Shopping can be a fun activity any time of the year. But there can be dangers associated with shopping. We are looking at how to be safe and smart when shopping.
Katie Carrol of your BBB sits down with Tom Gorab of Emergency Network Security Systems to talk about how we can know as consumers that our credit card information is safe at retail outlets or restaurants and that the employees working at these establishments are keeping our information safe.
We need to shop with some forethought and not just impulse. So we have thought it out and we have made a decision to make purchase. How do we know, as consumers, that our information and credit card information is safe at retail outlets or restaurants and that the employees working at these places are going to keep our information safe?
Credit card fraud is rampant. A 2007 FBI study showed that at that point nearly 10 million people were defrauded out of 50 billion dollars due to credit card fraud. Credit cards are easy financial items to lose track of and when someone gets the information they can go out immediately and use it to make purchases.
When you go to a retail outlet what protocols are in place to protect your information from the employees or others? Most businesses have good point-of-sale systems that manage credit card information and they obscure the complete credit card number such as just showing only the last four digits of the number. In years past a merchant took an imprint of your credit card to process the transaction and people had access to the full credit card number and expiration date.
Video is very popular now and it is an important part of the protection process. There are video systems that interface with the point-of-sale systems and make a video of the payment transaction happening at the register so there are more controls to see what an employee is doing.
Restaurants are a little more risky when it comes to keeping your information safe. Your waiter brings you a booklet with the receipt, you give them your credit card and away they go with it. You just don't know what happens to your credit card at that point.
A payment option in lieu of a credit card at a restaurant is using a gift card. You can buy gift cards from places that give you point credit on your credit card. Sometimes your credit card company offers gift cards. Many times, especially around holidays, restaurants will offer a deal on gift cards such as a free $5 card when you buy a $25 card or you can always use cash.
On the Internet there are options from some credit card issuers that give you a virtual card number. When you order on the Internet you get a different card number for each transaction so you are not giving out your real card number.
Our security climate has changed and we need to expect that fraud will happen to us. A threat is when a loss can occur and vulnerability is a condition that exists that would allow a threat to materialize. We have vulnerabilities more than threats and we need to do something to protect that process.
Explore options with your favorite credit card company. They have products in place called wallet or credit card protection that keep someone from being able to hurt you personally if your credit card is stolen. Immediate actions are taken and the credit card company gets involved. There are programs to take care of all the credit cards in your wallet. They cost a little bit of money, but you will probably be glad you spent it if your information is compromised.
Expect to be victimized. When it happens it could be catastrophic without preparations. It's always good to have a plan.The BBB Eye
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