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Summer's a time when credit card fraud can lead to debt trouble

There's a song that goes, "In the good old summertime…." These are the months that kids relish and teachers describe as the reasons they chose the profession. Because it happens to be a time of greater family travel, it is also a time when the risk is higher of your credit card information being stolen through a skimming device.

Most people may not be familiar with these devices, but as the Illinois Attorney General's Office recently observed, July is the month of highest vehicle travel for the year. That means that identity thieves' who do their work using credit care skimmers are also more active. Yes, there are protections for consumers in the wake of such thefts, but they may also create a tsunami of debt that can force you to seek debt relief. If you are unsure of what options for relief might exist, you should be speaking with a skilled attorney.

The need for heightened awareness at this time of year is clear. According to the AG's office, some 3,200 identity theft complaints have been made in recent years in the state. In 2013, officials say a team of six individuals were arrested for allegedly stealing a total of more than $200,000 off of about 175 credit cards.

If you are out and about this summer, authorities encourage you to be on you’re A-game for spotting and avoiding possible skimmers. The FBI offers this advice:

  • Credit card slots that look off. If you step up to an ATM or a gas pump and the card reader device appears loose or damaged in any way, avoid using it.
  • Use indoor ATMs. Machines outside are easier for skimming criminals to get at.
  • Be particularly cautious using ATMs in tourist areas. Those machines are like honey to flies.
  • Protect your PIN. You don't know who may be behind you watching or observing from the next line of pumps. Shield the keypad if you enter your personal Identification number.
  • Don't hesitate to contact your card issuer. If the machine eats your card, refusing to return it on command, call your credit card company and report it.

By being more aware it may be possible have your song of summer end as this line from the original lyrics:

"No trouble annoying; each one is enjoying the good old summertime."

Source: KFVS12.com, " travel & credit card fraud: What's the risk?" Loreto Cruz, June 29, 2016

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