Credit Cards

How can I see if my identity has been stolen?

Mike from Hawthorne, CA

Episode 1199

Mike needs to buy a new hard drive. Leo says they've gotten really large and really cheap. He could get a 5 TB hard drive for under $150. And SSDs have dropped below $1 a GB.

Back in 2013, Mike noticed he's had several negative dings on his credit. Leo says to check out his credit report to see if there's fraud or other inaccuracies it. If so, he can challenge them. But if he's a victim of identity theft, it's a hard thing to convince not only the credit agencies, but also the credit card companies and the IRS that he's had his identity stolen.

Why don't I get a PIN with my new chipped credit card?

Larry from Santa Barbara, CA

Episode 1199

Larry has gotten a new credit card and it has a chip on it. Leo says that America has finally gone to the chip and PIN system, and we are now in the process of transitioning to it. The problem though, is that he didn't get a PIN with it, and he wants one. Leo says it's a steady transition. First chip and sign. Then we'll get PINs within a few years. But it's odd that American Express, which has a worldwide presence, wouldn't go with a PIN for it.

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

Peter from Dana Point.CA

Episode 1188

Peter had his credit cards stolen. Leo says it's a very common thing. The good news is that in the US, the banks take all the liability, and this Fall, a new credit card will come out with chips and PIN numbers to guard against theft. Another option is to sign up for one time use credit card numbers, or numbers that can be used with just one merchant.

Banks to Finally Install Chips Into Credit Cards

Episode 1056

Credit Card

After the massive data breach at Target, Banks are finally planning to use the Chip and Pin technology, and will be done by October 2015. You'll be using your credit card, which will then ask you for a PIN. Leo says it's about time. While it won't completely prevent hackers from stealing credit cards, it will make it much harder. How will it affect online purchases? Leo says not much. Users will probably have to give some supporting information, but that's about it.

How to Protect Yourself After Target Credit Card Breach

Between November 27 and December 12 of 2013, Target stores company-wide were hacked, compromising up to 40 million credit cards. The breach does not include purchases made online with Target, only in its retail stores. If you've ever used your credit or debit card at Target in the United States, it's highly recommended that you get a new card and close your current account. Canada Target stores have not been breached, however, because of their requirements for a digital chip in the card itself and a PIN. Without these two factors, a transaction can't be made.

Is it safer if I close out of everything else when I'm shopping online?

Jay from Providence, NC

Episode 1042

Jay wants to know if he should keep all apps closed while shopping online. Leo says not really. The real key is to make sure he's using "https" when he's shopping. That means the traffic is encrypted. What we learned from the Target breach is that it's the security afterwards, when they're storing the credit card number. Leo says that it's often possible to set up a one time only credit card that can only be used once or only with a single merchant.

What can I do if my identity gets stolen?

Steve from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1041

Steve was a victim of identity theft after applying for a home loan online. Leo says that all it really takes to steal your identity is your date of birth and social security number. What can he do? Lifelock is one solution. Leo says it's very frustrating and the credit reporting agencies aren't sympathetic at all. He could pay them a monthly fee, sure. Leo also says there's so much ID theft that police are drastically undermanned and just can't keep up.

Is Coin Secure Enough to Be the Credit Card of the Future?

Episode 1032

"One Card to Rule them all, One Card to Charge them. One Card to Bring them all, and in debt bind them." That's the idea of Coin, a one size fits all digital credit card that can be programmable for all cards, and can switch between them as users use it. Leo says the marketing has been fantastic with it, but he wonders how secure Coin will really be. And will merchants buy into this idea?