Identity Theft Credit Card
Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft
We all know how important it is to protect our credit card information. Misuse of credit cards is probably the
biggest identity theft risk exposure for most of us. Everyday use of your credit card was once a big risk. It used
to be easy for criminals to get your card's number, your name and the card's expiry date from the carbon slips in
restaurant and retail waste bins. Now it's getting harder for them to obtain all the details they need to use your
Today most credit card transactions are electronic, and usually the retailer's copy of the receipt only shows an
unusable part of your card's number. Retailers now track back with the banks, if necessary, using a separate
transaction code, not your card's number. If your card does not leave your sight - and it is still wise to be very
careful about that - there is now little risk your details can be stolen in everyday use.
The extra little printed security code number on the back is now often used for internet, mail order or
telephone transactions using your card. You need the card in your hand, not just a carbon copy slip, to know that
number. Protecting that number is another good reason for never letting your credit card out of your sight.
You should make sure you sign your new credit card as soon as you receive it. Copying your signature is
possible, but retailers risk losing money if they do not confirm at least a reasonable similarity between the
user's signature and the signature on the card. Some credit cards companies offer the option of having your
photograph appear on your credit card. This makes using your card very difficult for a thief, much more so than
fraudulently copying your signature sufficiently well to get past the checkout clerk.
It is easy to overlook the importance of keeping your credit card under your control, and in a secure place at
all times. A category of identity fraud is the "NOOP" fraud, where the card is Not Out Of your Possession. You may
not even be aware of the fraud. In this case the identity thief "borrows" your card to use it, then returns it.
This type of fraud is sometimes carried out by a family member, or by a work colleague.
Finally, watch what information you put out in your rubbish or trash bin. You should shred your old expired
credit cards, your credit card slips and your credit card statements before you toss them out with the trash. This
policy should also apply to any other identity documentation you dispose of, and making this a routine practice is
a sound defence against identity theft.