Protect Yourself From Credit Card Thieves

By Steve Rosen
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How can you keep your credit card information safe? Columnist Steve Rosen takes a look at a few steps to protect you and your family.

Tribune News Service

I was deep into my summer vacation when I got the call with the dreaded message: My credit card had been compromised.

The caller was from the card security department at my bank. He wanted to know if I had made a $42 purchase on my credit card at a gas station in Texas. I had not, emphasizing that I was currently more than 1,500 miles north in Wisconsin.

Then he asked about a $50 purchase at a grocery store in Texas. That one, as it turned out, was red-flagged by the bank’s security system and rejected.

The card security caller told me that my credit card had been deactivated and that I would be issued a new one with a new number. He said I should receive it within five business days.

That made me both relieved and nervous. Relieved that my bank was watching my transactions, but nervous that my credit history might have been compromised. (It wasn’t.)

I should not have been surprised by the call. The day before I was contacted by the bank, I had trouble purchasing a plane ticket. I had made it through the online ticketing process, only to get a message at the end saying the transaction hadn’t gone through. Three times, with the same results. Now I knew why.

Count me among the millions of Americans who have been victimized by credit card fraud. This was the second time in 10 years my credit card has been compromised.

And, as I’ve revealed in past columns, more than 10 years ago some of my personal information was mysteriously attached to past-due loans owed by someone with the same first and last name. I still get calls from bill collectors once or twice a year.

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