View Full Version : Credit Card Fraud!

10-30-2012, 12:39 AM
I received a letter this afternoon from my VISA card member service department, letting me know that my "address change request has been processed." Trouble is, I didn't make any such request! The letter displayed my "old" (real/current) address, and fraudulent "new" address in Burien, WA. I logged into my account before calling customer service, and saw an $1,100+ charge at some paintball shop (presumably online, but I don't know) that posted last Friday, another $800+ charge at some sporting goods store today.

Couldn't get through to a real person right away when I called customer service, as the automated system didn't recognize my real zip code (for obvious reasons). Once I was transferred to the fraud department, the woman I spoke with was quick and to the point; cancelled my card and told me the charges would be reversed within the next 5-10 days. Done and done. Whole call took about three minutes.

What bothers me the most is that the fraud department can't say what information the thief provided to verify my identity in order to change the address on the card. Zip code? Phone number? Social security number? Obviously it makes a big difference to me whether the thief knows my social security number, but for whatever reason VISA doesn't track this in their system (I suggested they start).

So, just to be on the safe side, I've spent the last two hours changing and strengthening all of my online account passwords. I also set up my credit cards to send me an email when a new charge posts to my account. Lastly, I set up my main email account with "second sign-in verification," which requires anyone attempting to sign in to my email account on an unrecognized device to enter a numeric password that is sent to my phone via text message. I guess the only other thing I might do is sign up for some sort of identity theft protection service, but do I really want/need to spend $150-$200 a year for this? I don't think so...at least not yet.

Word of warning to the rest of you: keep an eye on your credit card statements and make sure you have strong passwords on all of your accounts!

P.S. - How was this thief planning on getting away with this? Hoping I wouldn't notice? Is the fake address he provided to VISA a neighbor? Was he just going to wait for his big box of paintball supplies to be delivered, and then attempt to steal it off of the porch? Pretty risky business, no?

10-30-2012, 12:49 AM
Wow, I'm sorry. I too have been a victim of fraud. Someone apparently got my wife's debi card info and had a duplicate made. Started seeing charges from santo Domingo. Would have hyped the bank would have flagged these charges as we live in Seattle and my wife was simultaneously using the card there! The bank eventually returned the money to our account but now I don't use debit for anything othe
R than cash and only at a bank ATM. Also set up notifications for all accounts on activity exceeding certain amount. Also duel inked savings from checking/ ATM. I use only credit cards now and do have the I'd theft protection, which alerts you to any new accts set up with your info. It's sad but a fact of our society that I'd theft is easy and very prevelant. Anyway you are not alone, but I remember how awful it felt. Best Eric

10-30-2012, 01:00 AM
Thanks, Eric. I'm only mildly traumatized... :)

I do absolutely everything online (shop, pay bills, taxes, etc.). Paper (except in the form of books, which I will never give up) is my enemy. This experience won't change how I do business, but it will make me keep a closer eye on my accounts. I'm a little surprised that VISA didn't get suspicious when my address was changed, and then two large charges were made for paintball supplies (!) and sporting goods. Seems a little suspicious, no?

I guess I would sleep better if I signed up for a service that will alert me if any new accounts are opened up in my name...

10-30-2012, 01:08 AM
I guess the only other thing I might do is sign up for some sort of identity theft protection service, but do I really want/need to spend $150-$200 a year for this? I don't think so...at least not yet.

no need to do that, the CCs are monitoring the activity it is their money not yours as you are not responsible for fraudulent charges.
I have had 2 instances when my CC info was stolen and in both cases I got prompt calls from my CC company to ask me about charges that looked suspicious.

I'm a little surprised that VISA didn't get suspicious when my address was changed,that is indeed weird, as as soon as you change address they send an e-mail informing you and asking if you indeed did the address change. The same applies to password changes I think.

10-30-2012, 01:18 AM
I got a call from American Express once asking about some suspicious (though legit) charges on my card, which I appreciated. I'm definitely surprised that VISA allowed my address to be changed so easily (and that they can't tell me what the thief said to convince them he's me). The first I heard of it was the letter in the mail today. I changed my password and got an email confirmation, but no email letting me know about the address change. Seems like a broken process. And to not have someone get suspicious of an $1,100+ "paintball" purchase within 24 hours of an out of state address change, followed by an $800+ "sporting goods" purchase a day later...not good. I'm not worried about losing any money, just annoyed and leery of what this thief knows about me.

