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Scam watch: Protect your debit card from fraud

Thieves use card readers and hidden cameras to gain access to ATM users' accounts.

November 09, 2010|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for:

Protect your debit card — Thieves have been using multiple tricks and scams to raid consumers' debit card accounts, the Better Business Bureau cautioned in a recent bulletin. In one scam, swindlers install card-reading devices on gas pumps or ATMs to steal data from and then replicate the cards. Thieves have also installed hidden cameras to capture ATM personal identification numbers, the BBB said. To protect themselves, the BBB said, consumers should use one hand to conceal their PIN as they type it into an ATM, avoid using ATMs in poorly lighted areas; and closely monitor bank statements to look for fraudulent charges.

Foot pads not so effective — A dirty foot pad may not mean a clean body after all. At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has banned marketers of Kinoki "Detox" Foot Pads from selling a wide variety of products. The FTC charged that the marketers falsely claimed that the adhesive pads — which users attach to the soles of their feet — could treat numerous illnesses and medical conditions. In a settlement announced Thursday, a judge banned Yehuda Levin and his company, Xacta 3000 Inc., from selling any dietary supplement, food, drug or medical device. Levin had falsely claimed that the foot pads removed toxins from the body, the FTC alleged.

Prison for fake art auction — A Woodland Hills man who sold fake art, including works purported to be by Picasso and Dali, through a rigged television art auction has been sentenced to five years in prison. Auctioneer James Mobley sold the paintings through Fine Art Treasures Gallery, which operated televised art auctions on DirecTV and Dish Network from 2002 to 2006. He had previously pleaded guilty to two felony counts, conspiracy to commit fraud and failure to file a tax return.

Bank balances zapped — At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has ordered a payment processor and a subsidiary to pay $3.6 million for illegally debiting consumer bank accounts on behalf of deceptive telemarketers. Your Money Access and a subsidiary were accused of helping telemarketers access bank accounts of victims who were charged for merchandise that didn't arrive or was worthless, the FTC said in a news release.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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