Local News

Keep An Eye On Your Credit Cards During The Holidays

Posted December 2, 1999

— Someone could be using your name and credit card numbers to cash in this holiday season. A Raleigh woman learned the expensive lesson first-hand while Christmas shopping at a Raleigh mall.

Shopping with a credit card is as convenient and easy, but if that card or the number gets into the wrong hands, it could be costly.

When Karen McCannon's department store statement arrived in the mail, she had an eye-opening moment.

In addition to her $60 worth of charges, there were additional purchases of children's clothing totalling close to $500.

McCannon's balance jumped from the usual $50 a month to almost $600.

"At first, I thought somebody else's statement had gotten in my bill, but that wasn't the case," McCannon said.

An employee at the store had lifted McCannon's credit card number and used it to purchase items.

She still has the credit card receipts with the scribbled signatures the employee used to get away with the purchases. That employee is out of a job.

Paul Stock, a member of theNorth Carolina Bankers Association, says while McCannon's case was an inside job, it is a good example of why people should exercise diligence by saving receipts.

They should also thoroughly check their statements each month, especially this time of year.

"At Christmas, we're more hurried," Stock said. "By being diligent and checking these things, I think people are limited to maybe $50, on an unauthorized use of your credit card or ATM."

Since McCannon checks her statements every month, she was able to catch the discrepancy immediately, which is what Stock hopes other shoppers will do during the holiday season and year round for that matter.

Stock also recommends other ways to prevent credit card fraud:

  • In crowded malls, keep an eye on your card. Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder or eyeing your card number during a transaction. If you become a victim of identity theft, immediately have a fraud alert put on your credit report. It flags lenders to call you before issuing credit in your name. No matter how much a thief spends, you will be liable for $50 of the debt. But it is up to you to convince the credit companies you are not responsible for the charges.

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