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Thread: Identity Theft

  1. #1

    Default Identity Theft

    Do you guys have any suggestions as to which Credit Cards to go with or other ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft? I do I.T. for a living so I know what to keep an eye out for, but sometimes it is unavoidable. I do not use my debit card for anything but withdrawing money (only from my bank - never use those shady noname ATMs).

    I am not opposed to carrying cash but I feel more comfotable not having much on me.

    My boss actually just took a 5 day trip to Hot Springs and someone swiped his CC info from a gas pump (only place they could have he claims).

    Since you guys are seasoned veterans I wanted to see what you all do.

  2. Default

    I'm not sure we can prevent cc theft -- however, there are ways to reduce the pain while travaeling.

    We each carry a cc with different account numbers. Then if one cannot be used the other is available. We have been notified that one card number was compromised by an attack on the cc computers - so it is not just an id theft. Having a second account was invaluable.

    We keep a record of the cc numbers and phone number of the cc company. Also, we are prepared to call the 3 major credit bureaus to notify. Equifax 1-800-525-6285; TransUnion 1-800-680-7289; and Experian 1-888-397-3742

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Aware but not overly concerned.

    I don't recall ever having read on these forums [including many trip reports] of identity theft being a problem. It's not to say it doesn't happen, but I would consider it to be a rare and unlucky thing to happen to anyone. Certainly no riskier than it happening to you in your home town when doing the weekly shop or filling with gas.

    You can buy 'Gift cards' for fuel that are basically a pre paid card you can use at the pumps. Most major chains use them. The only downside is you are tied to that brand and it would pay to get them for different brands in smaller amounts. With those, a bit of cash and paying for meals and lodgings on a credit card should see you pretty safe.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There's not going to be a specific credit card that is better for preventing ID theft - specifically the kind of scam you've referenced can happen with any card.

    The biggest thing to remember is that both Visa and Mastercard have Zero-Liability Fraud programs for all cards with their name on them (at least US based ones). That means if anyone does steal your credit or debit card information, you are not liable for any of the purchases. Again, debit cards are also included here, which tends to be a common misconception, with the only downside being there could be a delay in getting the money back into your account.

    I'm not sure if Discover or AmEx have similar policies, although I suspect they do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default My Problem...

    ...has been just the opposite. I have trouble with the credit card companies being overly protective of 'my' safety, shutting off my card when I suddenly start charging things thousands of miles from home. Now that's understandable when you realize that they are responsible for unauthorized charges, not me. But it hardly does me any good to have my perfectly good credit card being refused for no good reason. So make sure you inform your card carrier that you will be on the road and give them a rough itinerary.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Visa and Mastercard have the fraud protection mentioned by Michael, worldwide. And like Buck's experience, I inform my bank where I will be travelling, and the approximate time span. Makes it so much easier for the bank, and for me.

    Having said that, in more than four decades, and across five continents, I have never had a problem. And when a card was lost, many thousands of miles away from home, it was replaced within 36 hours. As mentioned above, it pays to travel with at least two cards..... not kept together in your wallet.

    Me thinks you worry too much!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Actually, I had that variation on the same problem on a trip out to the Black Hills last fall. A store's normal credit card machine wasn't working so they swiped it the old fashion way with the paper copy. The problem is they filled out the paperwork wrong, and that flagged my account.

    Making matters worse was that it happened on a Sunday of a holiday weekend, so I couldn't even get a hold of anyone on Monday to find out why my card was suddenly blocked.

    Without having a backup payment method, I would have been stuck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Variation on a theme

    I was on a trip last week, I had been using my credit card fine all day until I went to check in at a hotel... Unbeknownst to me, the credit card company had determined that my card was in potential mass breach status (I was one of hundreds of affected customers) from an event three weeks ago.
    Their intention, apparently, was to send me a new card and notice before they canceled my account. I received neither any written notice or a new card -- my card simply stopped "working" at 9:00 pm on the affected date. Luckily I had a back-up card as well.

    They've since apologized -- but that wasn't very helpful last week.


  9. #9

    Default Thanks :-)

    Appreciate all the input.

    I will not use a debit card while traveling because, as stated earlier, it is harder/longer to get your money back. Plus, Using a CC and my debit card has helped me build credit for the past 5 years. (Just takes some control heheheh).

    I am thinking I will start a Amex card because after working for a REAL BAD copier refurbishing company, I know how dedicated Amex is to their customers. Not to mention, all their staff is US based. No outsourcing. When a customer had a dispute with the company I worked for, Amex pulled the money from the company and gave it to the customer within 24 hours. Made the owners pretty angry, as you can imagine. Not all places accept Amex for that reason and because their fees are higher for most stores/companies.

    Great idea on having two cards. Didn't really think about that and you guys couldn't be more right. I'm sure that could have bit me in the butt pretty hard.

    After reading this post and making fun of my manager, he pointed out that it could have been because of the PlayStation Network breach (so I continued to make fun of him). Apparently the time frame coincided.

    None the less, these are invaluable tips. Much appreciated, everyone!

    (and yes, Lifey, I do worry a decent amount. Having been a Boy Scout for seven years, I always try to be as prepared for every situation as possible.)

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by C-USA View Post
    We keep a record of the cc numbers and phone number of the cc company. Also, we are prepared to call the 3 major credit bureaus to notify. Equifax 1-800-525-6285; TransUnion 1-800-680-7289; and Experian 1-888-397-3742

    Excellent Idea!!! Thank you!

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