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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: Credit Card scams

Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty

Great Steals and Deals around town and online to save you the big bucks and help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Credit Card scams

Hey gang!
For the first time in 3 1/2 years, it will cost more to send mail via the U.S. Postal Service. Starting this past Sunday, the price of a first-class stamp rose to 39 cents from 37 cents, where it had settled since June 30, 2002. Also increased by 1 cent are rates for each additional half-ounce of first-class mail and mailing of regular-size postcards. Other rates - parcel post, priority mail, money orders and other services - increased by an average of 5.4 percent.
Ever wonder why thy raise the price? According to the Postal Service, this postage increase was needed to fund a $3.1 billion escrow account. In 2002, Congress agreed to let the Postal Service scale back by billions of dollars its payments into an overfunded pension system, helping the agency finish fiscal 2003 in the black after years of losses.
Congress was expected to release that amount, but a legislative package that would have helped reorganize the Postal Service has been stalled in a Senate dispute over how postage rates should be set - and the fate of the $3.1 billion in escrow money is stranded along with it. The Postal Service ended
2005 $1.3 billion in the black, marking the third consecutive year that it was able to make money.
Officials also announced last month that the Postal Service - once $11 billion in the red - was without debt for the first time since the agency's last major reorganization, in the 1970s. Another rate hike is expected as soon as next year to cover rising costs, the Postal Service predicts.
Computer-savvy people - or even those with just a telephone - don't need to stand in line to buy the new stamps. By visiting or calling
1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724), customers can buy stamps online or over the phone to be delivered to their home. 2 cent stamps have been around for years, so chances are good that your local post office will be able to hook you up. :)
Here's a great coupon website that's run by a really great guy:
More credit card scams out's too bad those rotten scoundrels who come up with these clever scams don't use their creativity for a better cause. Be careful of your identity and your plastic:
A friend went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the locker.
After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker open, and thought to himself, "Funny, I thought I locked the locker. Hmmmmm."
He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order.
Everything looked okay - all cards were in place. A few weeks later his credit card bill came - a whooping bill of $14,000! He called the credit card company and started yelling at them, saying that he did not make the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake in the system and asked if his card had been stolen.
"No," he said, but then took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and yep - you guessed it - a switch had been made. An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.
Verdict: The credit card issuer said since he did not report the card missing earlier, he would have to pay the amount owed to them. How much did he have to pay for items he did not buy? $9,000! Why were there no calls made to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a "warning bell" with some credit card companies. It just so happens that all the small amounts added up to big one!
A man at a local restaurant paid for his meal with his credit card.
The bill for the meal came, he signed it, and the waitress folded the receipt and passed the credit card along. Usually, he would just take it and place it in his wallet or pocket. Funny enough, though, he actually took a look at the card and, lo and behold, it was the expired card of another person.
He called the waitress and she looked perplexed. She took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the counter under the watchful eye of the man. All the waitress did while walking to the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the counter cashier immediately looked down and took out the real card. No exchange of words --- nothing!
She took it and came back to the man with an apology.
Verdict: Make sure the credit cards in your wallet at yours. Check the name on the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is taken away for even a short period of time. Many people just take back the credit card without even looking at it, thinking that it has to be theirs.
Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of course, is linked directly to my checking account. The young man behind the counter took my card, swiped it, then laid it flat on the counter as he waited for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure.
While he waited, he picked up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone because it is the same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then I heard a click that sounded like my phone sounds when I take a picture. He then gave me back my card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking: I wonder what he is taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. It then dawned on me: the only thing there was my credit card, so now I'm paying close attention to what he is doing.
He set his phone on the counter, leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved. Now I'm standing there struggling with the fact that this boy just took a picture of my credit card. Yes, he played it off well, because had we not had the same kind of phone, I probably would never have known what happened.
Needless to say, I immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor. All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever you are using your credit cards, take caution and don't be careless. Notice who is standing near you and what they are doing when you use your card. Be aware of phones because many have a camera phone these days.
When you are in a restaurant and the waiter/waitress brings your card and
receipt for you to sign, make sure you scratch the number off. Some
restaurants are using only the last four digits, but a lot of them are still putting the whole thing on there. I have already been a victim of credit card fraud and, believe me, it is not fun. The truth is that they can get you even when you are careful, but don't make it easy for them.
Whew! I didn't intend this e-mail to be so long!
Sister Thrifty


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