January 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last week we learned in the national media that the number of customer-victims of hacked credit accounts at the Target stores was not 40 million as originally reported, but was instead around 110 million. And, to top it off, Neiman Marcus reported that they had been hacked, too. Sunday night NBC news reported that several other retailers, as yet unidentified, had also had their customers’ data stolen.

This is a timely topic for me. In early December I received a call from one of my credit card companies asking whether I was making, or attempting to make, purchases using my credit card somewhere in Florida. Since I was sitting in my den in Meridian, I answered in the negative. They cancelled my card and issued a new one, which I received in a couple of days. And that was not all.

After I made a purchase a week before Christmas using my debit card at Books-a-Million in Meridian, charges at that store in Meridian and Montgomery, Alabama, that were not made by me began appearing on my bank account. The bank had me sign affidavits, cancelled the transactions, refunded my money, and cancelled my old card. I received the replacement in a week.

Several years ago, someone tried to purchase a flat-screen tv using one of my credit card numbers at a Wal-Mart in Wisconsin. Card cancelled for fraud, and a new card issued.

I say all this to point out that credit and debit card fraud is not something that happens to all of those other mega-numbers of people reported in the news. Those kinds of things happen to everyday folk like you and I. Oh, and by the way, I have not set foot in a Target store in at least the past 5 years.    

There is a plethora of information on the internet about how to protect your credit information and take corrective action, so I am not going to rehash all that here. I can only add that eternal vigilance is the price of plastic noawdays. I check my bank account online daily. I scan every credit card statement carefully.  

Lawyers can be particularly vulnerable. Aside from all of the representation and commingling scams, credit and debit cards present a significant opportunity for fraud. It’s easy for lawyers to get busy and not check behind staff to see where the money — and credit — is going. It can cost you.

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