Credit Card Thief Shares His Expertise On How To Protect Yourself

I just finished reading an article in which a credit card thief shares the secrets of his trade and how crooks steal your credit card information. In addition he provided information on how your identity can be compromised and what to do to protect yourself online when making purchases. What is scary is that there are people out there who can steal your information so easy, it is kind of scary.

One scam that I wasn’t aware of is that waiters or waitresses can carry hand-held skimmers and scan your credit card number off of your card. They then sell this information online for $10 to $50 to scammers. The scammer takes the information and encodes it on a new credit card, and then makes purchases with the fraudulent card.

Here is some other information you should be aware of:

What about debit cards?

I always recommend against them. With debit cards, it’s your real money in your bank account you’re playing with. So if someone gets your debit card information and uses it, your cash is gone until you fill out a lot of paperwork and persuade the bank to give it back to you. Credit cards are much better at protecting you against fraud.

Is online shopping safe?

You’ve got to be careful. It is really easy to create a fake online store or to create a store that sells stuff, but its real purpose is to collect credit card information. I’d try to stick to reputable sites or at least to sites that have reviews.

That’s the reason it’s so important to access secure websites if you’re putting in any sensitive data, so look for “https” in the Web address.

So how do you protect yourself from all of the scams and scammers?

What’s your No. 1 tip on how consumers can protect themselves?

You’ve probably heard this before, but the most important thing really is to watch your accounts. And I don’t mean just checking your statement once a month. If you’re only checking your statement once a month, someone can start using your card at the beginning of the billing cycle, and they can do a lot of damage before you catch it. You’re talking thousands of dollars, and it will be a lot harder to catch them and dispute it. I use Mint.com, which is a free aggregation service that allows you to put all your accounts on there and monitor everything at once. I check that every day. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report at least twice a year to make sure no one has stolen your identity.

I don’t know what you do, but I follow the above advice religiously. I check my accounts and credit card statements at least once a week or more. I also do get my credit reports and scan them carefully. It is an eye opener when you see the erroneous information on your credit report. I recall several years ago that one of my reports showed two dates of birth. Go figure.

I only shop at trusted online merchants like Amazon. I rarely stray away and normally avoid unknown online business shops.

I also avoid using ATM machines when possible. I carry some emergency cash on my person just in case I feel uncomfortable using my credit card, especially when I travel.

What do you do to protect yourself?

Comments welcome.

Source – Yahoo Finance

Do Colleges Make Big Bucks Selling Student Names To Credit Card Companies?

Colorado colleges, universities and alumni associations are allegedly making millions of dollars from banks and credit card companies. It seems that the colleges are selling the names of students, faculty and alumni members to credit card companies to be used to solicit credit card applications. Some schools even get a percentage of every credit card and debit card  transaction made by students or alumni.

Colleges claim they are helping their students by having them learn financial responsibility. According to a recent article it also states that:

“Young people are the future. If a bank can get them at the beginning, its long-term marketing,” said Gale Hillebrand, chief counsel at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports. “The debt treadmill is designed to generate revenue for years.”

“Providing young individuals with an introduction to basic banking services, like checking accounts and savings accounts, helps further financial literacy and bestow individuals with the basic tools to develop responsible financial habits,” Colorado Bankers Association spokesman Tim Powers said. “Universities are able to receive a source of income during a time when they are particularly stressed — income that does not have to come from tuition or the state.

In some cases, the contracts are worth millions of dollars to the school groups, which typically provide extensive lists of student and alumni names, addresses, e-mails and telephone numbers. It’s a virtual marketing gold mine for the banks.

I guess if the colleges open up brothels, they could say it helps the students to learn about sex. How about on campus saloons so the students could learn about drunkenness? The bottom line us that anything can be twisted to illustrate the benefits when any fool can see it is all about the money.

Comments welcome.

Source – denverpost.com