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posted: 4/13/2014 5:01 AM

Sensible tips to avoid credit card fraud

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While cleaning out some old stuff today, I found an Dec. 13, 2013, letters column in the newspaper. It dealt with credit card fraud, so I thought I'd pass along a few tips a friend of mine gave me.

He said I should print "always ask for photo ID" in the signature box on the back of the card before signing it. I did this and found many store clerks will ask for a photo. It's a good idea. Once a credit card is stolen, the thief often (quickly within 24 to 48 hours) goes from store to store maxing out the card before a hold is put on it. Crooks usually don't use it online, give an address and wait.

Another tip is to always have one credit card with a low maximum limit (maybe $500 to $1,000) on it. Inform the company issuing it that under no circumstances do you ever want them to allow the limit to be exceeded. Use this card for online purchases. If this card info is stolen, the thief will be rejected on his first try to buy that super large-screen, flat-panel, ultra high def TV.

One last suggestion, you should tell your credit card issuing company what you decide the maximum amount of any card should be. If you don't, you may find them sending you notices with your bill congratulating you on being "upgraded" from a silver to gold, gold to platinum, or maybe a platinum to a rhodium level cardholder. There is no status, only risk, in high limits you'll never use.

Jim Peterson

Hoffman Estates

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