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Identity Theft High in Oregon; Watch Those Credit Cards

Oregon ranked third among states for high identity-theft rates in 2014, according to a Federal Trade Commission study. (Don Hankins/Flickr)
Oregon ranked third among states for high identity-theft rates in 2014, according to a Federal Trade Commission study. (Don Hankins/Flickr)
July 8, 2016

BEND, Ore. - Oregonians are hitting the road for summer vacation, but they may need to keep a closer eye on their credit cards.

The Beaver State ranked third for identify-theft rates across the country in 2014, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission. Only Florida and Washington had higher rates.

Kyle Frick, vice president for marketing and community relations at the Mid Oregon Credit Union, said most fraud takes place when people provide card information online.

"People get in trouble when they are using websites or places that may be unique or smaller, or just very specialized types of things," he said.

Card information should be provided only on secure sites with web addresses that begin with "https," Frick said, adding that people also should be careful when using credit cards in retail settings and make sure to keep their cards in sight during transactions.

Frick said the good news is that new technology is allowing people to stop fraud earlier. If information is stolen, credit unions such as his have computer systems that can recognize unusual purchases and report back to card owners. Some new cards contain locator chips; if a purchase is made away from the card, the owner will be notified. Most new cards have EMV chips, which are more secure than cards with just magnetic strips. However, Frick said EMV readers take a while to perform transactions, leading to another issue.

"People walk away and forget to pull their card out," Frick said, "so, that's a thing to be aware of. Make sure that you, one, remove your card from the EMV chip reader; and two, make sure you get your receipt."

Frick said it's a good habit for people to check their financial accounts regularly and verify transactions. During summer road trips, he said, try not to make online purchases or access your financial information from hotels or other public Wi-Fi spots.

The FTC report is online at ftc.gov.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR