Credit card theft costs companies and customers billions of dollars per year. And it is happening here on the Central Coast.
Cards are a convenience and carrying cash is becoming less common. The plastic has also come with enhanced security measures like the chip to help stop replication of card numbers and magnetic strips.
But how many times are you asked for your ID to match the name and face to the card? One theft victim we spoke to says it doesn’t happen enough.
On Sunday, San Luis Obispo Police identified a couple suspected of stealing credit cards, then attempting to purchase as many items as possible.
A similar situation happened to Eric Harman and his wife. Their car was broken into. Again.
“This is the second time it’s happened in six months,” Harman said. “And every time the assailants have tried to use our credit card at multiple locations.”
Harman’s credit card company alerted him to the fraud.
The suspect is just one of dozens police have posted over the last year on social media.
“We really try to get the community involved to try and solve this problem,” Sgt. Jeff Booth said.
It works too. The public has helped successfully identify a number of suspects thanks to the public’s help.
Boothe it doesn’t take much for a card to get swiped and there are businesses that don’t ask for ID when credit card purchases are made.
“It’s customer service based,” he said. “Somebody is not demanding your driver’s license every time you pull out your credit card to purchase something.”
Every business has its own policy, but Harman says asking for an ID could have stopped the fraudulent purchase.
“If they had asked about, and had showed an ID, it was my wife’s credit card, so it was a female’s name,” Harman said. “I think just a little bit of diligence on the part of a cashier might help us all in these cases of identity thefts and card thefts.”
Couple of tips to help you, add alerts to your phone for any purchase. You can get a push alert and that could be the difference if something looks funny, you can alert your card company immediately.
Call the card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24 hour service to deal with this.
Once you report the loss or theft, the law says you have no additional responsibility for charges you didn’t make; in any case, your liability for each card lost or stolen is $50. If you suspect that the card was used fraudulently, you may have to sign a statement under oath that you didn’t make the purchases in question
As for debit cards, some banks require notification immediately, or else you could get penalized for money stolen from your account.
Let’s say you lost your debit card or PIN or either was stolen, the Consumer Finanical Protection Bureau states. If you notify your bank or credit union within two business days of discovering the loss or theft of the card, the bank or credit union can’t hold you responsible for more than the amount of any unauthorized transactions or $50, whichever is less. If you notify your bank or credit union after two business days, you could be responsible for up to $500 in unauthorized transactions.
Also, if your bank or credit union sends your statement that shows an unauthorized debit, you should notify them within 60 days. If you wait longer, you could also have to pay the full amount of any transactions that occurred after the 60-day period and before you notify your bank or credit union. In order to hold you responsible for those transactions, your bank or credit union would have to show that if you notified them before the end of the 60-day period, the transactions would not have occurred.