Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How safe is it to sign behind your credit card?

With the increase use of plastic money, convenience has now come with a price tag, identity theft. Identity theft is a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The victim may suffer more than monetary loss depending on the nature of the crime. For example, victims may get into trouble with the law itself if the perpetrators used the credit card information for illegal immigration, terrorism, blackmailing and espionage. There are also cases of identity cloning to attack payment systems, including medical insurance.

How do people fall prey to identity thefts? In other words, how exactly do the perpetrators get hold of our personal information? Although there are many methods such as carelessness in disposing our old or expired credit cards, researching about the victim in government registers, internet search engines, or public records search services, hacking into computer databases whether in public sectors or even in a corporation, and much more.

One area of concern is the credit cards signature which are required at the back of the credit to validate the usage of the card. Is this really a safe practice? There has been some people trying to put a "SEE ID" on the signature field instead of actually signing on it. This means the cashier or merchant taking our credit card will need extra identification from us like driving license. However, it should be noted that it is a requirement by the credit companies that merchants should check the signature to confirm the user is of the same person owning the card. So again, it it up to the users to be discreet and careful when using their credit cards.

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