Joe Got Your Identity?

By Leni Parrish on October 24, 2007

Identity theft is a growing concern, despite the high-tech attempts companies are making to help prevent it from happening.  It used to be that you’d only have to worry about identity theft if you were crazy enough to throw away documents without shredding them first.  If Joe the identity-thief was rifling through the dumpster, he’d be able to take those documents and run with them… literally, and start charging things in your name.

Now though, our information is stored all over the place.  Retail store databases, websites where we’ve created accounts and made payments for items, or where we’ve entered our personal information in order to receive payments for work completed.  Every time we swipe a credit card or debit card, we’re giving someone the ability to steal or identity.

 Most people don’t even think about identity theft though.  After all, credit card information is transmitted over secure networks and for the majority of people- it’s not gonna happen.  Many credit cards help keep us secure though, and when you’re looking for credit cards, the best thing you can do is look for this, all-important feature: 

No Liability for Unauthorized Charges.

In fact, make sure that the credit cards you are currently using have this feature.  It means that if someone steals your card, or the waitress takes down the info before handing back your credit card and use it to go shopping after her shift on her favorite website- you won’t be responsible for any of those charges because you didn’t authorize them. 

Another feature to look for to help protect your precious identity is lost and stolen card reporting… with a 24/7 customer service line that lets you call and tell them your credit card has been stolen or lost so they can stop transactions before they occur on the missing card(s) – and even issue you a new one right away that can be used.

Most cards require that you notify them as soon as you see the unauthorized charges on your statement- so make sure you are checking your monthly credit card billing statements closely to be sure the charges are all the ones you’ve authorized.  But as long as your card offers that protection, you can feel comfortable using your cards and knowing that Joe (or any other thief for that matter) can’t make you pay for their crime.

Here are a few cards that advertise the no liability for unauthorized charge benefit (most of the credit cards have it now, but this should just help you get started finding the ones that offer it without a doubt!)

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3 Responses to “Joe Got Your Identity?”

  1. Melissa said:

    I am aware of identity theft. That is the reason why I still don’t apply for a credit card though I am eager to get my own plastic.

  2. DanJohnson said:

    I signed up for a credit monitoring service from Equifax. The company scans my credit report every night and sends an email alerting me if there is a new credit card issued in my name or credit check by a car dealer.

  3. mariahuston said:

    No wonder – the more credit cards, the more credit card fraudsters. I have a credit card with zero liability for unauthorized charges, so I don’t worry.

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