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Don't let criminals run up your credit card debt

If you're facing challenges of debt management or increasing credit card debt due to your financial situation or a change income, you probably have enough money woes to worry about. You certainly don't need a criminal adding to them by racking up charges on your credit card account, which is why it's important to always pay attention to your account statements.

Recently, fast-food chain Wendy's was the latest national business to fall prey to a credit card breach. A spokesperson for the chain said that payment industry vendors first made the company aware of the possibility there was a breach. The situation is being investigated.

The reports seem to indicate that credit card customers who used their credit and debit cards at Wendy's for legitimate purchases might have then seen fraudulent charges on the same accounts. The fraudulent charges reported occurred at a variety of other businesses and locations.

Sadly, this is only one in a long string of security breach reports about consumer credit card information. And breaches aren't limited to credit cards used in retail and dining locations. Even the ATM doesn't seem safe these days -- criminals are putting skimmers on the machines to steal customer credit card information.

Even if you aren't in the midst of a breach of your credit card information, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your accounts. Looking at your credit card accounts online or reviewing paper statements on a regular basis not only helps you identify fraudulent activity; it also helps you understand how much you owe and whether there are changes to your interest rate or balance you should know about.

If a review of your credit card debt reveals and overwhelming situation, it might be time to seek help. The legal system provides assistance not just during a time of fraud, but also during a time of debt overload in the form of bankruptcy and other options.

Source: Krebs on Security, "Wendy’s Probes Reports of Credit Card Breach," Jan. 27, 2016

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