Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fraud on my Credit Card - How it Was Done

Sometime in the middle of last month I logged into my online bank account to look up the outstanding on my Credit Card. The amount outstanding on my card should not have been more than 10% of my credit card limit. To my utter shock the outstanding was 90% of my card limit with just 10% limit available! My heart missed a beat. I scrolled down the statement on the screen to see the details of transactions. A fraudster had made 7 transactions on my card in United Kingdom in well known supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Tesco and a couple of others. Four transactions were in London and 3 in some other city. Also these transactions were not online (internet) transactions. I pulled out my wallet to see if my credit card was with me. It was very much there; safe in its place. I immediately called the bank toll free and explained that these were not my purchases! A trickster had made purchases for around GBP 550 using my card details in the UK. Needless to say I got the card blocked and had a new one re-issued. Fortunately for me the card was issued by the bank I work in; so I managed to have the amount reversed. Also luckily the limit on my card was low, so the cheat could not get much.

According to the bank fraud management such frauds are possible by capturing the data of the credit card by a skimming device which looks similar to a normal POS machine. Thus the cardholder’s details could be captured and a duplicate of the card could be made. I understand this is more rampant in some far eastern countries as well as some South Asian countries. I had traveled to Sri Lanka on a holiday some 6 months ago and I suspect that this must have happened there. So card holders; beware of such frauds apart from the regular online frauds that are so common these days. Whenever your card is being swiped keep an eye on the machine used. Do not move away from the cashier until you complete the transaction. If you do travel to other countries; the safest thing to do is to have your card replaced after you return. Also keep tracking your card online on a regular basis.

Debit cards are more vulnerable to fraud. We were victims of one such fraud with our debit card. Colleagues can turn into enemies. My wife’s debit card was stolen from her bag and it was used to make a purchase of an expensive mobile phone worth $600! So ladies beware! Don’t keep your debits/credit cards in your vanity bags! This time we were unlucky as we did not get any reversal of the transaction, being a debit card which is as good as CASH.

Friends; take care of your plastics!

1 comment:

Tom Mayer said...

That is a sucky situation, really! I always try to use credit cards with $0 liability for unauthorized charges - even when shopping online. CitiBank cards are among those plastics.