The dangers of
■ Cyber crime
■ Airport woes
■ Lost refunds
By David Horowitz
NO-SWIPE CREDIT CARDS—which use radio
waves to relay their data—can put consumers at
increased risk of identity theft, says New York
Senator Charles Schumer. The lawmaker is urging
stronger encryption standards and wants credit
issuers to warn shoppers of the potential risks.
No-swipe cards, which are being marketed as a
time saver at checkout, are processed by a radio frequency identification reader operated by the retailer.
Tens of millions of these cards have been issued in
the past year to speed up retail transactions such as
But when a user presents the card, thieves positioned near the terminals and armed with their own
radio frequency readers can steal the information.
Schumer says, “You may as well put your credit-card
information on a big sign on your back.”
He advises shoppers to be extremely careful
with their credit cards and is urging companies to
increase efforts to protect people from identity theft.
before boarding. This is particularly true for those
with older electronics that don’t hold a charge.
Unfortunately, airport concourses, particularly
older ones, weren’t designed for the wireless wayfarer. But now, industry experts say, the rush to
power is pressing. Many airports across the country
are installing more electric outlets.
I RECENTLY traded in
my old truck for a used
pickup. I called the
dealer since the registration had not arrived.
He said I’d have it in
one week, but, to date,
it has not arrived. In
the meantime— 2,200
decided I really don’t
care for the truck.
Can the dealership
be required to provide
a full refund, including
the trade amount for
the old pickup?
Stay clear of cyber crime
Last year, consumers spent more than $80 billion on the Internet, and one out of 10 adults reported
being victimized in 2006. So, computer security experts have come up with a group of tips to help shoppers stay clear of cyber crime.
Investigate the vendor. Check the site for contact information and refund and privacy policies.
Keep information private. Never provide
financial information by e-mail. Also, don’t respond
to e-mail asking for personal information.
Keep a paper file. Save printouts of the product
listing, online receipt and any e-mail exchanged
with the seller.
Beware where you shop. Don’t shop over wireless networks that aren’t encrypted or password
protected. Hackers can exploit the site and steal
Protect your computer. Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software and a firewall. Viruses can slow your PC, destroy your data or
hijack your computer.
The check isn’t in the mail
You might be one of the nearly
96,000 taxpayers whose refund
checks have been returned to the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
as undeliverable. When a taxpayer moves or changes address
and fails to notify the IRS
or the U.S. Postal Service,
a check sent to the last
known address is
returned to the IRS.
The checks, with
an average amount of
$963 and worth a total
of $92.2 million, can
be claimed as soon as
their owners update
their addresses with
the IRS. In some cases,
a taxpayer has more than
one check waiting.
If you’re missing an
expected refund, check
www.IRS.gov and access
“Where’s My Refund?”
You can also get information by calling toll-free
AMY CAN TRELL
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate.
His “Fight Back!” commentaries are heard daily on
the Jones Radio Network. For stations and times,
check the radio page at www.fightback.com.
© 2007 FIGHT BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
FIRST, SUCH a delay
can be normal. Many
state vehicle departments are overworked.
To answer your
dealer is not
required to give
you any kind of
refund or ex-
passed a law
period when buying a
used vehicle. But that
is limited to two days
following purchase. No
other states have this.
However, if you are
unhappy with the truck,
consider trading it in.
The dealer might be
willing to negotiate for
an upgrade. You may be
able to strike a good
deal, since the truck is
only two years old and
in excellent shape.
A plug for plugs
What do travelers desire most at airports? It certainly isn’t the food. Or the tiny travel-size bottles of
shampoo. It is … electrical sockets!
A survey shows that travelers with cell phones,
PDAs, Bluetooth earphones, notebook computers
and DVD players are anxious to plug in and recharge
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