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ID Theft/Credit Card Protections

Washington, D.C. November 17, 2004
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants everyone shopping this holiday season to enjoy purchasing gifts for loved ones and friends without the fear of becoming a victim of credit card fraud, credit card ID theft and financial information fraud. There are plenty of protections you may easily take to protect yourself from the unscrupulous criminal element looking to steal your money.

The FBI's Financial Crimes Section, Criminal Investigative Division, and the Cyber Crime Section, Cyber Division, oversee investigations of such crimes not only in the United States but work with international police agencies on computer frauds around the world.

You can protect yourself by not providing any credit card or financial information to any person or company you are not familiar with. Be sure you are communicating with a reputable company when making credit card purchases in person and ensure that clerks are not using your credit card in an unorthodox manner.

When making purchases on the Internet, the Cyber Division has some very important tips:

* Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box or phone number;
* Send e-mail to verify e-mail address of a company and be wary if they use free e-mail services;
* Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller's area;
* Inquire about returns and warranties;
* Maintain records of all online transactions.
* Remember, do not give out your social security or driver's license number to the seller or anyone else.
* Important, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

The FBI works closely with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in protecting you. Should you become a victim of credit card/financial/Internet scam, contact the FBI or your nearest police agency to report. Providing as many details as possible gives investigators that much more information to work with while investigating the crime.

Learn more about the FBI's Cyber and Criminal Investigative Divisions on the FBI's Internet website.