Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 25, 2013

Protecting yourself from credit card fraud

Melinda Hester
The Independent

ASHLAND — We always like to pay with cash to save credit card finance charges, but there is also another bigger reason.

How do you protect yourself from credit card fraud?

This information comes from a very famous identity thief who you may remember from a movie called “Catch Me if You Can.” Frank W. Abagnale is now president of a secure-technology consulting firm. He has several prevention strategies to keep your money safe.

Shred all magazine address labels and catalogs,, especially the red and blue or any other color boxes that appear by your address. These colored boxes hold all of your personal information, including your name, address, phone number and the credit card number you used to purchase items from this company. If a person had access to a reader, they have all your information just from dumpster diving in a recycling bin. Be sure to remove your address and information from the middle of the mail order catalog. Many companies print your name automatically on an order sheet in the middle of the catalog.

Have a post office box to receive things such as your personalized checks and medicines.

Shred every bill and other documents.

Order a copy of your credit report once a year.

Don’t keep pin numbers, social security information  or passwords in your wallet  or purse.

If you have become a victim, call Equifax at (800) 685-1111 and your police department. Contact the fraud department of each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Ask that a fraud alert be placed in your file and add a victim’s statement, so creditors can see this before opening a new account in your name.

Cancel all savings accounts, and credit cards and open new ones. The less, the better on credit cards.

Space invaders

Is someone invading your space while shopping or standing in line? This would include at check-out especially. This happened to me at Macy’s. A young woman next to me was entirely too close. Speaking to her friend in a foreign language, I felt that she was trying to gain information or steal from my purse. I put it in front of me and had both arms around it. I turned to her and asked her to step back a little. She continued to speak in a foreign language as if she didn’t understand what I said. Never moving, she continued to invade my space. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, there is probably a valid reason. Don’t be too nice.

Identity thieves rely on the fact that most people want to be nice. They don’t want to make a scene. Frank Abagnale advises “Make a scene.” Draw attention to the fact you feel something isn’t right. Couponers shop often and usually we deal in cash. Watch your purses and your wallets.

Shopping trip

We took our first shopping trip with this coupon class, and I think they all paid for the class with their savings. We’ll get it higher every week. It is so fun to watch them save big in the store. Thank you to CVS for hosting us.

Loss leaders

What is a Loss Leader?

This is the product in the store ad that is on sale at such a low price that the store will probably take a loss on the sale. We found several of these at CVS this week in class. By advertising a sale so good you want to go to that store to get that particular product, you will go to that store. The store needs to get you there to make money. The word “leader” indicates you will be led to purchase other groceries. This will, in turn, make up for the loss on certain products you took for free. Couponers are after “loss leader” products.  

When an item is listed as “Limit One,” this is a code word telling you there is potential to get this free, nearly free or be paid to take it. You just have to figure out the game. How do I get this at a better price than the sale price? The sale price is good, but limit one means I can possibly get it for free. We’re finding out how to do that in class. Seeing it done makes it so easy, and one of my girls found a five-stacker.

Stacking coupons at CVS is a sport that should be on ESPN. The luck of the draw at the magical coupon machine can mean dollars off, and more dollars off. Just put the puzzle pieces together right there in the aisle and have a ball. Everyone gets different coupons from this machine, but they are all very valuable in putting deals together.

CVS

Charmin Basic Toilet Paper Single Roll (That’s one) 2/$1.99. Instant Coupon from machine $1.49 2/.50 cents. Use 25 cent coupon on each. Free, limit one

Tide Pods (Finally) $2 EB. Limit one. No price given. This is good on any coupon, .50 cents off one

CVS Training Pants 99 cents, EB 99 cents. Free. Limit one.

StayFree 14-24 count, $2.99, $1 EB, $1 manufacturer’s coupon. .99 cents. Limit one.

Spend $15 on Nice and Easy or Head and Shoulders, get $5 EB. Use BOGO Head and Shoulders or $2 manufacturer’s coupon on Nice and Easy. Look for store coupons to stack on shampoo or hair color. Check CVS.com.

Herbal Essences 2/$5, $1 EB on two. Use BOGO coupon. Limit one set.

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Learn to calm down in the store, take a friend, and just cruise the aisle with your binder. You will find some real deals, free items and have a whole lot of fun.