Credit Card Safety
Sunday, December 03, 2006

In much the same way that a resume displays your work experience to a prospective employer, A credit report provides prospective creditors (and in some cases employers and insurers too) with a detailed picture of your credit history. And like a resume, your credit report can influence whether you will receive what you are applying for.
Ideally, your credit report is an accurate, up-to-date reflection of your credit history. However, since we don't live in an ideal world, there are many reasons that your credit report could contain inaccuracies that might prevent you from receiving the credit you deserve. The good news is you can take action to keep your report accurate. Here are the top five reasons why you should make a practice of regularly reviewing your credit report:Inaccuracies & Mixed Credit Files
Many inaccuracies on a credit report can be the result of simple human error, and are therefore are not difficult to dispute. Of course, if you don't order your credit report, you might never know about it. Whether the inaccuracies relate to payments not credited, late payments, or data mixed in from the credit file of someone else with a name similar to yours, you will want to contact the credit bureau to dispute inaccurate information promptly. Tracking Payments
One of the most important elements of credit is a demonstrated history of on time payments. Once you send the check though, anything can happen--a delay in the payment being received can kick you over to a 30-day delinquency. If you call your creditor and explain the situation, they might adjust the information. Of course, if you don't read your credit report, you won't necessarily know which payments are being received and reported properly. Identity Theft
This issue alone is reason to order your credit report immediately. Identity theft is an insidious crime, involving a thief who assumes your name to open new accounts, divert your card statements to another address, and run up all sorts of bad debt without you ever knowing about it until collectors come calling. Over time, identity theft could jeopardize your ability to obtain further credit. The best way to catch a thief who is using your name is by getting a copy of your credit report, which will show you if there are accounts listed you know you haven't opened. For example, if a thief has intercepted a pre-approved credit card offer in your name and sent it in with a change of address, your credit report will include the account. Inquiries
If you're shopping around for a loan or more credit, you should know that when creditors check your credit, it places an inquiry on your credit report. Inquiries can add up, which is often interpreted as a negative by creditors. For this reason, too many inquiries can actually make getting credit more difficult. Moreover, if you didn't authorize someone to look at your credit report and they did, they may have broken the law.
Credit Fraud--Unauthorized Charges
Credit fraud involves the theft of your credit card or account number to make unauthorized charges to your account. Though consumers are protected financially from this abuse, other creditors may take note of all this activity and decide to raise your interest rates or refuse to grant you a loan. Ordering your credit report will help you catch new activity on accounts that you haven't been using, or may have closed.
When it comes to managing your credit worthiness, your credit report is your best resource. Ordering your credit report gives you the opportunity to manage your credit wisely today, while planning your credit strategy for achieving future goals--
a credit-savvy move every consumer should make!
Click Here to Learn More About Credit Repair
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Friday, September 22, 2006
WARNING...New Credit Card Scam.....This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information,except the one piece they want. WARNING ... Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.
This information is worth reading.By understanding how the VISA & MasterCardTelephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.
One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard". The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA.
My Badge number is 12460
Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based inArizona?
" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will beissuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit willbe sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"
You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of yourcard (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works.
The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your cardnumber, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'llsay, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card.Do you have any other questions?" After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA SecurityDepartment told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchaseof $497.99 was charged to our card. I checked this out onwww site cannot be linked for legal reasons.Long story made short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISAaccount. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the3-digit PIN number on the back of the card.Don't give it to them. Instead,tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card!If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report. What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a"Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISAscam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a policereport, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several ofthese reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other,we protect each other.
read more leave comments or pass this on, stop the crooks.If you hear of other tricks please post to the blogspot spread the word.
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Friday, April 14, 2006

Try this one for Size...

This is a new one. People sure stay busy trying to cheat us, don't
A friend went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the
locker. After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker open, an
thought to himself, "Funny, I thought I locked the locker. Hmmmmm." He dressed
and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order. Everything looked
okay - all cards were in place.

A few weeks later his credit card bill
came - a whooping bill of $14,000!

He called the credit
card company
and started yelling at them, saying that he did not make the
transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake in the
system and asked if his card had been stolen.

"No," he said, but then
took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and yep - you guessed it - a
switch had been made. An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in
the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.

Verdict: The credit card issuer said since he did not report the card
missing earlier, he would have to pay the amount owed to them. How much did
he have to pay for items he did not buy? $9,000! Why were there no calls made to
verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a "warning bell" with
some credit card companies. It just so happens that all the small amounts added
up to big one!

SCENE 2. A man at a local
restaurant paid for his meal with his credit card. The bill for the meal came,
he signed it, and the waitress folded the receipt and passed the credit

Usually, he would just take it and place it in his wallet or
pocket. Funny enough, though, he actually took a look at the card and, lo and
behold, it was the expired card of another person. He called the waitress and
she looked perplexed. She took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the
counter under the watchful eye of the man. All the waitress did while walking to
the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the
counter cashier immediately looked down and took out the real card. No
exchange of words --- nothing! She took it and came back to the man with an

Verdict: Make sure the credit cards in your wallet at yours.
Check the Name on the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is
taken away for even a short period of time. Many people just take
back the credit card without even looking at it, "assuming" that it has to be


SCENE 3: Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick
up an order that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of
course, is linked directly to my checking account.

