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The Security of Your Cards

Updated on January 4, 2011

Whether you consider them good or bad, Credit, Debit and other such cards are a part of our everyday life.


Some people understandably never go anywhere without them.


They have become so common place that you feel at ease with them. Here may lay a problem.


Credit card theft has long been a problem and now identity theft is also on the increase. No longer is it just safe to ensure that you do not lose your card but you must be very careful where, when and how you use it.


When you book into a hotel, they will usually ask to “swipe” your card. This information is transposed onto the card key that allows you entry to your room. When you book out of the hotel, this card key should be destroyed. There have been instances where hotel staff say they will destroy the card key for you, but haven’t. Instead they have sold them to criminals that know exactly what to do with your credit card information embedded on the card. On booking out of a hotel like this you should destroy the card yourself or if for some reason they say you cannot do that, then run a magnet along the dark strip of the card. This should erase all information it had stored. On trips, a friend of mine always carries a small magnet with him for peace of mind.


In restaurants, when they give you your bill, you will usually place your card on the tray and let them take it away, returning it to you shortly there after. How many times do you look at the card on its return? It has been known for restaurant workers to give you a different card back. Unless you check it properly on its return, you probably will not notice it is different until the next time you come to use it. Yes, you remember the last time you used it and go back to the restaurant. Oh yes they say, they noticed the mistake after you had left and give you your card back apologizing. It is already too late. Either the card has already been used for a large purpose or the information contained on it has been copied.


The modern thief does not physically need your card once you have “swiped” it. Instead they can copy it from a photograph. Be very wary of any shopkeeper, waiter or hotel employee who seems to use their phone whilst in possession of your card. Must phones today have a camera and it is these cameras that are used to take pictures of your card.


We all need cards in our lives but we must not become complacent with them, or it will not only be the credit card companies that get our hard earned money.






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