Tuesday, January 17, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott Reminds Texas Retailers To Conceal Consumers’ Credit Card Numbers On Receipts

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today reminded Texas consumers and businesses that all receipts for goods or services paid for with credit or debit cards must now conceal all but the final four digits of the card number.

Dec. 31, 2005, was the deadline for all Texas retailers to comply with a law, enacted in 2003, that sought to reduce the chances of identity theft by requiring retailers to print no more than the last four numbers of the card or the card’s expiration date on the receipt. Retailers with cash registers or other types of receipt-printing machines that were installed before Aug. 31, 2003, were required to comply by Aug. 31, 2004. The Attorney General and local prosecutors are responsible for enforcing the law.

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“Identity theft is a problem that threatens every Texas consumer, and this common-sense measure helps reduce that threat,” Attorney General Abbott said. “I appreciate the efforts of Texas retailers to comply with this law, and I am issuing this reminder to any who have not yet done so that the deadline has now passed. I urge consumers to check their receipts and notify my office if they see noncompliance.”

Consumers who notice that a receipt generated after Dec. 31, 2005, contains more than the last four digits of their credit or debit card number should file a complaint with the Attorney General. Complaints can be filed on the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or by calling (800) 252-8011.

Violators are liable for a civil penalty of up to $500 for each calendar month during which a violation occurs.

The law, found in Section 35.58 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, also requires entities that lease or sell cash registers or other receipt-printing machines to notify the lessee or buyer of the law’s requirements.