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Capital One Urges Consumers to Learn About the Dangers of Fraud and Identity Theft During National Consumer Protection Week

February 9, 2005 at 10:43 AM EST

MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Capital One joins a group of government agencies and national advocacy organizations in support of the seventh annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), February 6-12, 2005. This year's theme, "Identity Theft: When Fact Becomes Fiction," focuses on minimizing the risk of identity theft and taking fast action to contain any harm if an identity thief strikes.

"Capital One applauds the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission and other organizations involved with National Consumer Protection Week to inform consumers about identity theft and the steps they can take to help protect themselves," said Diana Don Colby, director of financial education for Capital One. "Consumers should also be aware of the dangers of credit card fraud as it, too, can be frustrating, costly and time-consuming for victims to correct."

Any unauthorized use of your credit card is considered fraud. With identity theft, however, criminals steal and use other personal information -- like social security numbers or birthdates -- to assume your identity and make purchases or open up credit card or other accounts in your name.

Don Colby offers these tips consumers can use to minimize their risk of becoming victim to either of these insidious crimes:

    * Sign credit and charge cards as soon as they arrive -- This simple step
      offers a layer of protection when using a card as vendors or retailers
      are required to check the signature on the card to that of the

    * Save receipts to compare with billing statements -- Saving receipts to
      cross-check against monthly credit card billing statements helps ensure
      that there are no fraudulent charges.

    * Shred receipts and bills -- Many incidents of credit card fraud and
      identity theft involve criminals who sift through lost or stolen mail
      and trash bins containing receipts and other items with personally-
      identifiable information.  Consumers should shred receipts and bills
      before throwing them away to safeguard against "dumpster divers."

    * Keep a record of account numbers, expiration dates, phone numbers, and
      addresses of each credit card company in a safe place -- In the event
      that a credit card is lost or stolen, having a record of credit card and
      account information stored in a safe place ensures consumers can quickly
      notify the issuer and deal with the matter quickly.

    * Review credit reports regularly for accuracy -- The best method
      consumers can use to help protect themselves against credit card fraud
      and identity theft is to regularly review credit reports.  Credit
      reports are now available for little or no cost through many online

For more information and protection tips, consumers can visit

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a bank holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., offers automobile and other motor vehicle financing products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 48.6 million accounts and $79.9 billion in managed loans outstanding as of December 31, 2004. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation

CONTACT: Diana Don Colby, Director, Financial Education, of Capital One
Financial Corporation, +1-703-720-2371,; or Alison
Athay of APCO Worldwide, +1-206-239-0140, or, for
Capital One Financial Corporation
Web site: