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As identity theft crimes escalate at a rapid pace, more and more scam artists are finding ways to capitalize on the vulnerability and uncertainty consumers feel, especially when it comes to credit card fraud protection. One of the more common tactics popping up both online and offline are offers for credit card insurance services. Don't be fooled – be informed!
Thanks to the Truth in Lending Act, liability for unauthorized credit card charges is capped at $50 per card if you report the activity within 60 days of the charges appearing on your statement. Even better news is that the major credit card companies offer free identity theft protection, guaranteeing that you are not liable for ANY fraudulent charges on your credit cards. Additionally, many companies conduct protective monitoring of your credit card account based on your previous spending patterns. They will flag accelerated spending or unusually large amounts, sometimes freezing the account, and notify you of the suspicious activity or to receive authorization. Most companies will also offer single-use virtual credit card numbers for online purchases.
While the credit card insurance offers you receive should raise warning flags, identity theft monitoring services are gaining in both popularity and consumer support. These services continually track a variety of documents and records to monitor the use of your personal information on anything from new credit applications, to changes in your credit scores, and the lucrative “black market” for credit card laundering.
Your first line of protection is awareness. You can learn more about protecting yourself against credit card fraud and identity theft by calling the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-382-4357. Or download three free publications from their website: Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to do if They're Lost or Stolen, Fair Credit Billing, and Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.