Tough find: a credit card not linked to pornography

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Q: I work for a Christian-based company involved with the national campaign to stop pornography. I have been asked several times if there is a credit-card company that in no way links itself to pornography. I would also like to know myself.
- K.H., via e-mail

A: Credit-card companies cannot keep tabs on all the millions of firms that make up their membership. So you will find it difficult to find a credit-card issuer that blocks payments to all pornography vendors.

MasterCard International, for one, says that "we are unable to police traffic on these types of merchant sites."

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Visa, however, has made efforts to crack down on purveyors of child pornography and other illegal activities.

Both credit card companies do not allow the use of their cards in any illegal manner, and suggest that any cardholder who discovers a business that causes them concern visit their websites to report their findings.

Q: Can you shed some light on a successful class-action lawsuit against Prudential Insurance? I did not join the suit because I did not think it applied to me. How can I check into any other related suits against Prudential that weren't included in the original suit?
- L.S, via e-mail

A: The case to which you are probably referring was filed in 1995 and settled in 1997. It alleged that Prudential used deceptive practices to sell millions of life-insurance policies. Generally, a cause of action such as this is governed by the statute of limitations in the state in which it arose.

Wayne Lazarus, an attorney in Atlanta with Stokes Lazarus & Carmichael, LLP, says class actions typically have a "bar date" set by the court. A class member, he says, can "opt out" by this time or will be included in any settlement. If you opted out and the bar date hasn't expired, you normally could still elect to participate.

Mr. Lazarus suggests you call the attorneys handling the suit. You probably received documents from the court providing you with information. You also can check with the National Legal Referral Service, at www.lawsuit.com, to see if there are any remaining actions that could include you. At www.insure.com, there's a sampling of press reports on the insurance-policy case.

Editor's note: In our April 14 Q&A we referred to a software program for calculating cost basis for stock in AT&T and related firms. We neglected to mention the free calculator at AT&T's site: www.att.com/ir/ss/tbi/

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