Posts Tagged ‘credit card scam’

Credit Card Follies

May 31, 2010

Okay, consider this a public service announcement for those very few of you who’ve not figured this out yet.

Having not traveled much in other than official business capacity…and not much overseas travel even at that…I learned a few things on this trip to ZA.  Yeah, even at my tender age of mumblety-three.

So, first – – Show of hands…which idiot forgot to tell the credit card people that he was going to ZA?  Yep, I’m the only one with my hand up in the air.   I got to the end of the first week there and, trying to make a purchase of a day petting the elephant (no, not a euphemism), was informed that my Visa card had declined any further purchases.  Okay, on the good side, they did notice a ‘slight’ irregularity in spending and shut down the card.  That irregularity being that 98% of previous purchases were made in the Wilds of Ohio (the other 2% within the confines of the U.S. of A.).  Actually, I’d prefer they shut down the card if there were charges starting to pile up from Notusualkastahn or some such.

On the bad side?  They shut the card down at the end of the business day on Friday.  No one to talk to that could start the card back up until Monday.  Now, come to find out that there IS a number to call, separate from the main bank office.  Just never knew (since, again, I never called to let them know).  We had tons planned, but little cash money to do anything.  Yeah, I had an AmEx card, but not a lot of folks accept that because of the higher than normal fees they charge the merchants to accept that card.

Finally getting it straightened out on Monday, I was again able to use my card…just in time for the number to be scammed somewhere (I’m guessing it was the grocery store, but really can’t be sure).  Since the second week was mostly at Girl Child’s village, I didn’t need to use the card much.  Until we tried to pay for something the following Saturday.  Now that was festive – –

Called an automated number I’d gotten from the bank on Monday to find out why the card wasn’t working.  That call went something like —

“We’d like to confirm your last 5 charges.  Please press ‘1’ if you did make the charge and ‘2’ if you did not.

“$124.15* from company XYZ?”  [pressed ‘1’]

“$43.50 from company MNO?” [pressed ‘1’]

“$4,315.90 from company ABC?”  [SMASHED key ‘2’]

“$2,540.70 from company JKL?” [CRUSHED key ‘2’]

“$32.30 from company RST?”  [calmed enough to press ‘1’]

they looked **just** like this, i'm sure

Ended up having to call back to talk to a human to get the card canceled and the charges refused.  And back again stuck with what little cash I had on hand (plus the meager cash reserves of Daughter Person) and the AmEx (hoping I could find places that would take it).

So, tip #1 from your Uncle GnuKid?  Call your credit card company to let them know you’ll be spending money in another country.  They’ll be less likely to freak out and shut down your card.

Tip #2?  When you call, make sure you get an international number you can call, even on weekends, to work out any issues.

Tip #3?  Careful of over-reliance on AmEx to save your butt.

Tip #4?  Plan extra cash on hand (knowing full well you don’t want too much cash…there are issues there as well…).

My tip for avoiding getting your card number scammed?  Sorry, troops.  I’ve got nothing.  Neither did the credit card company.  If someone really wants your number, they’ll figure a way to get it.

In the end?  All was well enough…the trip was not ruined (though did have a blemish).

And to the twit who tried to charge some R30 000 on a credit card that wasn’t yours?  Thank you… your greed actually saved me from having to pay.


*yes, a bit weird that I was making purchases in Rand, but the system already converted them to Dollars for the phone call.



July 28, 2008

A side track from… or confirmation of (?)… “Who needs soap operas when you have real life?”

The GnuKid’s credit card was scammed.

No, it wasn’t The Spousal Unit. No way she could have… or, honestly, would have… acted that fast or vindictively.

Living here in the Wilds of Ohio, and for the past week in the opening round of a divorce, I got a call from a credit card fraud alert firm. Seems that my credit card was used five times at Wal-Mart to buy stuff… lots of stuff… in Florida.

For those geographically challenged or just unfamiliar, the purchases were made some 700 miles from where I live and work. About as far from London to Madrid… or Johannesburg to Cape Town… or Sydney to Adelaide…

Ah! I hear the Sally Sleuths and Doug Detectives amongst you saying, “Yes, but GnuKid has a pilot’s license and could get there in just a few hours!”

Damn, I would have gotten away with it were it not for you meddling kids…

Okay, not really. Besides having multiple witnesses in The Wilds of Ohio of my whereabouts throughout the day, I also have the credit card records showing I made purchases here as well. The point is, I’m not trying to scam the system… someone scammed me.

The weird thing, and the caution to you gentle readers, is that the credit card was swiped in Florida… no, not “swiped” as a synonym for “stolen”. “Swiped” as in a credit card was actually run through a card reader machine to make the purchases. Whoever did this had a duplicate card.

Yes, I checked that I still had my card in my possession. No, I don’t know how “they” [ominous music plays] got my card information and made a new card. No, neither does the fraud alert agency, though she did use the word “clever” in describing the perpetrators. No, neither does the credit card agency know for sure how this happened. Wild speculation is that there may be hand held card readers that can scan and store information just by brushing up against pants or purse (Yeah, I carry a purse… what of it?).

In other words – – – “Wah!!”

So, yeah… emotionally drained from the initial salvos of a divorce and I get to add this to the list of stuff to take care of…

Consider this a cautionary tale to any and all of you who have credit cards. Keep your eye on the bills, as the fraud alert folks don’t always. Be ready to cancel immediately if there are problems. If you do get scammed, put a fraud alert on your credit via the credit report people so that no one else can open an account in your name. Drink heavily and often to shield yourself from the reality of the shitheel assholes in the world who would steal.

And, yes, for those who are wondering… the main story line of my true-to-life soap opera continues on… check back…