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Credit Card Theft Article

posted Oct 22, 2014, 8:25 AM by Craig Cox   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 8:26 AM ]
There was a News Journal / USA Today feature on October 20 (October 21 newspaper) about the widespread incidence of credit card theft.  From the article:
  • Nearly 439 million records were stolen in the past six months
  • Nearly 519 million records were stolen in the past 12 months
  • About 35% of the thefts were from website breaches
  • 22% were from cyberespionage
  • 14% occurred at the point of sale when someone bought something at a retail store
  • 9% came when someone swiped a credit or debit card
  • About 110 million Americans — equivalent to about 50% of U.S. adults — have had their personal data exposed in some form in the past year
The article goes on to talk about what law enforcement is doing, which is great; what businesses can do, which some are doing, and more will be following suit; and what congress can do.  It unhappily neglects to mention what you can do.  So, here are some pointers:
  • Always read your account statements and balance them; see our Resource page for more information.
  • Keep an eye on your credit report. More details at that same link.
  • Prefer the use of credit cards to debit cards, if you can.*  There is often less liability for loss, if you report theft in time.
  • Make sure your bank card companies have your phone number.  They often call about suspicious transactions.  Of course, so do scammers, so if the bank calls about suspicious transactions you should thank them, hang up, and call back the number printed on your card.
*I am not advocating running up credit card debt.  Use credit to limit your liability, but pay off the card every month to avoid finance charges.