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Financial Urban Myths

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Don’t fall for these popular “wives’ tales,” as compiled by Bankrate.com. Some of these are strange and unfamiliar to me, but maybe you’ve heard these rumors.

1. False: “You can float a check longer if you write in red ink.”
2. False: “You don’t have to pay income tax — it’s illegal.”
3. False: “I’m under 18, so I can’t be held accountable for a debt.”
4. False: “My hotel key card has my credit-card information.”
5. False: “Boycotting a few gasoline brands brings gas prices down.”
6. False: “It’s better if you don’t sign the back of your credit card.”
7. False: “You can make a pile of dough by helping a foreigner solve his money problems.”
8. False: “You can now opt out of having credit bureaus give your information to anyone who asks.”
9. False: “You can buy your way out of points on a speeding ticket.”
10. False: “Hotel Bibles often have $100 bills tucked into them.”

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published October 14, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar Caitlin

I’ve never heard any of these! LOL

Though I do think that #6 should be more specific and mention leaving the back of your card *blank* – I now put “Photo ID required” on the back in the signature panel and almost every merchant looks, then asks for ID (I am not yet in the habit of having my ID ready) and I always thank them for checking. Of course…there are the very few who don’t look, but they aren’t checking the signature either so they’re a lost cause either way.

avatar F. D. Bryant III

I’ve never quite figured out how signing the card does anything to protect you.

avatar Alex Givant

Not signing back of the credit card make sense. Put there “Photo ID required”. At least, if cashier try to compare signature, it’ll make life of the thief a bit more complicated.

avatar Jerry Kindall

Actually, merchants are not supposed to accept the card if it’s not signed. Cards must be signed to be valid. “SEE PHOTO ID” is not a signature and a card so “signed” is not valid. The Post Office is one outfit, I’ve been told, that actually won’t accept a card that says “SEE PHOTO ID” on the back, but NO merchant should. Call your credit card issuer if you don’t believe me.

avatar Luke Landes

What Jerry says is true — the card must be signed to be accepted — but most cashiers don’t know that or don’t care. If they see, “Ask for ID” or somesuch remark, they’ll do it (if they have half a brain). Even still, I don’t think it’s a good fraud deterrent. Leaving the back of the card blank is not suggested, even though it’s what I generally do until some cashier makes me sign it in front of him.