Receipts soon may not provide as much information as they have in the past, but most customers won't complain. MasterCard and Visa want credit card numbers taken off customer receipts, so starting in July, new machines may only print the last four digits of a credit card number, replacing the others with Xs.
The move comes as complaints about identity theft nearly doubled in 2002, and may be an attempt to stave off federal regulation. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants card numbers truncated by law. Her bill calls for displaying five digits, but she said she would change it to conform to Visa's announcement. Many merchants already truncate the 16-digit card numbers on their receipts.
About 162,000 people reported identity theft last year, and the Justice Department predicts the number of victims soon could hit 700,000 per year. The District of Columbia, California, and Arizona lead the nation in these crimes. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that the average identity theft victim loses $1,000 trying to fix the damage caused by the crooks.