More on credit card fraud, phishing, and an email advocating a gas boycott:
Internet ScamBusters #80
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
Today we have a really interesting ‘Snippets’ issue for you. You’ll learn more
about credit card fraud (wow, did we get some fascinating feedback and new info
since last week!), a new Internet Explorer bug that is inviting phishing scams,
and a new email going around on gas prices and a gasoline boycott.
Before we get going, we’d like to
ask you to check out two new ebooks that we think you’ll find particularly useful.
One is on car
buying scams — so check it out if you’re in the market for a new
or used car. The second is on the first new book on starting
an Internet business
that we’ve highly recommend in over a year.
Remember, it’s these promos that keep Internet ScamBusters free. And we only
recommend products we review, highly recommend and use ourselves.
OK. On to today’s snippets…
Credit Card Fraud
When we wrote our article on ‘Credit
Card Fraud: 21 Tips to Protect Yourself‘ last week, we certainly
did not expect the avalanche of feedback on #5 of our list:
5. Sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them.
The feedback was almost unanimous — subscribers suggested NOT signing your
cards. The question, however, is whether or not this advice is correct.
First, here are three sample emails we received:
— email #1
1. The current issue on credit card fraud is excellent. When I receive a new
credit card I no longer sign it on the back. Instead I print the words: "SEE
I.D." That way when I use my card, and the merchant inspects the card for
a signature, they have to ask me for I.D., at which point I can produce my drivers
license, which has both my picture and my signature. While this requires a bit
more effort, I believe it is more protective than simply signing the card. Those
who perpetrate scams can forge signatures as quickly as I can sign it.
— email #2
2. Thanks for great newsletters, and for the latest tips regarding credit cards.
I don’t agree with signing them, though – if they are stolen a thief has a perfect
copy of your signature. I never sign them, and rarely have any problems – only
rarely am I asked to provide any proof of identification.
Best regards, Allan
— email #3
3. Greetings From San Diego:
I appreciate all of this information that you are providing. It’s a lot of work,
but you are helping so many people.
With regards to #5 of the list of 21: a lot of people out here in California
are signing their credit cards, but not with their signature. They are writing
on there, "ask for photo I.D." What is your take on that?
— end of emails
So, the question is: is this the correct advice to reduce credit card fraud?
Should you — or should you not — sign your credit cards?
To answer this question, we called the fraud departments at MasterCard, Visa
and American Express.
All three advised that you definitely SHOULD sign your card.
MasterCard told us that this idea — not to sign your card — is an urban legend
that sounds sensible, but is not a good idea.
American Express warned us that merchants are not supposed to accept your credit
cards if they aren’t signed. Visa agreed — in fact, they said that the merchant
is instructed to not finish the transaction until you sign your card!
So, not signing your credit card is an example of a very popular urban legend
that is false. And we stand by our original advice — sign your credit cards
immediately when you receive them.
More on Credit Card Fraud Protection
Right after we finished last week’s issue on credit card fraud protection, we
got a call that one of our credit cards had been compromised.
The caller went on to explain what happened. He then told Audri that he had
to close the account, and that he needed to verify some information.
He started asking verification questions, and Audri got suspicious that this
was really a scam — instead of an attempt to correct a scam. So, she said she
was uncomfortable answering these questions on the phone.
The caller provided exactly the right answer: he told her to call the phone
number on the back of her credit card and ask to be connected to the fraud department.
Audri did this, and discovered that the call had indeed been legitimate. The
credit card did seem to have been compromised.
She asked that Visa overnight new cards, which they did.
The lesson to be learned? Don’t answer questions about your credit card when
you receive any phone call or email. If the call is legitimate, the caller will
respond appropriately as he did in this case.
You can find other interesting suggestions to reduce credit card fraud that
we received from our subscribers — related to single use credit card numbers,
problems caused by portable phones, and credit card numbers being displayed
by merchants — by visiting this page on credit
card fraud protection suggestions.
Internet Explorer Bug Invites Phishing Attacks
Another serious bug in Internet Explorer — even if you have all the up-to-date
patches — was found this past weekend. If you use Explorer on a PC, you should
check out the article at:
The folks on TechTv recommend that you might want to consider trying an alternative
browser, such as firefox:
Gas Prices and Boycott
A very popular email is making the rounds — it’s about gas prices and a gas
boycott. Click here to learn if this email on gas
prices is real — just a hoax…
Internet ScamBusters in the News…
You can also find a good review of the ScamBusters site in the most recent issue
of the Eureka Times-Standard. The article is called "Don’t get conned –
check out Scambusters." You can find a link at the top of our press
OK, that’s all for now. We hope you have a great week!