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Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

Home Financial Literacy Credit and Debit Fraud and Identity Theft

Fraud and Identity Theft

Every year, several million Americans are hurt by credit card fraud.

Last year, Evelyn, a 75 year-old from Des Moines replied to a plea she received in an email from her friend, Mary. Evidently Mary had been stranded in London without any money. Evelyn, kind woman that she is, hurriedly sent her credit card info as Mary requested. And it’s taken all that time since for Evelyn to try and recover from what turned out to be a phishing scam. Not only has she had to pay for some of the charges that the phisher charged on her credit card, but her credit score fell 250 points and she still gets collection calls from a company trying to make her pay for one of the illegal charges.

Bob got off easy. His credit card was declined and when he called to find out what the problem was, his bank had frozen his account because they “detected fraudulent activities” using his card number. It turns out their customer database had been hacked by a former internet security consultant, Max Vision, who then charged millions using the stolen card numbers.

Have you heard this one? "A man said his credit card was stolen, but he decided not to report it. The thief was spending less than his wife did."

Top tips to confuse credit card criminals

• Handle your card with care

o Sign the back.

o Keep an eye on your credit card every time you use it.

o Carefully look over your credit card statement for unauthorized charges.

• Credit card fraud commonly happens online.

o Change your passwords often and clear them from your browser.

o Don’t used shared/public computers for online banking.

o Check that you’re on a secure website (https) before making an online transaction.

• Check out your credit report at least once a year. Be on the look-out for problems like

o Unfamiliar accounts

o New credit opened in your name

o Collection agency activity

• Shred all papers with info a crook could use (things like credit offers in the mail, bank statements, social security statements, pay stubs)

• Watch for phishing emails where you’re asked to verify your credit card info.

• Never give out your credit card info on an incoming phone call.

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