Information Net for February 24

Credit Cards


Losing your wallet can cause your brow to sweat and your blood pressure to rise. Ditto for getting a call from your bank saying your credit card has been compromised. No one wants to deal with card fraud, but unfortunately, many of us do.More than 2 out of 5 Americans with credit cards experienced some kind of credit card or debit card fraud in the past five years. About a third of card fraud in 2008 involved counterfeit cards or lost or stolen cards. That amounted to $2.44 billion in card losses that year. No card is invulnerable to fraud. But every type of payment card, from the traditional card with the magnetic stripe to the emerging virtual cards on smart-phones, comes built with security features to make it harder for someone to steal your card info at checkout. When using one of your cards, know what its strengths and weaknesses are to protect yourself against losses.


The card with the magnetic stripe on the back is the most common type in U.S. wallets. Called a mag-stripe card for short, the card’s key to its security efforts are on that stripe.The stripe contains up to three tracks and holds all the information that is physically found on the card, such as your name, card number and expiration date. The first and second tracks consist of basic account information to complete a transaction. The third track is rarely used, but when it is, it can include a personal identification number, country code or authorized amount. All the information on the stripe is encrypted, but only once. That means it stays encrypted the same way for every transaction. Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, calls it “static” data because it never changes. That makes it easier for fraudsters to pick up the information from the magnetic stripe using a device called a skimmer and to create a counterfeit card with that information.


Skimmers can be placed over ATMs or payment terminals and collect the information on the magnetic stripes. Or, fraudsters posing as waiters can swipe your card through hand-held skimmers.It’s not all doom and gloom. Card issuers have created sophisticated counter-fraud systems that track your transactions and will deny purchases that don’t fit with your spending patterns. The three- or four-digit CVC code also protects against online fraud. The CVV Number (“Card Verification Value”) on your credit card or debit card is a 3 digit number on VISA®, MasterCard® and Discover® branded credit and debit cards. On your American Express® branded credit or debit card it is a 4 digit numeric code. Your CVV number can be located by looking on your credit or debit card, as illustrated in the image below:


Providing your CVV number to an online merchant proves that you actually have the physical credit or debit card – and helps to keep you safe while reducing fraud.CVV numbers are NOT your card’s secret PIN (Personal Identification Number).You should never enter your PIN number when asked to provide your CVV. (PIN numbers allow you to use your credit or debit card at an ATM or when making an in-person purchase with your debit card or a cash advance with any credit card.) CVV numbers are also known as CSC numbers (“Card Security Code”), as well as CVV2 numbers, which are the same as CVV numbers, except that they have been generated by a 2nd generation process that makes them harder to “guess”. Here’s some good news: Even if your credit card gets stolen, lost or cloned — no matter what type it is — your maximum liability for unauthorized charges is $50, under federal law. That goes down to zero if your credit card account information, and not the actual card itself, is used to make fraudulent purchases, according to the Fair Credit Billing Act.


Debit cards have fewer protections. If you report the card missing before any unauthorized transactions take place, you aren’t responsible for the loss. But if you report the card missing after a fraudulent transaction pops up, your losses vary depending on how much time has passed since you realized your card is gone.Within two business days, your maximum liability is $50.Within 60 days after your statement is mailed, your maximum liability is $500. After that, there’s no maximum liability and you could lose all your funds in the account and possibly be charged overdraft fees. It’s always a good idea to protect your cards from fraudulent charges by monitoring your purchase history online. Contact your card issuer and credit reporting bureaus immediately if you find a suspicious transaction. If you forget to check here and there, it’s helpful to know that your card issuer also tracks your transactions, and its security programs will flag unusual purchases, usually before you even see them.

Man loses hand, fingers in accident

Read by: RICK N9GRW

KEITH COUSINS/Staff writer

Athol Massachusetts resident was working on his ham radio tower…

Firefighters from Timberlake Fire Protection District work the scene where an Athol man lost a hand and several fingers Thursday following an accident that occurred while working on a ham radio tower.

A 52-year-old ham radio operator in Athol lost several fingers and one of his hands Thursday when his amateur radio antenna tower collapsed on him while he was working on it.
Multiple agencies responded to Bearpaw Galindo’s home on Caravelle Road after his wife, Gail Perry, phoned 911 and informed a dispatcher the man was hanging 20 feet in the air with his right arm pinned within a telescoping-type tower.

Perry said Galindo was repairing a portion of the 40-foot-tall telescoping tower, when a cable holding it up snapped and caused the top portions of the tower to collapse on his hands.


“I saw his fingers fly off of his right hand,” Perry told The Press. “I never want to see something like that again.”

According to a press release from the Timberlake Fire Protection District, crews were dispatched to the scene at 11:58 a.m., and proceeded to raise the tower in an effort to free Galindo’s arm. After 20 minutes, the man was extricated and lowered to the ground.

Galindo was trapped for a total of 45 minutes.

“I can’t say anything better about them,” Perry said of the emergency responders. “They were awesome.”

Galindo was then transported by Life Flight to Kootenai Health.

Doctors told Perry her husband was in critical condition early Thursday evening. At 3 p.m., Galindo was taken into surgery, where doctors performed a partial amputation on his left hand and a full amputation on the right. Perry said doctors estimated the surgery would last more than four hours.

“They (doctors) said that he will be in the hospital for quite a few days,” Perry said.

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