The young man behind
the counter took my card, swiped it, then laid it on the counter as he waited
for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure. While he waited, he picked
up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone because it is the
same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then I heard a click
that sounded like my phone Sounds when I take a picture. He then gave me back my
card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking: I wonder what he is taking a picture of, oblivious to
what was really going on. It then dawned on me: the only thing there was my
credit card, so now I'm paying close attention to what he is doing.

set his phone on the counter, leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard
the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved.

Now I'm
standing there struggling with the fact that this boy just took a picture
of my credit card. Yes, he played it off well, because had we not had the same
kind of phone, I probably would never have known what happened. Needless to say,
I immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor.

All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever
you are using your credit cards, take caution and don't be careless. Notice who
is standing near you and what they are doing when you use your card. Be aware of
phones because many have a camera phone these days.

When you are in a
restaurant and the waiter/waitress brings your card and receipt for you to sign,
make sure you scratch the number off. Some restaurants are using only the last
four digits, but a lot of them are still putting the whole thing on there. I
have already been a victim of credit card fraud and, believe me, it is not fun.
The truth is that they can get you even when you are careful, but don't make it
easy for them.


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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  Credit Card Facts For Consumers
A Consumer's Guide to E-Payments
The Internet has taken its place beside the telephone and television as an important part of people’s lives. Consumers use the Internet to shop, bank and invest online. Most consumers use credit or debit cards to pay for online purchases, but other payment methods, like “e-wallets,” are becoming more common. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants you to know about these payment technologies and how to make your transactions as safe and secure as possible. Keep these tips in mind as other forms of electronic commerce, like mobile and wireless transactions, become more available.
Most online shoppers use credit cards to pay for their online purchases. But debit cards — which authorize merchants to debit your bank account electronically — are increasing in use. Your debit card may be an automated teller machine (ATM) card that can be used for retail purchases. To complete a debit card transaction, you may have to use a personal identification number (PIN), some form of a signature or other identification, or a combination of these identifiers. Some cards have both credit and debit features: You select the payment option at the point-of-sale. But remember, although a debit card may look like a credit card, the money for debit purchases is transferred almost immediately from your bank account to the merchant’s account. In addition, your liability limits for a lost or stolen debit card and unauthorized use are different from your liability if your credit card is lost, stolen or used without your authorization. Other electronic payment systems — sometimes referred to as “electronic money” or “e-money” — also are now common. Their goal is to make purchasing simpler. For example, “stored-value” cards let you transfer cash value to a card. They’re commonly used on public transportation, at colleges and universities, at gas stations, and for prepaid telephone use. Many retailers also sell stored-value cards in place of gift certificates. Some stored-value cards work offline, say, to buy a candy bar at a vending machine; others work online, for example, to buy an item from a website; some have both offline and online features. Some cards can be “reloaded” with additional value, at a cash machine; other cards are “disposable” — you throw them away after you use all their value. Some stored-value cards contain computer chips that make them “smart” cards: These cards may act like a credit card as well as a debit card, and also may contain stored value. Some Internet-based payment systems allow value to be transmitted through computers, sometimes called “e-wallets.” You can use “e-wallets” to make “micropayments” — very small online or offline payments for things like a magazine or fast food. When you buy something using your e-wallet, the balance on your online account decreases by that amount. “E-wallets” may work by using some form of stored value or by automatically accessing an account you’ve set up through a computer system connected to your credit or debit card account.
The FTC encourages you to take steps to make sure your transactions are secure and your personal information is protected. Although you can’t control fraud or deception on the Internet, you can take action to recognize it, avoid it and report it. Here’s how.
Use a secure browser — software that encrypts or scrambles the purchase information you send over the Internet — to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer. You also can download some browsers for free over the Internet. When submitting your purchase information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, and the phrase “https” in the URL address for a website, to be sure your information is secure during transmission.
Check the site’s privacy policy, before you provide any personal financial information to a website. In particular, determine how the information will be used or shared with others. Also check the site’s statements about the security provided for your information. Some websites’ disclosures are easier to find than others — look at the bottom of the home page, on order forms or in the “About” or “FAQs” section of a site. If you’re not comfortable with the policy, consider doing business elsewhere.
Read and understand the refund and shipping policies of a website you visit, before you make your purchase. Look closely at disclosures about the website’s refund and shipping policies. Again, search through the website for these disclosures.
Keep your personal information private. Don’t disclose your personal information — your address, telephone number, Social Security number, bank account number or e-mail address — unless you know who’s collecting the information, why they’re collecting it and how they’ll use it.
Give payment information only to businesses you know and trust, and only when and where it is appropriate — like an order form. Never give your password to anyone online, even your Internet service provider. Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know. Opening a file could expose your system to a computer virus or a program that could hijack your modem.
Keep records of your online transactions and check your e-mail for contacts by merchants with whom you’re doing business. Merchants may send you important information about your purchases.
