Friday, May 20, 2011

That's a fine welcome home...

We have just returned from two weeks in Italy--I do not post in advance that we are going away (for obvious reasons). And yes, yes, I will post pics and a few random observations.

This post is to relate the not so welcome home.

We came home to voice mail messages--and as we waded through them, there were several from an online company questioning a purchase that had been made on a credit card. Would we please call them because the billing address (ours) was not the same as the delivery address. Hmmmm.

So, my husband called. Had we ordered XXXX ? No, we had not. Well, the company thought not, especially when we didn't return the call. SO they had already cancelled--i.e. refused to fill--the order. Thank goodness for intelligent thoughtful companies.

That triggered my husband's curiosity--so he went to the website for our credit card. Aha--another purchase, not ours. He called that company, but they couldn't (read wouldn't) cancel the order unless my husband faxed them a copy of a police report. Well, not knowing WHERE that purchase came from, how were we to file a police report?

So my husband called the credit card company. They agreed to void any sales coming in on that card--and as he spoke with them, another order popped up on our card.

The thing is--we still had the card. No card had been stolen. And we used the card only once on the trip--the timing of the purchases was such that the identity theft must have occurred before we left on the trip.

So, for now, the card is cancelled, a new one is on its way. But the mystery remains--how was the number along with personal information--address and phone number--lifted? We still haven't figured that out.

16 comments:

Peruby said...

I would look carefully at the places the card was used directly before the bogus orders started to appear. Also, check the cc company to see if they have issued a security breach recently. You may have been one of the first to notify them and they were not aware of any breach, yet.

Regardless, VERY scary!

BTW - I can't put the book about Henrietta Lacks down. Good recommendation.

Grizz………… said...

The thieves likely used a scanner which can grab all your credit card information from several feet away, even while in your wallet or purse if not shielded. These devices can be purchased off the Internet for a hundred bucks and are no bigger than a paperback book. An employee of a store can simply sit one under the counter near the cash register and as you pay for your purchases, upload all you info into the scanner. This is what happened to my wife a Cooke of years back as she checked out from the placed where she'd had lunch. Suddenly purchases began showing up on her card from several states away. Luckily the police quickly traced her card purchase, and the cards of well over a hundred other people whose card info had also been stolen, back to the same upscale cafe. But the employee had already moved on after working there only a few days as part of an organized gang which, when they finally cat them, had accounted for over a million bucks worth of illegal purchases.

Anyway, that's one way you might have had your card info stolen and still retained the card.

Grizz………… said...

Oops! Wrote my comment on my iPod and failed to see the mistake of the word "Cooke" instead of "couple."

KGMom said...

Peruby--oh, so glad you are enjoying "Henrietta Lacks"--I always try to qualify my book recommendations as not everyone's taste is the same.

KGMom said...

Grizz--well, misery loves company, and I know that others have suffered this same theft. Still makes me mad--if all the energy placed into credit card fraud and spam were applied to real world problems, imagine how much this world could be improved.

We have a suspicion the card info might have been snagged at a gas station. I have read that thieves can overlay a reader on the actual slot where you insert your credit card.

Jayne said...

We had this happen to us, but it was on line orders for an "XXX At Home" subscription... nope, not ours. The Visa people said that they'll usually keep putting in combinations of account numbers until they have one go through for a small amount, and then they start their spree. Thankfully, our issuing bank also caught it quickly and called us to cancel the card and issue a new one. I no longer get paper credit card statements as I am always afraid they can be intercepted. There are so many creative ways these people use to get the information they need. It's maddening!

NCmountainwoman said...

What a nightmare! It seems there are hundreds of ways to steal information. Very frightening indeed.

Climenheise said...

Welcome home! We're looking forward to pictures. So sorry about the credit card -- agreed, if those who work so hard to steal this kind of info would turn that energy towards honest labour, what good they could do! I guess that the wild West (East?) lives.

BettieB said...

Yes, it also happened to us. We were told by the credit card company that the info can be gotten as easily as a waiter at a restaurant taking a cell phone picture of your credit card when they take it to ring up your bill. Distressing when it happens that's for sure. I am also looking forward to your pictures!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Since I only use the Queen's currency, I have never been the victum of this kind of fraud. I can imagine how unnerving it must be.

I only realized you were in Italy when I saw your picture of Mount Etna. It must have been a loving time.

Denise said...

Yup, it happened to us. We were also informed by our bank. We had no idea, but they did. They cancelled our card and issued another one even before we were aware. Someone in Texas was using our card number and was having a wonderful time! I am grateful for alert banks. They have to be in this day and age. Welcome Home!!

Anvilcloud said...

I didn't know that it was as easy as Grizz said. I guess this is where chips will come in handy. Of course, all stores still have to get the readers, but it will come.

Ginnie said...

There doesn't seem to be any fool proof way to be secure nowadays. And what really bothers me is that if you want to only pay in cash you are often turned down for things because "you have no credit rating !!"
PS: I just got the Henrietta Lacks book from the library and will let you know my reaction.

Nance said...

Exact same thing happened to me about two years ago. AND the credit card company kept issuing me new cards with only the last four numbers rearranged. THOSE kept getting frauded, too! We went through three new credit cards in weeks that way. Eventually, the new card numbers were getting frauded before the card even reached me in overnight mail.

Here's what we learned: There are networks of card frauders who employ rooms full of workers in countries like Hungary or Malaysia. Each worker has a computer and spends all day trying out purchases on randomly selected numbers. Once they get a hit, they just keep it up until the card is canceled. Then they keep using that number with new combinations of the last four digits.

We had to beg our credit card company to change other numbers in the series, and, when they finally complied, it stopped.

We filed with the FBI online and made a local police report, but the perps are too hard to trace and there have to be hundreds of reports to locate them. We also on our own found the company that they were using to make trial purchases--small purchases at first, but that company claimed no knowledge.

File your reports, but cancel the cards and either use another credit card company next or have your company change random numbers throughout the long ID sequence.

Hard to believe, huh?

JeanMac said...

Very scary, for sure.

merrilymarylee said...

Yep, had the same thing happen to me. The credit card company suspected that a clerk at the supermarket stole the number, since that was about the only place I used it. They actually caught it when my bill suddenly began showing plane tickets and expensive shoes being charged. Some companies didn't ship; others did. We didn't have to pay anything, but there was still a feeling of being violated. I was irked that they handled it so routinely I wanted someone waiting on that plane for the culprit, but they said, no... have to assign it to a representative, etc. Never heard whether they found the thief or not.