Christian Credit Card Identity Theft
Christian credit card identity theft is becoming just another negative outcome in the credit card problems facing Americans. Americans are plagued by easy access and now spend more than ever. Most retailers have company charge accounts and offer percentages off when signing up for a store account. The retailers also offer discounts on a regular basis to customers who use the retailer's card at the time of purchasing. With an onslaught of new ways to spend money, without seeing cash leave the hand, consumers are not paying attention to what is spent. Other consumers are aware of the amount spent but figure the balance can be paid off soon. A problem occurs when the balance is never paid attention to and more money is continually added to the previous balance. A second problem occurs when consumers begin to rack up a higher balance and decide to only pay the minimum due each month. With interest rates becoming higher, consumers are finding it more difficult to pay off the balance and therefore can only see paying the minimum as the temporary and most often, permanent solution.
Years ago, besides the bartering system, cash paid for items needed and wanted. The items most needed were purchased first and then if money was left over, items wanted were then considered for purchasing. Very few suppliers allowed customers to have a charge account, and few people wanted to run a tab with a supplier. Since that time, Americans have become a needy people and a need to have now people. The opportunity to have now, with little effort, by instant access, has caused more people to need. Current lifestyles can no longer support a cash only means of living. The opportunity provided by various methods of charging has created a revolving cycle and within that cycle, credit card identity theft is sure to strike.
Credit card identity theft often occurs because people become lax in knowing who the company is that they are providing personal information to during a transaction. Company sites that do not offer valid and/or known individual protection should be used with extreme caution. Extreme caution should also be taken if not much is known about the company or the company's employees. If a company is known to have a higher employee turnover rate, caution should be used. The company's ethics may be questionable at the employee and/or manager levels. "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16). Today's purchaser does not have the time to find out any information about a company. Consumers do not even take the time to see if a company is backed with a reputable identity theft protection system. A buyer risks name theft each time he or she uses their credit card.
TV commercials push the fast-paced life that occurs when a credit card is used. The commercials show agitated customers behind a buyer who is either paying with cash or with a check. Sunshine and happiness are supreme when the fast track of charging occurs. As soon as other means of payment are used, the world becomes a picture of gloom and doom. With such advertisements abounding, shoppers may be worried of how others will view their payment methods. The media has a way of painting a picture to create a reaction favorable to certain situations.
However, along with the commercials pushing the use of the instant charging methods are commercials warning about identity theft. Just as quickly as a consumer can use his or her personal methods for charging, so can a person performing credit card identity theft. The customer focused on instant access and fast transactions does not appear to be phased by the threat of credit card identity theft. So, while instant access can offer advantages such as more time to spend elsewhere and the opportunity for larger purchases, a purchaser must be aware of and ready for the negative impacts which surround being a member of the card holding society.
Name theft can start as innocently as a fake ID and often at a young age. Some fake IDs may only be the fabrication of a person. Most fake IDs, however, are usually created using information from the identity of one or more persons. Once one identity is assumed, a second identity may not be so hard to obtain. Credit card identity theft may also become more rampant as people understand how to use computer and other technical equipment to create false identities. Another cause for identity theft may occur as prices rise with no relief of higher paying jobs, additional money at current jobs, or other means of support.
Curtailing credit card identity theft is the responsibility of the consumer and retailer. The retailer can offer more stringent methods of protection, including hiring employees who posses higher ethics. The customer needs to know who is handling their personal information. The buyer should also keep an eye on their credit score. A report can show if bills are being paid on time and if suspicious activity may be occurring. Sometimes the activity can be so minor that a card company and the cardholder may be unaware. With more establishments only requiring ID after spending $25.00, a person committing credit card identity theft can eat, shop, buy gas, and more without becoming a suspect for theft.
Christian Credit Card Fraud ProtectionThe best credit card fraud protection procedures are mostly about using common sense to avoid getting into situations in which credit card or other personal information could be compromised. Most companies offer some form of credit card fraud protection, and have 24/7 toll-free numbers to report unauthorized purchases. The card owner's liability is generally limited to $50 in a worst-case scenario, and even that liability is not viable if the purchase happens after the card has been reported lost or stolen. Some companies waive responsibility for unauthorized purchases in all cases, as a reassurance to hesitant customers. If the number is somehow used even without the card itself being taken, the cardholder is also not responsible for unauthorized use. However, all evidence of improper use should be reported as soon as it is discovered. A company may have a time limit for reporting such incidences without culpability.
Be sure to review the card statement when it is received, and especially after fraud has been reported. If corrections have not been made, it would be wise to report the incorrect information again to the credit card fraud protection department of the issuer by phone and by letter, specifying the amount and the date when it was first reported. Some companies offer a service where all credit cards are registered, so that if a wallet is lost or stolen, one call will enable the company to alert the various issuers to flag that item so that no fraudulent purchases can be made. The cardholder can also do this personally without the help of these agencies. If you choose to make use of such a service, read the terms and limits of service carefully. If a service fails to report the fraud promptly, be sure that they, not the cardholder, will pay the consequences.
Beware of telephone 'phishing', where an attempt may be made to collect personal information in deceptive ways in order to use it to open other cards or lines of credit. Legitimate companies do not call or email customers to 'verify' account numbers or social security numbers, but scam artists often do. If a person is in doubt as to whether a contact is legitimate, he or she can refuse to give the information and inform the person that the cardholder will personally call the issuer's department which is involved in credit card fraud protection in order to straighten out the matter. If the caller is legitimate, he will not have a problem with this action, or may even suggest doing this to reassure the customer.
Less a matter of fraud than just annoyance, some businesses will try to sell consumers some type of insurance to provide credit card fraud protection. However, this is an unnecessary expense. The Federal Trade Commission limits the liability for unauthorized charges to $50. Instead, if a purchase was not authorized, contact the credit issuer to obtain procedures for disputing charges. Individuals should not allow any telephone solicitor to intimidate them into giving out personal information, as this could easily lead to fraud or identity theft. Be sure to communicate this idea to elderly cardholders who are often targeted for such schemes. It is not rude to refuse to give out personal information until the situation has been verified. Also, do not blindly accept that the caller is indeed from the 'security department' or 'fraud alert section' of the supposed company.
One way to avoid online fraud is to be sure that any purchases are made over a secure site. Most vendors will advertise their security features on their website. Also, beware of copycat sites which may try to imitate a legitimate business' site. As with the telephone situation above, do not respond to emails asking for personal information for 'verification' purposes. If the buyer wishes to make a purchase online, he or she should type the web address into the browser, rather than click on email notifications about the company. Sites which are frequently visited may be bookmarked for future use. This way a person can know that they are arriving at an actual website and not at a clever imitation. Become your own credit card fraud protection service!
Other common sense practices include keeping a close eye on credit cards at all times and shredding applications for unwanted cards or unused 'special' checks from a card issuer. Many companies offer to include a picture of the cardholder on the front of the credit card as a means of credit card fraud protection. Do not carry too many credit cards. This can help keep a budget under control as well as limit losses if a purse or wallet becomes lost or stolen.
In speaking of Christian credit card fraud protection, one can not help but think of the ones who commit such crimes. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes, "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death." (Proverbs 10:2) Those who commit fraud often have a short-sighted view of their actions, not realizing that the 'benefits' are fleeting and judgment is certain. A far more satisfying course of action would be to work with their own hands to earn what they need, and even to experience the joy of giving to others. The book of Proverbs has many other bits of information about handling finances in a godly way and the satisfaction and blessing which comes from doing what is right.