Credit card thieves and you

Every time I swipe my card and hear a warning beep, I am reminded that my card is new and carries a chip that requires it to be placed in the mouth of the keypad. This difference is one more feature designed to defeat credit card thieves. The chip cannot be transferred by thieves swiping the card on a magnetic reader.

Magnetic readers are still swiping cards at hundreds of thousands of gas stations, stores and restaurants across the country so we still have to be careful with whoever handles our card or the type of machines they use to do so. By paying attention, we may help catch a thief.

One type of thief takes your card and not only swipes it into the correct reader, they swipe the card into a second reader nearby or under the counter that captures your card information to be used or sold at a later time.

Another thief can take a counterfeit magnetic card reader and replace one at a self-service location where you would normally use your card, such as a gas station or ATM machine.

This fake reader will be placed under the normal reader and will attempt to capture the data while your card is being swiped through the real reader. Often a loose keypad or a second swiping area gives away this thief.

The last type of thief is a con artist who telephones you pretending to be from a legitimate company you could normally do business with such as a store, bank or credit card company. Their sole intent is to get your card number and three digit confirmation number from you. They pretend to have all or part of your information and merely need to confirm it to cover a needed transaction.

By supplying or confirming the missing information, you give the thief all they need to sell your card to other thieves. They may even try to gain more information to open up a fake account in your name. Thieves get pretty bold with a helpful victim.

Remember to be aware of your cards location and the information that it represents. You can foil a thief.

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