on making large purchase outside of your pattern, or if you are going to be out of town with a need for easy access to funds.</p> </li> <li> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Monitor your card carefully. Just because they caught my intentional purchase, doesn't mean they'll catch everything. Small fraudulent purchases are more likely to go under the radar and cause financial damage than large ones. <a href="../../../../../../check-your-statements">Read your statements</a> every month.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common? " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Credit Cards credit card fraud spending thief Thu, 11 Dec 2008 03:51:51 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2640 at Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Anybody who has had their <a href="/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen" target="_blank">identity stolen</a> is usually willing to pay good money to ensure it never happens again. Weeks upon weeks upon months of tiresome paperwork, changing bank accounts, switching automatic payments, and in some cases pleading a case for wrongly damaged credit is among the giant task list of nightmarish to-dos when you’re picking up the pieces after the fact. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So what is it worth to you to try and avoid this problem altogether? Obviously, exercising due caution is easy enough to do and prudent to say the least. Don’t use a credit card or do banking over an unsecured wireless network. Be careful with your bank card and entering in PIN numbers in public places. Avoid using the same password for everything that also happens to be the name of your pet. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In this day and age, most of these techniques are relatively commonplace. But what else can you do? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Credit Reporting and Monitoring Services</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Most credit agencies like <a href="" target="_blank">Equifax</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Experian</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">TransUnion</a> have a credit reporting service you can subscribe to. For between $10 and $15 per month for example, the <a href="" target="_blank">Equifax Credit Watch program</a> will alert you to any changes in your credit such as:</p> <ul> <li>Somebody trying to open an account in your name</li> <li>Credit inquiries made on your accounts</li> <li>Changes in your account balance beyond user-set parameters</li> <li>Even $20,000 in Identity Theft Insurance</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Experian and TransUnion have similar programs <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and <a href=";loc=2091" target="_blank">here</a>. Most programs encompass monitoring of all three credit bureau activities, but before you race out and sign up it would be prudent to double check. Paying a monthly fee for a service that monitors only one third of your credit history is, well, only one third as good. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Initially, it seems like a good deal, worth considering – especially for those who were once bitten and now twice shy.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But upon further consideration, I begin to question the value in the name of frugality. </p> <ul> <li>Can I not hop online and check my credit balances daily (or every other day), scanning for erroneous charges? </li> <li>If somebody does a credit check on me I’d like to know, but what if instead of subscribing, I periodically order a free credit report? Each of the three credit agencies usually allow one free report per year: if I timed it right I could check my credit activity every four months. </li> <li>And although the Identity Theft insurance sounds handy, with a little bit of elbow grease, I shouldn’t have to pay any erroneous charges to my credit cards or account change fees once we’ve established the identity theft as the cause. </li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3>Then again…</h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">There’s no denying the fact that simply paying the monthly fee could be easier, and may give you some more <a href="/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses" target="_blank">free time</a> and well-deserved peace of mind. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3>Then again…</h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">$10 here and $10 there, and you’ve blown your <a href="/the-retirement-latte" target="_blank">Latte Budget</a> before even getting one drop of caffeine into your system. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So what is your credit security worth to you in this world of ever-increasing identity theft and credit crime? And what are you prepared to do about it?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance credit card fraud credit monitoring credit reporting credit score Equifax Experian identity theft TransUnion Sat, 23 Aug 2008 01:16:25 +0000 Nora Dunn 2359 at