Credit card fraud in Florida encompasses the many ways and means people (individuals and companies) use to obtain products without paying for them or to take money from someone’s account. Credit card fraud is sometimes combined with identity theft. For example, once a credit card is lost or stolen, anyone can use it until the owner calls the credit card company or bank and notifies them that it is lost. If you notify the credit card company or bank of unauthorized charges, most will remove the charges for you. They will also close the account and issue another card with a different number. Some credit card companies and banks may charge the minimum liability – $50.00.
Because of the high incidence of Florida credit card theft, retailers are required to check for a signature on the signature block. Self serve places such as gas stations sometimes require you to enter additional information, such as your zip code, prior to authorization of a purchase. Broward County White Collar Crime Attorney, William Moore explains that this has actually given rise to a new fraud involving authorization information.
Banking Institutions are Taking Steps to Prevent Credit card fraud in Florida
Banks have real-time analysis that looks at your normal spending habits. If you generally make small purchases with your credit card, and a large purchase shows up or purchases from a long distance from your home – the credit card company or bank may decline that purchase until they speak with the card owner. They may also authorize the purchase, but will immediately call the card owner to verify he made the purchase. Sometimes, the merchant may be told by financial institution representatives to hold the card until the credit card company or bank gets in touch with the owner.
There are different ways to have your card or number stolen.
“Application fraud” is when a criminal uses stolen documentation to open a bank or credit card account or other such account in someone else’s name. They may also use fake documents. Such documents include stolen utility bills or bank statements. Account takeover is when a criminal actually takes over someone’s account. They may gather information personal information about the victim, then will contact the credit card company or bank, pretending to be the real card owner, and ask for the real card owner’s mail to be redirected to the criminal’s address. Then he reports the card as stolen, and a new card is sent to the “new” address, allowing the criminal to use it. These two methods are more commonly used in conjunction with identity theft.
Credit card numbers and other information can be stolen by dishonest employees. This is called “skimming.” They can copy receipts or, if in restaurants (where the card is out of site of the card owner), will transcribe security codes (not found on the card’s magnetic strip) on the card by using a small keypad. Skimming can get as complicated as putting a strip reader on an ATM machine. This device can be used with small cameras that record the “pin” number as the owner punches it in.
The validity of a stolen credit card can be determined by presenting the card on a website with real-time processing. Usually, it is for a smaller amount, so as not to attract the attention of the bank or credit card company and so the limit is not used up. If the transaction goes through, the thief knows the credit card is good. This method is usually used on cards obtained through phishing or skimming.