Credit Cards vs Debit Cards: Know Your Rights.


Credit Cards vs Debit Cards: Know Your Rights.

What Personal Information Should You Give to Merchants?


Fact Sheet 15What Personal Information Should You Give to Merchants?

Merchants generally want as much information as possible about their customers so they can more precisely target offers to them. But in our information-centric society, where billions of bits of information can easily be collated and distributed, it’s not necessarily in consumers’ interest to have a lot of their personal data accessible. Seemingly innocuous customer information obtained from consumers at the cash register or online can be combined with data from other sources to obtain a surprisingly detailed portrait of an individual customer. 

Is it possible that in the not-too-distant future an insurance company could check the choices you make at the grocery store and penalize you if you bought, say, cigarettes or high-fat foods? Or, could law-enforcement officials scan store records to see if you acquired materials that could have been used in a crime?

The answer to the second question is “yes”.

State Merchant Laws


Fact Sheet 15 AddendumState Merchant Laws

Online Shopping Tips: E-Commerce and You


Fact Sheet 23Online Shopping Tips:
E-Commerce and You

With just a click of the mouse, shoppers can buy nearly any product online -- from groceries to cars, from insurance policies to home loans. The world of electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce, enables consumers to shop at thousands of online stores and pay for their purchases without leaving the comfort of home. For many, the Internet has taken the place of Saturday afternoon window shopping at the mall. Consumers expect merchants to not only make their products available on the Web, but to make payments a simple and secure process. However, the same things can go wrong shopping in cyberspace as in the real world. Sometimes it is simply a case of a computer glitch or poor customer service. Other times, shoppers are cheated by clever scam artists.

Paper or Plastic: What Have You Got to Lose?


Fact Sheet 32Paper or Plastic:
What Have You Got to Lose?

Once you decide to buy something, you then must determine how to pay for it. Do you hand over cash? Write a check? Pay with a credit card? Or use a debit card and have the payment automatically deducted from your bank account?

If you’re like most people, you use a combination of paper, plastic and electronic payments. Pros and cons exist to whichever payment method you choose. Many of us decide quickly about the method of payment and spend too little time thinking about the potential costs or consumer protections of each method.

But you should be aware that thieves are inventing new ways to steal consumers’ account information. For example, some crooks have learned to use “skimming” devices to steal credit card or debit card information off card-swipe machines. This guide seeks to inform you about your rights as well as outline the potential risks and benefits of different payment methods.

YouTube Video on Debit Cards: Know the Risks


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is pleased to announce the release of the fourth short film in a six-part series. The film, Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards: Know Your Rights, demonstrates the risks in using a debit card.

The 4-minute film is about a single mom named Sabine who learns that her debit card has been compromised; a fraudulent $312 purchase was made in a different state.  With only a few hundred dollars left in her account, Sabine has barely enough money left to pay bills while the bank investigates the fraudulent activity.

What could Sabine have done differently? Is there a happy ending in store for Sabine? Watch the video to find out. If you like it, we hope you will share it with friends and family.

Survive Cyber Monday with our Top 10 Online Shopping Tips


The phrase "Cyber Monday" was coined several years ago to describe the phenomenon of millions of workers returning to their offices on the Monday after Thanksgiving and spending a good part of the day doing their holiday shopping online.  By November 2010, Cyber Monday had become the biggest online shopping day in history and the first to surpass the billion-dollar threshold. 

By all indications, Cyber Monday 2011 will be a blockbuster day for online retailers.  Shopping online can be a convenient, time-saving, and economical alternative to shopping in a traditional "bricks and mortar" retail store.  However, it's important for consumers to take basic steps to protect their privacy.  If you plan to shop online on Cyber Monday (or on any other day of the year), following these 10 tips will help to protect you from fraud, identity theft and other privacy intrusions.

California Court Ruling Strengthens Consumer Privacy


On Feb. 10, 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled that retail stores are not allowed to request and record a consumer's zip code as part of a credit card transaction. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Consumer Federation of California, that jointly filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on this case, the ruling gives further protection to California consumers and helps prevent unlawful use of personal identification information (PII).

Holiday Shopping? Ten Timely Tips


During the holiday season, you may be shopping more frequently and under more crowded and frantic conditions.   Follow these tips to help avoid scams and rip-offs.   Be a privacy-smart consumer!  Wherever you happen to shop this holiday season--the mall, online, or on Main Street--following these tips will help you have a safer and more private holiday season.

Want to Buy a $37 Soda?


Pay with a debit card and that refreshing soda on a hot day may give your wallet chills. Because of the way that most banks process debit card transactions, a $2.00 soda can generate $35 in bank fees. In this alert, we’ll highlight basic steps consumers should take to avoid the pernicious cycle of overdrafts and bank fees

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