10 Ways You’re Opening Yourself Up for Identity Theft and Fraud
In an age where so much of our daily lives have migrated online, it’s important to remember that the internet is not without its risks – particularly the ever-present threat of scam artists and fraudsters looking to prey on unsuspecting consumers.
While “big ticket” data breaches tend to garner all the major headlines, there are all sorts of smaller scale events that affect consumers every single day, which many of us tend to ignore – until it’s too late.
A recent article from U.S. News & World Report throws this matter into sharp relief, and offers consumers some valuable insight on how to best protect themselves from identity theft and fraud.
Entitled “10 Ways You’re Opening Yourself Up for Fraud,” the report from contributor Maryalene LaPonsie offers some “expert-backed strategies” for consumers to keep in mind as they conduct their personal business online.
Some of these strategies seem commonsense, while others are a bit more esoteric. For instance, LaPonsie offers some intriguing advice on protecting your internet usage, including changing the default password on your home wireless router, diversifying your account passwords, and avoiding the urge to check sensitive information on public wireless networks.
The list also includes some compelling notes for credit and debit card users. In particular, we were struck by LaPonsie’s point that consumers entrap themselves by “believing a debit card offers the same protection as a credit card.” She suggests that this belief “can make the situation worse once you’re a victim,” since:
“Federal law stipulates cardholders are only responsible for $50 of unauthorized charges made with a credit card. However, people may have to pay up to $500 in unauthorized debit card transactions if an institution isn’t notified within two days of the card loss or theft. If the bank isn’t notified within 60 days, a person can be held responsible to pay any and all unauthorized charges.”
She also notes that debit card users may not “immediately get refunded the money as they would with a credit card,” writing that,
“…you won’t see the cash back in your account until after you dispute the transaction and your bank completes its investigation, which could take up to 10 days for an established account and 20 days for a new account.”
Another fascinating tip? The writer suggests that consumers avoid “entering the same credit card number everywhere,” and instead “use separate credit cards for dedicated purposes, such as travel or groceries,” making it easier to “identify the source of fraud and correct the problem once it occurs.”
For even more compelling insights – including some fascinating thoughts on how to protect the credit profiles of minors – we encourage you to read the rest of the U.S. News & World Report piece, available here.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.