The Criminal Mastermind This fellow is rare, but often gets lots of screen and airtime because of his obvious Hollywood appeal (we love a good 21st century cat burglar). The other issue with the criminal mastermind: when he steals your credit card, it’s not your fault. He’s so damn slick that no one saw it coming. There’s even a grudging admiration from the public and law enforcement when they get gracefully grifted by one of these smooth operators.
The Amateur Opportunist You read about this breed of credit criminal in the papers quite often as well. That’s because they are so dang good at getting caught. Far from calculating masterminds, these hard up individuals will dip their hands into any unattended purse as long as no one is looking. These moonlighting credit card thieves usually get busted on security cameras or because they’re completely inept when it comes to covering their trail. They don’t get beyond two or three credit cards before its curtains for them.
Your Family When your family breaches your trust, it can often be tense and heartbreaking. But it happens. They live in your house, they know your mother’s maiden name and they can even intercept your mail with ease. When the bank accounts begin to mysteriously dwindle, it may be a good idea to start asking questions under your own roof first.
Disgruntled Employees When you hand your credit card over to a convenience store clerk or cashier, you’re putting your trust in their hands. And if he or she is hard up or in a bad mood, there’s a chance he’s going to stick it to The Man (you) by taking a little something something for himself on top of your bubble gum or gas purchase. Some ambitious corrupted clerks turn out an entire side business of credit card thievery by using makeshift devices capable of stealing hundreds of credit cards each day.
Spammers and Hackers This one is tricky and proves that it’s still a jungle out there on the Web. Hackers aren’t as much a threat as they once were, but now, phishing is in. That is, unsuspecting card holders get emails that are supposedly from their bank asking them to log in or verify their information but in reality, they are just handing over their sensitive personal data right over to the criminals.
From the klutzy would-be criminal busted on his first time to serial criminal masterminds who elude the grasp of God himself, credit card thieves come in many shapes and sizes. But the key to protecting yourself from thousands of dollars of liability from fraudulent purchases is the same for each one. It’s dead simple: read your statement. Log on once a week or once a month and go through your statement looking for any suspicious charges. See something fishy? Report it. That’s all there is to it.Of course, there are more measures you can take, but careful monitoring of your financial activity is the best way to go