Some retailers not blurring credit card numbers

Some retailers not blurring credit card numbers

Shaun Hegarty (6 News)
8/2/2005 – CORPUS CHRISTI – Credit card users beware – you might be throwing away a very important piece of information with your card number on it and never realize your number was there.

Before leaving on a recent vacation, 6 News’ Shaun Hegarty bought some books at the newsstand inside the Corpus Christi International Airport. On the receipt he got back, he noticed that his entire credit card number was printed on the receipt, along with the expiration date. Most people think those numbers are crossed out with x’s, but as Shaun clearly found out that’s not always the case.

Most of the time, credit card numbers are truncated or covered – leaving only the last four digits, but consumer credit counselors said about 20 percent of the numbers are not.

“So probably one in five receipts you get do not have the information truncated so you need to be careful to shred those receipts,” said Kim Womack from Consumer Credit Counseling. Shredding those receipts into tiny pieces could make all the difference, because those “tiny” pieces of paper can cause “big” headaches.

“I think many people don’t keep up with receipts like they should in regard to putting it in their checkbook, register those kinds of things. And by all means those receipts, even one lost could open you up for identity theft.” Remember, crooks don’t actually need your card to start charging your account.

“There are opportunities they can take through other processing; through the Internet where a card is not physically present. They could try to take advantage of your account.” In December, a state law will go into effect requiring business to blur out the entire credit card number or be fined up to $500 each time. Until then, you need to be extra careful in all situations.

“A receipt even if it blows out of your car can be an opportunity for someone to take advantage of your financial information,” Womack said.

6 News contacted the district manager for that news stand who said he wasn’t aware of the problem, but told us he’ll get on the problem right away and have the numbers fixed in the next few days.

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