Shoppers Beware - 'Tis The Season

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by TheMusicMan, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Apparantly, it is the number one complaint from shoppers and it only takes a fleeting moment for you to become a victim and can happen right under your nose (as Jen and I unfortunately found out ourselves recently). While you are out searching for gifts and presents for your families and friends during the upcoming Christmas season, identity thieves and pickpockets are also on the lookout searching for easy targets - unsuspecting consumers!! Here are some tips I know of and have also gleamed from the net - and have put together here that hopefully will help you safeguard your identity and valuables during the Christmas season:

    1) Protect your credit card, pin and bank account numbers - Most shops only print the last four (or sometimes five digits) of the debit or credit card account on your till receipt, the other characters are usually represented via **** **** **** etc. However, some stores haven’t yet caught up with technology. If the sales assistant makes an impression of your card with one of those manual card swipers/readers, make sure you ask for any carbon copies that are part of the receipt. “Rubbish Bin divers” can obtain account numbers and information from discarded carbons to steal your identity and your account information.

    If you’ve opened a new store account, don’t be surprised if the cashier asks to see some form of additional ID, such as a driver’s license or utility bill. Don’t view this as an imposition, remember that the store is actually taking steps to protect you - making sure that you are the account holder.

    2) Keep a close eye on your credit/debit cards and receipts
    - Don’t let your card leave your sight - especially in restaraunts wheere sometimes they take cards away behind the scenes to swipe - don't do this. Most cashiers will keep your card in sight so that they can verify your signature on the receipt. However, sometimes they simply swipe your card, then hand it back to you or put it on the counter for you to retrieve. It is important to check that the card you’ve been given back is actually yours and not someone else’s - which may not even be a credit card but may just look like one. Occasionally, mistakes can happen, especially when the store is busy. Also, make sure that you take your receipts away with you - don't leave them on the counter. You’ll need them to verify your purchases when, unfortunately, your bills arrive in the new year:(

    3) Watch out for pickpockets
    - Professional pickpockets love the Christmas shopping season. Open or shoulder backpacks, large shopping bags and unstrapped purses are a pickpockets dream. Police advice states that you should try to be alert and wary of the distractions around you because that's what pickpockets like and that they usually work in teams. For example, one of the team members fakes a fall and when an innocent person tries to help that's when the other pickpocket lifts the victim’s wallet.

    4) When purchasing online always use a credit card and a secure site
    - Paying by credit card is by far the safest way to pay online. It protects your legal right to dispute charges etc. When you get to the online payment page of the site you are purchasing from, the “http” at the beginning of the url address bar should change to “https” or “shttp”. This is correct and is a sign that the site is encrypting or scrambling your credit card information as you send it to them. Many browsers will even alert you of this via a pop-up window. In FireFox, the address line turns green when you are on a secure site. Whenever possible, print and keep a receipt of your online transaction in case you need it later.

    Hope this little bit of info helps...don't let it happen to you!!!:biggrin: