Consumer Credit Card Fraud Protection

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Credit card fraud is a broad term used to describe any theft or fraud committed by using the credit or debit card of another.  Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft.  When people think of credit card fraud, they envision spammers and phishers stealing their personal information online.  They envision hackers breaching the computer systems of large retailers and stealing their account numbers.  However, credit card fraud often takes place at the point of service, with dishonest cashiers and customers as the perpetrators, or as a result of lax document storage and destruction protocols which trigger consumer affairs complaints.

Credit Card Skimming

One of the most prevalent practices which gives rise to consumer affairs complaints is credit card skimming.  Credit card skimming involves swiping or skimming a customer's  credit card through a hand held electronic device which stores the information contained on the card's magnetic strip.  The collected information is usually then sold to a third party who uses it to manufacture counterfeit cards which are used to go on spending sprees. 

Inferior Privacy Protection and Document Controls

Credit card fraud also results from inferior privacy protection and lax document control systems.  Many businesses go awry by failing to properly dispose of files which contain the personal information of their customers.  They also encounter problems when their websites lack adequate security. 

The Federal Trade Commission has a consumer protection business website meant to educate business owners and merchants about implementing and improving systems for protecting the private information of their customers.  The FTC allows merchants and business owners to reprint the articles and information on the consumer protection business site for use in employee training, in their newsletters, and on their websites.

Assisting Identity Theft Victims

There are consumer rights debt collection laws which protect consumers who are the victims of identity theft.  These laws impose certain obligations on business owners when identity theft or credit card fraud occurs at their business.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a consumer debt collection law which entitles victims of identity theft to receive copies of the credit card application or other documents evidencing the identity theft from the business involved at no charge.  

Credit Card Fraud Victim's Assistance

Victims of credit card fraud may get assistance from consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and the National Consumer Law Center.  These consumer protection organizations provide resources to victims of credit card fraud as well as education to help consumers protect themselves from credit card fraud.

Getting Legal Help

If you have been the victim of credit card fraud at the point of service, you have the right sue merchants and business owners by filing suit in the consumer complaint court in the county where the business is registered.  In the United States, consumer court complaints are commonly sent to small claims courts.  These courts can only hear cases where the damages sought do not exceed the jurisdictional limits.  The jurisdictional limit of the small claims court is set by state law.  For more information about filing a lawsuit in small claims court, you should contact a consumer protection attorney in your area.

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