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Protecting your Identity when Making Card Purchases

When out shopping, whether it’s at the grocery store, a restaurant, or a retailer, more than half of American consumers reach for their credit card or debit card when it comes time to make payment.  While using credit to make purchases is the simplest way to pay what you owe, it can also be the easiest way for your identity to be compromised. 

Sign Your Credit Card Receipts

When it comes to protecting your identity, follow these simple rules of the road when making a credit card purchase and you should be safe from being the next victim of identity theft.  First, try to always sign your credit card receipts.  A signature on your credit card receipt is supposed to act as a safety mechanism for the merchants to compare your signature on the back of your card to your receipt.  You may have noticed when you are making smaller purchases, under $50, you are not required to sign.  This is because merchants generally have a safety program that protects them from fraud under a certain dollar amount.

Hold On To Your Credit Card Receipts

Hold on to your credit card receipts.  As a general rule of thumb, financial experts say you should hold onto your receipts for a period of five years.  When it comes to returning purchases, a receipt is usually the only way you can receive a refund.  With more advanced computer systems, some merchants are able to look up your purchases with a phone number or by the credit card you used.  Another reason to hold on to your receipts is to review your monthly credit card statements and cross reference your purchases. 

Review Your Credit Card Receipts

Review your credit card receipts to ensure that confidential information is not showing.  Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”), your credit card number or primary account number must be abbreviated on your receipt to protect your privacy.  Additionally, these statutes state that the date of expiration and the CVV (the three or four digit code on the back of your card) also may not be printed on your receipt.  Receipts must include the name and address of the merchant, an authorization code or approval code for the charge, and detailed transaction information including the date time and dollar amount charged to your card.

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If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or need the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.

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