Make a payment . . . lose your identity
Every person has heard or seen articles or broadcasts about identity theft. Since it is, what I like to call, the "Crime of the Century," people are taking more precautions.
You are probably wondering what I mean when I titled this thread, "MAKE A PAYMENT . . . LOSE YOUR IDENTITY." Have you ever gone into a store personally to make a payment. Sure, everyone has done this on more than one occassion. Have you ever taken a close look at your receipt? Chances are the only thing you are interested in is did they enter the correct amount for my payment?
You need to be concerned with the "other" information that is not there. In 2003 a law was passed requiring merchants to only print the last four digits of your account number on the receipt. If you look around you will see it is being done. Have you ever looked at the barcode on your receipt? Most people don't give it a second thought because it doesn't give any information. Right . . . WRONG!!!
If you make a payment at a local store for your account. You may see a barcode somewhere on your receipt. If there is, DO NOT LOSE IT! This barcode may be your computer generated account number. If the barcode on the receipt is scanned it will provide your account information. This barcode can be scanned for a purchase. In many of the cases I have investigated it is done by the employee.
Let me make give you an example. I go to my local department store to make a credit card payment. After making the payment I am given a receipt with the barcode. I walk away from the employee and throw the receipt away. After all, I looked at the receipt and did not see any of my information. The employee sees me throw the receipt away and waits until I leave the area or store. The employee goes over and picks up the discarded receipt. The employee now has my credit card information for the store. All this employee has to do is pick out the merchandise he or she wants and scans the barcode. There will be a receipt printed showing the transaction and of course there will be the auditors copy. When books are balanced everything checks out. Because the barcode was scanned the receipt does not show a customer name.
The unsuspecting customer is not aware of the transaction until they receive the next bill. When the customer finally finds out about the transaction and returns to the store they learn the video for the transaction is usually no longer on file.
The thing to remember is always keep your receipts. If you do not want to keep them...shred them. If you have are shopping and you just have to throw away your receipts, use some common sense. Never throw all of them away together. At least take the receipts and tear them in half. Place one half of the receipt in one trash receptacle and throw the remaining half in another.