December 13, 2005
Jefferson City, Mo. — Between now and Christmas, Missourians will make more credit-card purchases than over any other two-week period of the year as the holiday season reaches it peak. Stolen credit- or debit-card information can lead to unauthorized purchases and even identity theft, and Attorney General Jay Nixon says a recent Missouri law can help consumers fight these crimes.
Nixon is alerting both consumers and businesses that a Missouri law prohibits retailers from disclosing more than the last five digits of a credit- or debit-card account number on any sales receipt provided to the cardholder. The Attorney General wants consumers to be on the lookout for receipts that don't comply with the law and to contact his office if they receive receipts that violate the law.
In the past few weeks, Nixon's office has received complaints about some retailers that are continuing to show the entire credit- or debit-card account number. Nixon has contacted those retailers to inform them that they must come into immediate compliance with the law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2005. The Attorney General's Office also is sending a letter to trade and business organizations in Missouri, asking them to make certain their member businesses are fully aware of the law.
"This is the busiest time of the year for consumers to use credit cards as they wrap up their holiday shopping," Nixon said. "Missourians need to pay close attention when making such transactions to be sure merchants are complying with the law and aren't disclosing more information than what is required. Such vigilance can be an effective way of preventing your credit information from falling into the hands of an identity thief."
Violation of the law is an infraction under Missouri law; any second or subsequent violation is a class A misdemeanor.
Nixon is asking consumers who find violations of the credit-card number disclosure laws to contact his Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or to go to his Web site at www.ago.mo.gov to file a complaint.