10-30-2012, 01:42 AM
I have my cards all set to send me a text everytime my card is used. I have not had fraud committed against me, but will know within seconds when an unauthorized charge is made. Helps me keep my piece of mind.

10-30-2012, 02:26 AM
For me too, it's piece of mind. I too check my balances frequently just to be proactive, just me. Realistically I know that I won't be responsible, but also am inherently non trusting of the system, as it is so frequently breached. To the cc card companies it is a calculated cost of business, one which we all pay for in fees and interest rates, but to me it was a big pain in the a@@ and just felt like a violation of my privacy etc. I think that they could do a lot more if they wanted but its hard to stop fraud. Look at Barnes and noble- someone electronically hacked the card readers and got untold numbers of cc data! Price of convenience?

Salty dog
10-30-2012, 08:28 AM
Similar thing happened to me. The tip off was when I stopped getting mail. The crooks filed a change of address form and applied for several credit cards and had them sent to the forwarding address. They atempted to purchase many things on line as well as a car in Houston. Luckily I uncovered the plot before anything was delivered. Including the car.

I have since taken measures to insure that it doesn't happen again.

mr drinky
10-30-2012, 09:00 AM
I've just come to expect fraud on my cards. If a card lasts more than two years without being replaced, I am amazed. I agree with Eric about not using debit cards though. In Europe debit cards are extremely secure, but in the US security is extremely poor. Too many small banks, card issuers, unstandardized terminals etc. And where I am from, they just run them like credit cards without having to enter a pin for each transaction, and instead of fraud going into a 'pending' charge that can be reversed by a big CC company, debit card fraud can come directly out in of your bank account.

Only once did I have an address change thing happen, and luckily it was for a card that I never activated in the first place. I then got a bill for $500+ dollars on a credit card I never activated. So they allowed someone to not only change my address but to activate a card that was over three years old and had never been used. It seems like that would have sent a red flag.

In my experience, American Express has the best fraud controls. I do everything by credit card, and no longer carry cash.


10-30-2012, 09:16 AM
American Express is amazing about monitoring account activity, almost to a fault. I've had my card frozen so many times for weird online purchases and while traveling. Fortunately their customer service is incredible and it's really easy to confirm charges.

10-30-2012, 09:28 AM
Part of my job is identifying and controlling fraud in addition to being an accounting expert witness after the fact so I try to stay current on fraud prevention techniques.
Last year I went to see Frank Agagnale (think "catch me if you can" movie) speak at a banking function and frankly it is so easy to access data these days that people who are going to commit fraud can do it in minutes. Your fraud could have been perpetrated by anyone and if they get the last four digits of your social you could have a lot of issues. I would strongly (as did Frank) that you get a credit monitoring service, but the key is that you make sure that they check your data as soon as an application is made. Also once they have your information another scam is to change one number or letter in your name and set up an account that won't be caught for several months and in that time they will charge up thousands, when the mistake is caught they will associate it to you because they will assume it is a minor transposition error, then it is on you to prove that you did not cause the charges. If you want to pm me, I will tell you who I use or check his website.
Biggest thing is to use credit cards to pay for as much as you can and monitor your charges regularly. You are using their money to pay for things. If someone scams your debit card, that is your money and you will never get it back. Just because you are safe now, doesn't mean your information isn't comprimised, they will sit on it for six months to two years before using it in a lot of situations.

10-30-2012, 09:50 AM
Lots of best practices in this thread, thanks for the smart advice. DeepCSweede your PM's are full, can you let me know who you use for credit monitoring?

10-30-2012, 09:57 AM
I guess it probably is ok to post here - It is Privacy Guard it runs about $15/month per person. The amount of BS that you would need to go through to fix your credit scores makes it well worth it.

10-30-2012, 09:56 PM
I guess it probably is ok to post here - It is Privacy Guard it runs about $15/month per person. The amount of BS that you would need to go through to fix your credit scores makes it well worth it.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll take a look at it.