The risk of identity theft continues to increase, as each new year brings all-time-high numbers in the amount of victims whose personal information is stolen and used for malicious activity. While common forms of identity theft occur online via means like malware and hacking, the little pieces of paper that seem like an afterthought when you’re shopping can put you at risk: receipts.
Before the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) was passed as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, computerized receipts that you received when shopping may have included sensitive personal identifying information, such as a full credit card number and expiration date. For some e-commerce sites, that’s all the information a fraudster would need to make large purchases online in your name.
FACTA requires businesses that print out receipts to abide by rules that protect consumer information. For those that fail to comply, dozens, hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of customers may learn that their rights covered by FACTA have been violated. Cases like these may result in class action lawsuits against a business.
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we’re often involved in litigation in a wide variety of consumer protection lawsuits. These include FACTA class action lawsuits, where we represent a large number of victims whose personal information has been exposed through machine-printed receipts.
According to FACTA consumer receipt laws, any debit card or credit card transactions where receipts are printed must not display consumer card information on the receipt. Businesses do this by using personal account number truncation, which prevents a full account number and expiration date from being viewable on a receipt. Anyone who has received an improperly printed receipt under FACTA law may file a civil lawsuit, which may entitle plaintiffs to up to $1,000 per violation.
There are standards businesses must follow in how this protection occurs. Stipulations include:
Only the last five digits of a card number may be displayed. All other digits must be hidden from the receipt. Businesses may choose to display less than the last five digits, but no other digits in any other position of the card number may be seen on the receipt.
The entire expiration date must be hidden. This means neither the month nor the year may be displayed on a receipt.
You may not even notice this information if it is printed on a receipt, but if it is, these situations can put you at risk. Dropping or losing a receipt that has this type of identifying information on it gives thieves a starting point to discover your full identity. The more information they have, the easier it is to uncover other identifying factors, including your address and social security number. This can lead to not just making purchases in your name, but even assuming your whole identity and crippling your finances, credit history, reputation and more.
It’s important to note that FACTA receipt laws only apply to machine-produced receipts. Businesses should only be using machines that hide customer information on receipts, but if they don’t, they could be putting thousands of customers’ information at risk.
Businesses that still hand-write receipts are not subject to FACTA laws. Now that you know the risks your receipts may pose, it’s important to carefully store receipts so they don’t get lost or stolen. If you notice that a printed-out receipt contains your personal information, that business has violated FACTA law, and you may be entitled to compensation. This makes checking all your receipts for potential FACTA violations a wise decision, since you speaking up may enable you to not only secure financial compensation, but also to protect other consumers.
When you notice a FACTA violation by a business that puts your personal debit or credit card information on a receipt without complying to the law, you should consult Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann immediately to learn your rights. We have extensive experience helping consumers like yourself to gain the protection and compensation they deserve from unlawful business practices.
It is up to businesses to follow the law and protect their customers. Even if a business is unknowingly breaking FACTA receipt laws, the action of printing out identifying information on unsecure paper receipts contributes to the national identity theft crime problem. The lawyers at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann can help you in your claim, and potentially file a class action lawsuit that successfully compensates everyone who has been a victim.
Learn more about some of the current class action lawsuits we are involved in here. Give us a call at (205) 322-8880 if you suspect you may have a class action claim to pursue, whether it’s because of FACTA receipt law violation or another serious issue.
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