Consumer Publications List
According to the National Fraud
Information Center, credit card fraud in the U.S. takes an annual toll of
slightly under $1 billion a year. But who pays the pricetag? We all do, in the
form of higher finance charges, annual fees, and costs for law
Con artists commit
fraud by stealing and selling credit cards, using counterfeit cards, and
operating mail order and telemarketing scams. Some thieves raid mailboxes and
trash cans to find credit cards and account numbers. And some clever scam
artists get this information through electronic eavesdropping and other
card companies are working to design more counterfeit-proof cards, you still
need to take some simple precautions to outsmart con artists and avoid becoming
another victim of fraud.
is an expert at robbing consumers' mail boxes for credit cards that have not yet
been signed by their owners. She simply signs the owner's name on the card and
heads for the shopping mall. The next day, she throws the card away and looks
for another one.
Be aware of when
your renewed cards and billing statements usually arrive so you can contact your
card issuer if there's a delay.
Sign new cards as
soon as they arrive. In a secure place, keep a record of all your card numbers,
expiration dates, phone numbers and addresses of the card issuers.
your cards to make sure none are missing.
Make it a practice
not to lend your credit card to anyone. When giving your card to a salesclerk,
keep it in view, and ask for it back promptly after an imprint has been
Gullible received a phone call from a woman promoting discount vacation
packages. All she needed was his credit card number and expiration date, she
said, to include him in a 'special deal' for a Hawaiian vacation. Gary found out
the offer was phony when he never received his airline tickets although his
credit card was charged for them.
Never give your
credit card number over the phone or computer unless you're dealing with a
company you know.
Don't put your
address and phone number on a credit card transaction form.Under Maryland law,
businesses cannot record or even request this information as a condition of
accepting your credit card.
If you pay by
check, don't allow salesclerks to record your credit card account number.
However, they are allowed to see your card and record the type (VISA,
Mastercard, etc.) and the name of the issuer.
Memorize your PIN
number (personal identification number) and don't keep it with your card. Don't
select a PIN that someone could easily guess, such as your phone number or
Helen was holiday shopping when her wallet was stolen from her purse. She didn't
realize until she got home that all ten of her credit cards had been stolen. She
was sorry she hadn't left home the eight cards she rarely uses.
blank receipts. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total when you
and voided receipts immediately.
Save all credit
card receipts in a secure place so that you can check them against each
Carry only the
cards you most frequently use, and leave the rest at home. If you don't use
certain cards at all, cut them up and throw them away.
Notify your card
company in advance of your change of address so new cards aren't sent to your
If you lose your
card or discover it's been stolen, call the card issuer immediately. Most have a
toll-free number. By law, you're not responsible for any unauthorized charges
from the time you report the loss or theft, so document the date and time you
called. If the cards are used before you report their loss, the most you'll have
to pay is $50 per card.
If you think
someone's used your credit card or account number without authorization, notify
the card issuer immediately.
Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection
DivisionConsumer hotline: (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258