Monday, April 2, 2007

APRIL 2, 2007

Summer wrote in this morning and asked for your advice. She has a friend with whom she goes to dinner once a month, but for the last four months, her friend has stuck her with the bill. Either she goes to the bathroom when the check comes, or she says she forgot her wallet. She's an attorney, so she should have money, right? So what would you do?

You said...
"She (Summer) should not go out to dinner anymore with that person. It’s obvious she’s being taken advantage of, and who needs friends like that?"

"I like your idea of only coming with enough money for her (Summer). I’m sure the other woman will have a credit card on her or something for an emergency. She is an attorney after all."

Some were more sympathetic...
"Maybe she lost her job or something, and is too embarassed to say something. Maybe she needs a friend more than ever. Ask her if something is wrong".

With the recent credit card problems at TJ Maxx, we looked into credit card theft. According to Visa, the most credit card theft BY FAR happens at restaurants. 40% of all credit card theft goes down in restaurants.

Believe it or not, the biggest reason isn't dirtbag waiters and busboys writing down your card number and expiration date when you give them your card to pay. . . that's the SECOND-biggest reason.

The biggest reason is that restaurants tend to have less sophisticated credit card processing systems than other places. Lots of restaurants just store credit card data on the computers in their offices. . . which are fairly easy for hackers to break in to.

Visa wouldn't say which companies have had problems with hackers. . . but would say there are some MAJOR chains. Last year, they issued $4.6 MILLION in fines for improper data storage.

As for the waiter stealing your info. . . it's really on the restaurants to crack down on that. Ruby Tuesday restaurants are starting to give their servers portable credit card scanners, so they can swipe it at the table instead of disappearing with your card.

Somewhere between 50% and 80% of all restaurant tabs nationwide are now paid with credit or debit cards. . . and people using cards spend an average of 30% more than people paying with cash.