Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Identity Theft

by Pa Rock

A senior NCO at Luke Air Force Base sent out a base-wide email today stating that she had been checking her accounts on-line last night and discovered that someone had accessed her credit card account and made some purchases. She followed up an hour or so later with another email telling how the particular scam that snared her worked. This is what she had to say:

As it turns out, my specific information wasn't stolen per se -- no bad guy looking over my shoulder & copying down my information. The crooks use a computer program that generates random credit card numbers; the numbers are then tested to see if it's an active account. The "test" usually shows up in the form of a $1 charge. Once the crooks establish that the account is active, they swoop in and make as many charges as possible until caught. Basically, the crooks are playing with a very sophisticated slot machine, and when the one-armed-bandit lands on your account, it's game on for them and "craps" for you.

Most credit cards issued by banks have a "credit alert" feature that will allow you to set certain limits on charges. Once the limit is exceeded, you'll be notified of the charge and asked if it's legit.

Be alert, and be very afraid!

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