Whose fault is credit card fraud

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Page B2   I   Walton Sun   I   June 25, 2005

                                               Whose fault is
                                               credit card fraud?
                                                                               ple will no longer have to
                                                                               rush to beat thieves to the
                                                                               mailbox and spend time
                                                                               shredding the day’s 10 var-
                                                                               ious low 1.9 percent APR
                                                                                  According to the U.S.
                                                                               Department of Justice,
                                                                               identity theft is the fastest
                                                                               growing crime in the U.S.
                                                                               And that isn’t only due to
                                                                               dumpster divers and mail
                                                                               thieves. A lot of it has the
                                                                               do with the vast Web and
                                                                               the breach of information
                                                                               that happens ever so often
                                                                               in this day and age.

                                                    You think?
                                                                                  On June 17, Visa found a
                                                                               major security breach
                                                                               when it investigated multi-
                                                   By Pasha Carroll            ple cardholder accounts
                                                                               riddled with fraudulent
                                                  There is a crime, rarely     charges. Hackers had
                                               thought of 30 years ago,        accessed 40 million credit
                                               now being committed             card holders information
                                               every 79 seconds.               including security codes
                                                  The crime is when a          and account numbers.
                                               thief steals your identity         There are multiple ways
                                               then opens accounts in the      it could have been prevent-
                                               your name, according to         ed.
                                               CBS on Jan. 25            First, CardSystems Solu-
                                               2001.                           tions (the credit card pro-
                                                  Credit card fraud does-      cessing center that was
                                               n’t only happen when your       hacked) admitted they
                                               wallet has been lost or         should not have kept the
                                               stolen. Nowadays it is a        information in databases.
                                               whole new ballgame. Many        (Representative’s say they
                                               times the victims have no       did for research purposes.)
                                               idea they are being used as        Second, the processing
                                               such until it is too late.      center’s computer systems
                                                  Disturbingly, your iden-     should have prevented it.
                                               tity can be snatched                   Fraud detection stan-
                                               without you                                   dards are high
                                               ever know-                                       in the cred-
                                               ing about                                           it card
                                               it. That                                              process-
                                               is until                                               ing
                                               it’s too                                                world,
                                               late.                                                   but it
                                                  It                                                   only
                                               makes                                                  takes
                                               you                                                   one out-
                                               think,                                              of-date
                                               should a                                          company to
                                               credit card                                   compromise
                                               company be held                         that.
                                               liable for a stolen identity       So, just when you think
                                               caused by a card offer that     that you are safe, you
                                               a person never solicited or     shred every piece of mail
                                               even knew about?                meticulously and keep a
                                                  Many times an identity       watchful eye on your wal-
                                               thief takes credit card         let, there is s new trick up
                                               offers unopened, from peo-      the thief’s sleeve.
                                               ple’s mailbox. He or she           Florida has the 4th-high-
                                               then opens the account and      est rate of identity theft,
                                               charges away.                   according to a Federal
                                                  Well, that certainly was-    Trade Commission report
                                               n’t Joe Shmoe’s fault that      in 2002.
                                               the credit card company            There seems to be noth-
                                               sent him an unsolicited         ing the average Joe Shmoe
                                               offer. It wasn’t his fault he   can do about it, unless
                                               wasn’t waiting at the mail-     precedence is set in court.
                                               box for his junk mail to be        You think that huge com-
                                               delivered.                      panies like MasterCard,
                                                  So who gets the ugly end     Visa, Discover and Ameri-
                                               of the stick?                   can Express will ever take
                                                  Well, Joe Shmoe does, of     responsibility for the
                                               course. He has to spend         hours of manpower it
                                               countless hours, days,          takes to reverse the dam-
                                               months and even years           age that results from cred-
                                               repairing his tarnished         it card fraud.
                                               credit.                            Sure, they may take
                                                  The credit card company      responsibility for the
                                               does not take responsibili-     charges. But for the hours
                                               ty. Yeah, maybe the ole boy     it takes to erase such a
                                               doesn’t have to pay those       fraud from one’s credit
                                               charges, but he does pay        history … priceless.
                                               the price on his credit
                                               report.                         ‘You think’ is a weekly rumina-
                                                  Hopefully, one of these      tion that plagues Pasha Car-
                                               victims will wise up, sue       roll’s brain. If you have some-
                                               the giant card company for      thing to say, call her directly
                                               millions or more, then peo-     (850) 267-4555.

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