We often read about the generous things people do for complete strangers. But the opposite is also true. This is the time of the year when crooks come out of the woodwork in the CV. Merchants are most at risk. With crowds during our winter season it is easier to steal and not be noticed.

Booster Box/Bag: A larger hollow box or bag is placed down over a slightly smaller shopping bag, purse or product placed on the ground while looking in a showcase. The spring loaded bottom secures the item about to be stolen. The thief then walks away without anyone seeing what happened.

RFID: Unfortunately your credit card information can also be stolen without taking the physical credit card. Thieves have an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) which is half the size of a laptop. When they walk by you in a restaurant, airport or department store the card reading device, costing less than $100, automatically steals your personal info off your credit card. The Radio Frequency Identification is a tiny chip in our credit and debit cards. If your card has the symbol of 4 waves )))) or says Pay Pass, Pay Wave or Blink it has RFID.

Your personal information from the RFID can be instantaneously transferred onto a hotel credit card sized room key. That room key is now a ” YOUR credit card” which can be used to swipe and charge things against your card account. To avoid this you can put your credit cards into a protective sleeve that has an aluminum lining. This type of theft can occur with your passport at an airport so you should buy protective sleeves for both.


Fake Shipping: For the last 4 months, I have received emails notifying me my package is on its way. Be careful and don’t click when you get this notice, as it may contain a link or attachment that will take you to a site that installs malware. If you didn’t order anything, don’t click on it.

Gift Cards: They can be the perfect gift… IF not already opened. However, crooks go to stores and write down the numbers and pin on the back of the card. When they see someone purchase one they go online and use up the amount on the card. Thus you must be sure the wrapping on the card has not been disturbed, or the pin revealed.

Fraudulent Charities: During the holidays, and catastrophic fires, hurricanes and earthquakes, we are all more inclined to help our fellow man and may fall for one of dozens of phony charities. If you don’t recognize the charity don’t donate to them.

E-Cards: Many people now send holiday and birthday cards via email rather than through the mail. Be careful before you click on them if you don’t recognize the name of the sender. These are often phishing scams, aimed at getting you to provide more personal information.

IF your credit card is stolen or compromised, report it to the major reporting agencies below.

Equifax 1-800 525 6285: to place a fraud alert 888 766 0008. To order a credit report call 800 685 1111

Experian (formerly TRW 1-888 397 3742 to place fraud alert. To order a credit report call 888 397 3742

Trans Union 1-800 680 7289 to place a Fraud alert. To order a credit report call 800 888 4213

Social Security Administration (fraud line) 1-800 269 0271

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE ARTICLE? CONTACT DALE GRIBOW 760-837-7500/ dale@dalegribowlaw.com.


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