Crime Prevention Tips
Credit Cards and ATM Cards
Do Not Give Out Your Credit Card Number Over the Phone
There are several ways an unauthorized user can gain access to your credit card number or ATM (Automated Teller Machine) number. A thief can steal your credit cards or a counterfeiter can find your account number from a credit card carbon. A counterfeiter can also learn your credit card number directly from you. For example, a telemarketer may call you offering a prize and requesting your credit card numbers to "verify your eligibility." This type of contest is merely a ploy to obtain the number. Legitimate contests do not require your credit card number. Always ask the telemarketer to send you notification in writing that you have won.
Watch Those Carbons
Counterfeiting is safer than using stolen cards. Since you haven't reported the card stolen, the number won't show up on any hot sheets. Also, the thief can make up supporting identification to go along with a stolen numb
What the Law Says
Federal Reserve regulations say that a credit card holder is liable for only $50 in unauthorized charges per account. Since, many people have more than one card, however, this can still result in significant losses. More importantly, it can take months to get unauthorized charges removed from a bill. With counterfeiting, the credit card company presumes you are guilty unless it is convinced that you are innocent.
The regulations that protect you from fraudulent use of ATM cards and the new "debit" cards are note quite as generous. You are liable for only $50 in unauthorized charges if you report the loss of an ATM card within two business days of the day you learn of the theft. If you wait longer than two days but less than 60 days, you are liable for up to $500 in charges. If you wait longer than sixty days, you may be required to pay the full amount with-drawn by someone else.
Questions, Suggestions or Comments?
Updated February 2004
Officer Ken Jackson, ccps