Recently a number of articles warning against "innovative" credit card-related scams caught my eye. Here’s a rundown of situtations to avoid:
Get free sub sandwich; give a credit card in your name: “At Subway, (identity thieves) will buy 50 certificates for a free sub. Then they’ll pick up 50 applications for a credit card,” Glenewinkel said. “They go down to the Outlet Mall and ask people to fill out the applications and receive a free sub. If someone fills out that application, that person has all your personal information, especially your social security number.” (Source: Texas State – The University Star)
What to do: Only apply for credit cards through clearly official kiosks and websites. For that matter, think twice before you enter your contact info in "free car" drawings at events. What do they do with that info?
Thieves call and ask for credit card PIN to verify you’re the owner: "The caller tells the victim that a phony charge has been made to his or her account. When the victim denies the purchase, the scammer says that the company will add a credit to the account. All the victim needs to do is read his or her three-digit personal identification number to prove ownership of the card. The PIN is key to this scam." (Source: The Free Lance Star)
What to do: You’ve heard it a million times. "We will never ask for your PIN." This applies to bank accounts and applies to credit cards.
Call the number printed on your credit card if someone tells you there is a fraud issue.
Who’s getting new copies of your old credit cards? While this article refers to cases in the United Kingdom, it offers sound advice. "Credit card holders need to be extra vigilant about fraud on accounts they no longer use." [The author] describes a number of recent cases where banks have continued to send out cards and Pins after the card holder has moved. (Source: UK Guardian Unlimited)
What to do: Close credit card accounts if you no longer use the card – no matter how much they try to convince you it’s in the best interest of your credit rating to keep the card open. Directly inform credit card companies if you move.
Stopping offers of credit, which may keep coming to your old address if you move, is another useful precaution.