Another (Limited) Way To Prevent Internet Fraud

Some time ago, we discussed several steps you can take and agencies you can use to help protect yourself from— or react to— instances of Internet fraud. (See )

Most credit-card issuers already offer a good level of user-protection, including protection against all or most fraudulent charges that might be made on your card. The usual worst case, rarely applied anymore, is that you’re charged for the first $50 of fraudulent activity, no matter what the total is. But more often, if you’re truly a victim of fraud, the card issuer simply forgives the charges entirely.

I don’t use American Express myself, but reader Gene Plantz does, and he wrote to tell me of an interesting service Amex offers its users:

American Express has a new service that allows you to obtain a one-time use credit card number that can be used at any location that accepts AMEX. After that number is used, it expires (or after a predetermined period of time). All a cardholder needs to do before completing a sales transaction online is to go to the AMEX web site and request a one-time-use number and then use that number.

This prevents the cases where a merchant’s database is hacked (or given away) to outside forces. The number you used is dead after the transaction and you never used your real card number.

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.