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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Wednesday September 1st, 2010 :: 02:58 p.m. EDT


Criminals Put a New Twist on Credit Card Fraud - See email for full story.

Whenever I visit Neighborhood Watch Meetings I always advise individuals to carry credit cards vs. cash - especially during the Holiday Season from November to January when crime typically peaks. Reason being is credit cards leave a paper trail of where the card has been used and in most cases video has been captured of the suspects using the stolen card. But perhaps the greatest reason to choose credit over cash is the amount of liability which falls upon the victim. Anyone who has cash stolen is 100% out of their money whereas those who have credit cards stolen are protected by Federal Law which limits the amount of liability to $50.

Although amounts of liability are restricted to victims of credit card fraud the cost of your time spent reporting losses and completing paperwork and the costs incurred by credit card companies which ultimately get passed along to consumers should encourage all of us to vigilantly defend against this type of fraud.

Recently I received an email from a Nixle participant "Tina" which proved very informative of the latest tricks criminals are using to get your credit card information. In the past criminals would simply steal the entire purse and/or wallet and go on a shopping spree with your credit cards. Well, the criminal has figured out this only provided a short time period to make their purchases before their crime was discovered and the cards reported as stolen. Therefore the latest trend is for criminals to remove only your credit card and in some cases replace it with an expired card from the same bank. Instead of having an hour or two to shop freely criminals now find themselves with a day or two before their crime is discovered.

In another new twist, some criminals have turned to technology to aid in their deceitful ways. Tina's email cautioned to watch your waiter carefully when paying by credit card. It has been reported that some waiters are using their cell phone cameras to capture your credit card number and security code on the backside. To the unsuspecting victim it appears the waiter is simply checking a text message however in reality they have taken a picture of your sensitive information.

One thing is for sure as technology is enhanced to protect the innocent against crime - the darkside does not sleep and constantly finds ways to turn technology around for the wrong use.

Communication is a key element to putting criminals out of business. If you have important information to share please don't hesitate to call or email me at the below contact information.

Have a safe day!

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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