Review your monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases promptly and thoroughly. Notify your credit or debit card issuer immediately if your credit or debit card or checkbook is lost or stolen, or if you suspect someone is using your accounts without your permission.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) establish protections against lost or stolen credit or debit cards, and procedures for resolving errors on credit and bank account statements that can include:
credit charges or electronic fund transfers that you — or anyone you’ve authorized to use your account — have not made;
credit charges or electronic fund transfers that are incorrectly identified or show the wrong amount or date;
computation or similar errors;
a failure to properly reflect payments or credits, or electronic fund transfers;
not mailing or delivering credit billing statements to your current address, as long as that address was received by the creditor in writing at least 20 days before the billing period ended; and
credit charges or electronic fund transfers for which you request an explanation or documentation, because of a possible error.
For credit: The FCBA generally applies to “open end” credit accounts — that is, credit cards and revolving charge accounts, like department store accounts. It does not apply to loans or credit sales that are paid according to a fixed schedule until the entire amount is paid back, like an automobile loan.
Lost or stolen credit cards: Under the FCBA, your liability for lost or stolen credit cards is limited to $50. If the loss involves only your credit card number (not the card itself), you have no liability for unauthorized use. It’s best to notify your card issuer promptly upon discovering the loss. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. Always follow up with a letter and keep a copy for your records.
Billing errors: The FCBA’s settlement procedures apply to disputes about “billing errors” for open-end accounts, including unauthorized charges (you cannot be liable for more than $50 for unauthorized credit charges); charges for goods or services you didn’t accept or weren’t delivered as agreed; charges that are incorrectly identified or show the wrong amount or date; math errors; a failure to properly reflect payments or credits; not mailing or delivering credit billing statements to your current address, if the address was received by the creditor in writing at least 20 days before the billing period ended; and charges for which you request an explanation or documentation, because of a possible error.
To take advantage of the FCBA’s consumer protections for errors on your account, write to the creditor at the address given for “billing inquiries,” not the address for sending your payments. Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error. Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you. And if you send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, you’ll have proof that the creditor received it. Include copies (not originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.
The creditor must acknowledge your dispute in writing within 30 days after it is received, unless the problem is resolved within that period. The creditor must con-duct an investigation and either correct the mistake or explain why the bill is believed to be correct, within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days), unless the creditor provides a permanent credit instead. You may withhold payment of the amount in dispute and any related finance charges and the creditor may not take any action to collect that amount during the dispute.
For debit: The EFTA applies to electronic fund transfers — transactions involving automated teller machines (ATMs), debit cards and other point-of-sale debit transactions, and other electronic banking transactions that can result in the withdrawal of cash from your bank account. Lost or stolen debit cards: If someone uses your debit card, or makes other electronic fund transfers, without your permission, you can lose from $50 to $500 or more, depending on when you report the loss or theft. If you report the loss within two business days after you discover the problem, you will not be responsible for more than $50 for unauthorized use. However, if you do not report the loss within two business days after you realize the card is missing, but you do report its loss within 60 days after your statement is mailed to you, you could lose as much as $500 because of an unauthorized withdrawal. And, if you do not report an unauthorized transfer or withdrawal within 60 days after your statement is mailed to you, you risk unlimited loss. That means you could lose all the money in your account and the unused portion of your maximum line of credit established for overdrafts. Some financial institutions may voluntarily cap your liability at $50 for certain types of transactions, regardless of when you report the loss or theft; because this is voluntary, their policies could change at any time. Ask your financial institution about its liability limits.
EFT errors: The EFTA’s error procedures apply to certain problems. This can include:
electronic fund transfers that you — or anyone you’ve authorized to use your account — have not made;
incorrect electronic fund transfers;
omitted electronic fund transfers;
a failure to properly reflect electronic fund transfers; and
electronic fund transfers for which you request an explanation or documentation, because of a possible error.
To take advantage of the EFTA’s error resolution procedures, you must notify your financial institution of the problem not later than 60 days after the statement containing the problem or error was sent. Although most financial institutions have a toll-free number to report the problem, you should follow-up in writing. For retail purchases, your financial institution has up to 10 business days to investigate after receiving your notice of the error. The financial institution must tell you the results of its investigation within three business days of completing its investigation. The error must be corrected within one business day after determining the error has occurred. If the institution needs more time, it may take up to 90 days, in many situations, to complete the investigation — but only if it returns the money in dispute to your account within 10 business days after receiving notice of the error, while it reviews your concerns.
For stored-value: The FCBA and the EFTA may not cover stored-value cards or transactions involving them, so you may not be covered for loss or misuse of the card. However, stored-value cards still might be useful for micropayments and other small purchases online because they can be convenient and — in some cases — offer anonymity. Before you buy a stored-value card or other form of e-money, ask the issuer for written information about the product’s features. Find out the card’s dollar limit, whether it is reloadable or disposable, if there’s an expiration date, and any fees to use, reload or redeem (return it for a refund) the product. At the same time, ask about your rights and responsibilities. For example, does the issuer offer any protection in the case of a lost, stolen, misused, or malfunctioning card, and who do you call if you have a question or problem with the card?
Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency and law enforcement agencies like the Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General are among the many organizations working to help consumers understand electronic commerce and new online payment options.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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