Is Your Debit or Credit Card Compromised?

What should you do if you believe your debit or credit card has been compromised?  Yes, there are consumer protection regulations that can help.  For example, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) “Regulation E” limit your liability for losses from unauthorized transactions.

If your debit or credit card number is used to make an unauthorized withdrawal from a checking or savings account, minimize your losses by contacting your bank as soon as possible.  Your maximum liability under EFTA is $50 if you notify your bank within two business days after learning of the loss.  If you wait longer, you could lose more, according to the law.

If your credit card number is used without your authorization, your liability is normally capped by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the CFPB’s “Regulation Z” at $50 for all unauthorized transactions, and remaining credit card losses are typically absorbed by the card issuer.  Some other worthwhile precautions you can take include:

  • Do not use ATMs in remote places, especially if the area is not well lit.
  • Go elsewhere if you see a sign directing you to only one of multiple ATMs in a location.
  • Shield the keypad with your hand when typing your PIN at the ATM or a retailer’s checkout area.
  • Regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for unauthorized transactions, even small transactions that you might think might not be worth reporting to your bank.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students to summarize the major provisions of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).
  • Why is it important to notify your bank as soon as possible when your account has been compromised?
  • Let students debate the issue, “Use cash, why use a debit card?

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the Truth and Lending Act and how does it protect you if your debit/credit card is compromised?
  2. How can you determine if an ATM has a false cover or it has been tampered?

Online Shopping: Tips to keep close to your wallet

Online shopping makes it easy and convenient to search for – and buy – the must have items on your wish list.  Before you buy, follow these tips on avoiding hassles, getting the right product at the right price, and protecting your financial information.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal, compare products.  Do research online, check product comparison sites, and read online reviews.

Confirm that the seller is legit.  Look for reviews about their reputation and customer service, and be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.

Pay by credit card to ensure added protections, and never mail cash or wire money to online sellers.

Keep records of online transactions until you get the goods.

Report online shopping fraud.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they have shopped online. If so, what have been their experiences?
  • Why is it important to confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number?
  • If you return an item, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fee?

Discussion Questions

  1. What should you do if you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you are browsing?
  2. Why is it important to read the seller’s description of the product closely, especially the fine print?
  3. Why is e-mail not a secure method of transmitting financial information, such as, your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number?
  4. Where can you file a complaint to report online shopping fraud?

Internet Fraud

How many people are scammed into sending money or giving personal information each year?
Answer: Millions!!

Types of Internet Fraud

  • Internet auction fraud—involves the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale on an Internet auction site, or non-delivery of merchandise.
  • Credit card fraud—the unauthorized use of credit/debit card, or card number, scammers fraudulently obtain money or property.
  • Investment fraud—an offer using false claims to solicit investments or loans, or providing purchase, use, or trade of forged or counterfeit securities.
  • Nigerian letter or “419” fraud—named for the violation of Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, it combines the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter, e-mail, or fax is received by a victim.

Tips for Avoiding Internet Fraud

  • Know your seller – If you don’t know who you are buying from online, do some research.
  • Protect your personal information – Don’t provide it in response to an e-mail, a pop-up, or website you’ve linked to from an e-mail or web page.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Bring to class Internet-related problems and examples of individuals or families. Suggest ways in which these problems might be solved.
  • Compile a list of places and organizations where a person can call to report Internet fraud.

Discussion Questions

  1. While the Internet makes everyday tasks faster and more convenient, like stopping, banking, and communicating, why it’s important to be safe, secure, and responsible online.
  2. What are some basic precautions we can take to protect our computer and personal data from theft, misuse, and destruction?

Home Depot Data Breach May Top $50 Million

“Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake said ‘protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously.’” 

At the time of this blog, it is not clear how many Home Depot stores or shoppers were involved, but this breach could be one of the largest data breaches to ever hit a retailer.  It is also estimated that the cyber thieves made an estimated $50 million from this breach by selling credit card numbers and personal information.

Home Depot and many other retailers including Target, P. F. Chang’s, Neiman Marcus, and other companies, have all experienced similar data breaches in recent months.  To combat this problem, many companies are beginning to use a new “chip and pin” technology.  Already in use in Europe, the new technology contains a chip in your credit or debit card with account information, requires the user to use pin identification, and is nearly impossible to counterfeit.  Because the new technology has dual verification, card transactions are much, much safer for both retailer and customer.

For more information go to http://www.cbsnews.com/news/home-depot-data-breach-may-top-50-million/

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of students monitoring credit and debit card activity on a regular basis.
  • Obtain a credit or debit card with the new chip and pin technology.
  • Encourage students to determine their liability if their credit or debit card information is stolen.

Discussion Questions

  1. Assume you are trying to decide between two different credit cards. One card does not have chip and pin technology and does not charge an annual fee.  The other card does have chip and pin technology, but charges an $85 annual fee?  Which card would you choose?  Explain your answer.
  2. Besides choosing a credit or debit card with chip and pin technology, what other steps can you take to make sure you are not a victim of identity theft?

What Eight Numbers Do Identity Thieves Want?

This article explains why identity thieves want eight different numbers and also provides some helpful tips for avoiding identity theft. The eight numbers include:

1. Phone numbers
2. Specific dates (birth, college attendance, employment, etc.) and Zip Codes
3. PIN Codes
4. Social Security Numbers
5. Bank Account Numbers
6. IP Address
7. Driver’s License and Passport Numbers
8. Health Insurance Account Numbers

For more information go to

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/8-numbers-identity-thieves-want-103033107.html

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress that identity theft is on the rise. According to the article, data breaches are now the third certainty in life and sooner or later, you will become a victim.
  • Ask students who have had their identity stolen what steps were necessary to solve the problems associated with identity theft.

Discussion Questions

1. What have you done to protect the eight numbers that thieves want and need to steal your identity?

2. Today many companies offer services designed to help protect your identity. These companies charge from $100 to $200 a year or more. Would you consider using one of these services?