CHICAGO, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As hundreds of credit card transactions have been detected as potentially compromised in the Chicago area, AARP reminds consumers to be cautious of potential frauds and scams, watch over credit reports, and protect critical personal information. News media reports alerted Chicago-area residents about a pattern of fraudulent transactions conducted on debit cards First American Bank had issued that customers used to pay for cabs in the city.
"Credit card fraud and identity theft have been on a steady rise in the nation over the past five years," said AARP Illinois State Director, Bob Gallo. "The last thing you need to worry about is whether critical information is compromised while doing something as simple as paying cab fare. That is why we have launched a nationwide effort to fight fraud and scams, fighting back and offering Illinoisans information and resources so they can protect themselves."
While the bank is working with authorities to invalidate doubtful transactions and correct the issues, there are simple steps that you can take to protect yourself and your money:
- Protect Your Personal Information– Keep copies of credit cards (front and back) in a safe place in case a card is lost or stolen or its information compromised.
- Monitor Your Bills– Review your monthly bank statements carefully and contact your creditors if a bill doesn't arrive when expected or includes charges you don't recognize. Look especially for smaller amounts, especially if you didn't save your receipt or do not recognize them.
- Protect Your Information Online– Avoid conducting personal or financial business on shared/public computers or over public wireless hotspots. If possible, pay cash for your cab fare.
- Who to Contact– Contact your bank or credit card provider first. Many credit institutions now provide text or phone alerts that you can subscribe to that will let you know when unusual transactions have taken place. If you have a complaint about fraudulent activity involving a bank account or service, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, online at http://consumerfinance.gov/complaint or call toll-free (855) 411-2372.
- Sign up– You can also sign up with the AARP Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about cons and scams going on in your own state. For additional information and resources, follow Sid Kirchheimer's AARP blog on frauds, scams, and consumer protections.
SOURCE AARP Illinois