POSTED: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 11:42am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — We may just be names and numbers to scam artists, but behind every credit card is a person that identity thieves would love to rip off.
So what should you do if a stranger starts making charges on your credit or debit card?
The first thing to do is to let the card company know that something is wrong and then make a police report.
But chances are the scammer has already racked up bills on your stolen card leaving you wondering if you have to pay it back.
"You're only responsible for the first $50 dollars in loss," said Jay Foley, identity theft expert. "No credit card company since 1999 has tried to enforce that."
To further protect yourself, go through your bills every month.
And that's good to do, because identity thieves don't have to steal your wallet to get your information.
They just need to hack into the credit card data stream whether it's your local bank or a card processor thousands of miles away.
Report unfamiliar transactions to your card company as soon as you see them.
If you wait too long, those charges could be your responsibility.