Question of the Day: How Was Your Credit/Debit Card Number Stolen?

Jan 20, 2015
Activity, Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Identity Theft, Debit Cards

This guy, Brian Krebs, is a real expert on online security and identity theft.  He wrote recently about the myriad ways that consumer credit card numbers can be stolen:

Almost once a week, I receive an email from a reader who has suffered credit card fraud and is seeking help figuring out which hacked merchant was responsible. I generally reply that this is a fruitless pursuit, and instead encourage readers to keep a close eye on their card statements and report any fraud. But it occurred to me recently that I’ve never published a primer on the types of card fraud and the likelihood with each of the cardholder ever learning how their account was compromised. This post is an effort to remedy that.

What struck me reading his post:  

  1. The large number of points of weakness where a consumer’s credit card information is vulnerable.
  2. How low the chances are that a consumer will be aware that a specific fraud is taking place with their card.

I thought this would be a great activity for students to:

  1. List all the places they currently use their debit or credit card (e.g., restaurants, Starbucks, ATMs)
  2. Identify which of these places they may be most vulnerable based on this blog post.
  3. Develop strategies to protect themselves (e.g., check their credit card/bank statement frequently to confirm all charges).

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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