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If someone can get a hold of your Credit Card number, they can use the number online and assume your identy. Credit cared fraud is a form of idenity theft.
This link goes over credit card fraud and how it is used against you: http://money.howstuffworks.com/identity-theft1.htm
Always make sure if you use your credit card, ATM, at a gas station, or restaurant to get your receipt.
There is actually a new scam that eletronic card readers are being used and the scammer can get close enough where they can get the info right off your card sitting in your wallet. There is a company that has come out with a metal wallet to try and prevent this from happening.
You also need to be sure if you get a credit card offer in the mail to shred it as those can be used against you. Joan
The thieves use the card and most people do not check their statements for charges immediately, so it takes a while before the error is caught. This slows the authorities from catching the crooks. The thieves can also use the credit card number to buy items and then return the items to get cash. If the thieves take over your identity, they can apply for other cards and get cash advances. If they can get your number they can be very creative in using it to their advantage. Joan
Some retailers will refund cash or a store credit with a Drivers License. Each store is different. Walmart will give a store credit, Target will either give cash or store Credit and Kohls is the same way. It varies from store to store. Joan
You are correct. Many of the stores are cracking down on returns now because of fraud.
The way they can get around the system is to buy high ticket items and sell them at flea markets, in the newspaper or a place like Craigs list. The items are sold in box or out of box and all cash deals. They use the credit cards, but the items that can be easily sold and unload them for the cash. Joan