The advent of recent technology when it comes to convenience and streamlining of consumerism has been just short of miraculous. Purchase transactions can now take place in the blink of an eye. Thanks to the work of merchant services online, all but gone are the days when you would have to write a check for goods or services and send it to the company in order for them to send you the item you selected from their catalog. And all but gone are the days when you’d have to hold up the line at the grocery store while you draft a check and display your driver’s license to make your purchases.
Along with the convenience of credit card purchases and Internet shopping comes the risk of credit card scams. Identity theft has become a nuisance in our culture, costing billions of dollars annually. Identity theft affected the lives of over 11.5 million people in the year 2011. Many of these identity cases involved the illegal use of stolen or counterfeit credit cards. Last year there were over 5.5 billion dollars in credit card theft.
In order to accept credit cards, a business owner must have access to merchant services online. This requires that he or she acquire a merchant services account. It is not uncommon for credit card thieves to apply for one of these accounts so they can run the stolen cards as though the victims were purchasing items, with the expectation that the funds will be deposited in their accounts. Fortunately, technology, fused with common sense, has placed security measures to help keep this from occurring. This is done through the use of information probing, making the would-be merchant account holder answer a list of questions that the credit card processing company is privy to, and that only he or she would know (such as banking information, former addresses, etc.).
Another form of credit card fraud is easily accomplished by the work of malicious receipt collectors. For instance, if you should leave the customer’s copy of a receipt at a restaurant, and it has your credit card number printed on it, you have opened yourself up to credit card fraud. It displays your name, your signature and your card number. The perpetrator can look up your address, and that is enough information to start ripping you off. Fortunately many establishments are no longer printing the entire card number, but there are those that still do.
The best way to avoid being the victim of a credit card scam is to hang onto your cards and be vigilant of your account history. It is also a good idea to keep a photocopy of them in your home so that in the event that you lose them, you can call the issuer right away and have them cancelled.