Seniors and Scams: How to Protect Yourself

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During the month of April, we will continue to focus on Seniors. This week, we are focusing on ways to protect oneself from credit card theft. Did you know fraudulent use of credit cards is not limited to the loss or actual theft of a credit card? Deputy R. Vazquez from the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office shared during the Tip of the Week, “a capable criminal only needs your credit card number to fraudulently make numerous charges, including cash withdrawals, against your account.”

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The following tips are shared by Deputy Vasquez, Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office [LC1] and various sources listed in the references:

· Photocopy both the front and back of all your credit cards and keep the copies in a safe and secure location

· It is advised, if possible, to carry credit cards separate from your wallet or purse.

· Do not sign a blank receipt

· Draw a line through portions which you are leaving blank. Example, if a tip portion is on receipt but tip is not applicable

· Unless you are 100% positive you are dealing with a reputable company and you have initiated the call should you give your credit card number over the phone. NEVER give your number to someone who calls you and wants to verify the information or says you have won a prize

· Never respond to e-mail or pop-up messages asking you to confirm or verify your account information, even it if looks official. Instead call the customer service number listed on the company’s billing statement or the back of your credit card.

· DO NOT lend your card to anyone…not even family.

· Don’t write your account number on the outside of your payment envelope.

Even when we take every precaution, credit card theft can still happen. One-way theft happens without any fault to the consumer is a data breach. A data breach is defined as “an incident wherein information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner. A small company or a large organization may suffer a data breach. Stolen data may involve sensitive, proprietary, or confidential information, such as credit card numbers, customer data, trade secrets or matters of national security,” shares the website,

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You have followed the precautions, yet, your credit card number is stolen, what are the next steps. These steps are critical and timing is everything. Here is a list of steps provided by

1. Immediately notify the credit card company. Your liability of unauthorized charges is determined by how quickly you notify the company. According to, “consumers have a small window of two business days after you realize the loss has occurred to report the unauthorized charges or transfers and get a $50 liability limit. After that, there is a $500 liability limit for up to 60 days after the statement reflecting the fraud is mailed. After 60 days, consumers are exposed to unlimited liability.”

2. Put a fraud alert on your credit report. Once installing the fraud alert with the credit reporting agency, you should receive a credit report after filing the fraud report, if not request one.

3. File an identity theft complaint with your local law enforcement and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (

Photo Credit in References

4. Notify your creditors in writing of the fraud and send them a copy of your incident report which has been filed with the local law enforcement or the FTC.

5. Change ALL account passwords.

6. It may be necessary to get a new driver’s license, depending on how quickly the fraudulent activity was realized and reported.

Stay vigilant. Realize there are bad people who want to steal your identity. Everyone is NOT your friend. Follow precautions and if identity theft happens…. REPORT IMMEDIATELY!


Reference: Tip of the Week: Deputy Richard Vasquez, Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office

Accessed at:

Accessed on: March 27, 2018.

Reference: Keeping Personal Information Personal

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Accessed on April 14, 2018.

Reference: Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud

Accessed at:

Accessed on: April 14, 2018.

Reference: Data Breach

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Accessed on: April 14, 2018.

Reference Photo One: Keeping Personal Things Personal

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Accessed on April 14, 2018.

Reference Photo Two: Identity Theft Complaint Graph

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Accessed on April 14, 2018.

Reference Photo Three: Data Breach Graph

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Accessed on April 14, 2018.

Reference Photo Four: Identity Snapshot

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Accessed on: April 14, 2018.

Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of the Cardinal Institute for Health Career’s blog is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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