You’ve probably read of the hacking of credit card accounts at Hobby Lobby recently. Other chain stores, as well as some bank ATMs, have been compromised over the past few years. You might have been affected by that – a letter from your bank or credit card company saying they will issue you a new card and pin number because your account “may have been compromised”.
Sometimes you get that letter more than once. One client had to switch debit cards twice in a year – once because of the hacking of accounts at Target and later at her bank.
It’s a scary thought – you immediately check your balance and recent statements for debit and charges you may not have made.
The Bankruptcy Clinic PC, a Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Law Firm, has seen several clients who have been the victim of credit card fraud. This is one of many financial problems that lead them to our office for advice – along with outstanding medical bills, continuing divorce issues, suffering job loss, etc.
And credit card fraud is an issue of concern for anyone trying to rebuild their credit after filing bankruptcy.
It is an issue of concern for anyone and everyone.
Fortunately, the credit card companies and banks are taking positive steps to curtail fraud.
Most credit card fraud happens in America. Changes that will be made by October 2015 will curtail that. It is modeled after Europe’s successful attempts to fight fraudulent credit and debit transactions.
The old “swipe and sign” method of paying with plastic will be replaced. You may still sign your name, but most credit cards will be using a personal identification number (pin) instead.
Also, instead of a metal strip on the back of a card, there will be a microchip. You will slide the card into a reader and put in your pin and/or sign (just like you do when you pay with a credit or debit card at, say, Wal-Mart).
With this new system, the information will NOT be stored by the company or business you are charging and such information is not released to the provider (and thus cannot be stolen by a hacker) by the secured microchip in your card.
This also allows for credit or debit transactions other than using a rectangular card. Your credit or debit card can be a small keychain fob (some credit cards are already using this system, but still with the metallic strip on the back).
An exciting technological use will be your credit or debit card as an app on your cell phone or tablet – remote transfer of information similar to current apps that can read bar codes.
Businesses are encouraged to switch to this new system by October 2015. Companies still using the “swipe and sign” method may be held liable for any credit card fraud after the switch-over date.
If the success of the European model is any indication, the new “Smart Cards” will help fight credit fraud. For people who have filed bankruptcy, this will allow them to continue building up their credit after their fresh start without fear of their information being stolen from the businesses used.
If you have been the victim of credit theft – or are otherwise fighting an unmanageable debt load – please call our offices in Carbondale, Marion and Mount Vernon for a free consultation with a Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Law Firm on getting a fresh start by filing for bankruptcy.