Holiday scams only a swipe away

In November 2003, the introduction of the first camera phone got many consumers buzzing about the steady pace of technology. Now, a year later, some people are already figuring out ways to use something as simple, fun and innocent as a camera phone, for their own criminal pleasures; credit card fraud.

Jason Gaston, a reporter for NBC’s WAFF station, did a consumer alert to warn people of the hazards behind camera phones. With Christmas season around the corner, shoppers should know what to look out for while completing their Christmas lists.

According to a CBS report, criminals have been snapping pictures of credit cards while shoppers are making their purchases, and getting away with a person’s name and credit card number. Then they make purchases with the information that they capture within seconds, without anyone knowing.

Not many Dillard students were aware of this scam that has been going on since these camera phones have come out and more frequently now that Christmas season is coming around. Some students said that although they never paid attention to people behind them in line, they do take other measures to protect themselves.

"The only precautions that I take are that I scratch out my credit card number and leave only the last four digits of my credit card number on the receipts", said Tangala Hollis, a junior English major. Other students said they take no safety measures when using their credit cards. When asked if she ever pays attention to see if anyone is trying to steal her credit card information while she is using it, Tiffany Groy, a senior nursing major said, "for the most part, no."

One student said that although he does not use credit cards when shopping, it is not for safety precautions. Patrick Okeke, a junior from Phoenix, La., said, "I don’t use a credit card because I am afraid that if I use it I will go crazy with it." In Gaston’s report, police say that the most clever way to avoid getting your credit card number stolen is to "be aware of your surroundings."

Not only is it important to be aware of your surroundings, it is also important to be careful where you place your card. After finding out about the holiday scams, students said that they would be more careful paying with a credit card when making any purchases.

"I’ll probably go directly to the cashier instead of holding out a credit card," said Jonathan Bouligny, a biology pre-med major. Okeke added "I’m gonna be real cautious about how I pull it out." With the holiday season just around the corner, there are many criminals out trying to take advantage of shoppers who are not so careful.

In order to ensure that your shopping experience is a safe and enjoyable one, shoppers can make sure to put away their credit cards before walking away from the counter as well as being mindful of their surroundings. For more information about this scam, log on your computer to