Subject: Credit card fraud: was credit cards in Europe
Hi Barb,

Sorry to hear about you becoming a victim of credit card fraud. We had this happen to us a number of years ago here in San Diego. My wife had her identity stolen. Fortunately, like you somebody at one of the credit card companies noticed an irregularity (in our case it was an error made by the criminal on a credit card application).

First, we contacted and informed all of our various credit and financial accounts about the fraud. And then followed their suggestions which included:

We proceeded to put passwords on all of our accounts ( this prevents anyone from drawing cash out of the account). We always inform the issuers of our credit cards and our bank (for the ATM card) when and where we will be traveling. Otherwise any unusual activity on the card is red-flagged and the account frozen until we are informed. And finally, and I think most importantly, I keep a close eye on our statements. Oh yeah, we also shred any receipt or document that contains sensitive information.

Theoretically, anytime you use the card the numbers could be taken by a dishonest employee not just when the card is out of your possesion. So, please don't indict restaurant employees (as a 30 year veteran of the industry I'm a bit sensitive about this). Identity theft is one the fastest growing areas in crime and law enforcement is way behind the curve in its response. The best way to fight it is to be vigilant about your credit card use. In the years since our incident we've continued to use our cards with no further problem.

John in San Diego