|by Jason Steele|
Lately, I have been reading a lot of scary sounding reports in both the local and national news. The theme is the same; a criminal has stolen credit cards from an honest and hardworking individual. Said criminal is now on a crime spree, charging expensive purchases in someone else’s name! If you have any information to help the police arrest this horrible person, contact them immediately.
Credit Card Theft Is Bad…For The Bank
The theft and fraudulent use of credit cards is both wrong and a crime. What many of these reports fail to mention is that the victim here is the bank, not the cardholder. Although Federal Law says that the cardholder may only be held responsible for up to $50, I have yet to hear of a cardholder left holding the bag for a single cent of fraudulent charges. In the vast scheme of crimes that make the news, I would have to rank credit card fraud as one of the least serious. It is non-violent, the losses are small, and the victims are giant corporations. From both an individual and a societal standpoint, I’ll take that any day over murders, rapes, kidnappings, drug use, child molestations and other crimes against individuals.
Credit Card Fraud Good?
No credit card fraud is not good, but it can help lead to the capture of criminals. Two years ago, my house was robbed, and several credit cards were stolen. I was actually relieved to hear that, as I thought it may lead to the arrest of the criminals. As I suspected, the burglars were stupid enough to be captured on camera use the cards all over town. Nevertheless, somehow the Denver Police failed to capture them. Without the credit card theft, they wouldn’t have even had that lead. There certainly would have been no chance to capture them spending cash, not that I had any laying around for them to steal.
How To Be The Victim Of Credit Card Fraud
It actually isn’t that easy. First, you have to give your card information to someone who is not securing it well. Another way is to hand it to a disreputable corporation who keeps it on file only to market you worthless services later. Next, you have to ignore the fraudulent charges on your statements. The best way to do that is to never read your statement. Finally, you have to wait. Since you are not liable for any fraudulent activity reported within 60 days of receiving the statement. That could be weeks after the charge itself. In fact, many banks will reverse the charges of fraudulent transactions even after the Federal limit of 60 days.
Credit card fraud and theft is not scary, but the media always needs a bogeyman. Sure, the cumulative cost of the crime is high, but it is a cost of doing business for the banks, and there is theft and fraud inherent in every form of payment. The only thing you ever need to do is to scrutinize your statements for fraudulent charges. If you know that there is nothing there that shouldn’t be there, you will never have a problem.