Q Last week I read in your column about people whose financial information is stolen at the gas pump and I thought to myself, "Yeah, how often does that really happen?"
A Then ...
Q Boom. It just happened to me.
One morning last week my bank alerted me about potential fraud on my account. I got hit for about $2,300. Several cash withdrawals, purchases at Target, Wal-Mart and some place called Skechers. All of the transactions were in Los Angeles.
The transactions started occurring the Sunday before your column. The only places where I used my debit card the days preceding the fraud was at Chevron in Yreka and then at the Chevron in Half Moon Bay.
And sure enough, in Half Moon Bay I used the pump at the outside island, away from the store, just like you said not to do. Whoever did this also had to have gotten my PIN number. So yeah, it really does happen. Now I can reiterate your warning to people to be careful.
I should also give a big shout out to Bank of America. Not only did they detect the fraud, they quickly handled things and credited the money back to my account. It was still an annoyance, but at least I am not out any money.
What again were those tips you have for people to avoid becoming victims? I'll never complain again when I see them reprinted in your column.
A The good news is that many stations are upgrading their card readers with video displays, and Tom-the-Rotten-Robbie-Guy says they are virtually tamper-proof. As for those tips:
But Brian has another worry.
Q On a completely different subject: Like one of your readers a few weeks back, I received a photo speeding ticket in Iowa in September. It was waiting for me when I returned to California. The ticket was sent to me as the registered owner, and there was no mention of who was driving, so this won't show up on my driving record, right?
A It could. If other states report a violation to the National Defense Registry database, California, by law, must withhold your license renewal until you've cleared it with the state where the citation originated.
Since 2007, federal rules mandate that any driver application must be first checked through the National Driver Registry and the Problem Driver Pointer System. If there is a record of an unpaid ticket from another state or a hold for other reasons, your license cannot be renewed until the ticket is paid or the hold is otherwise resolved.
This system was developed to stop drivers from obtaining a driver's license in one state while their driving privilege is suspended in another. Go the NDR website -- www.nationaldriverregister-forms.org -- where you can find if you have an old citation hanging over your head.
Q Perhaps one of the reasons that drivers in California don't signal when changing lanes, tailgate and text while driving is that they are unaware of the driving regulations. I just took my license renewal written exam and noticed that the passing grade for original applicants is six or fewer errors, while renewal applicants are only allowed three or fewer errors. Why the difference? Does this mean that new drivers are allowed to drive with a passing grade of 67 percent?
A Nope. Renewals have half as many questions as tests for first-time applicants, so they are allowed only half as many errors.
Q Can a visitor from another country use a driver's license in his/her home country to legally drive in California? Some said they can do so for up to six months. Is this true?
A It's true. An out-of-country driver's license can be used for up to six months in California.