http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/347101

Chief Justice's credit card theft sparks renewed consumer caution Special

Posted Apr 2, 2013 by Michael Essany
The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts recently revealed that he was the victim of credit card information theft.
Chief Justice of the United States
John G. Roberts, Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Supreme Court of the United States
Roberts was forced to cancel his credit card when someone successfully managed to obtain the numbers.
Details surrounding how the information theft occurred aren't known. But the incident has sparked renewed concerns about the prevalence of identity theft.
Earlier this year, the United States Department of Justice reported that cases of credit card theft have increased 31 percent over the last three years, and the number of households victimized by more than one type of identity theft has increased 37 percent in the same period.
But in response to news of the chief justice's identity theft scare, thousands of consumers are taking a closer look at their own vulnerabilities.
"In the last week, there has been a marked increase in social media and search activity related to credit card fraud and identity theft prevention measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of victimization," independent business analyst Mike Randazzo tells Digital Journal.
"To date, one of the biggest mistakes consumers make is trusting shady eCommerce stores with their personal information," Randazzo says.
Fortunately, consumers are becoming increasingly more knowledgable of the basic steps they can take to reduce their risk of falling victim to identity theft or credit card fraud.
"Smart businesses want you to know that they have a PCI-compliant payment solution," Randazzo says. "If they don't, take your business elsewhere."
Since the start of 2013, the PCI Security Standards Council has reported a large influx of merchants looking to become participating organizations that support PCI Security Standards.
Endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc., the PCI Security Standards require merchants and service providers that store, process or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to information security controls and processes that ensure data protection.
"This is why name recognition is so important in protecting your financial information," Randazzo explains. "There's a reason why 180,000 businesses process $13 billion in payment transactions every year through North American Bancard. They offer a trusted, PCI-compliant credit card processing service. For consumers, that level of trust is just as important. If you don't know or can't readily find out who is processing your credit card information, you may be wise to go shopping somewhere else."
Although progress continues to be made in the fight against credit card fraud, this unfortunate criminal phenomenon costs card issuers and holders nearly $500 million dollars per year.
So what else can you do to reduce your risk of being victimized. According to the FTC, other fraud protection practices include:
- Don’t give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable.
- Carry your cards separately from your wallet. I
- During a transaction, keep your eye on your card. Make sure you get it back before you walk away.
- Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
- Save your receipts to compare with your statement.
- Open your bills promptly — or check them online often — and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made.
- Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
- Notify your card issuer if your address changes or if you will be traveling.
- Don’t write your account number on the outside of an envelope.