Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deja Vu all over again

Bastards the lot of them.

Long term sufferers at this table may recall my little run in with the credit card thieves. That time my credit card company managed to allow a £6000 purchase to go through on a card that was supposed to have been stopped. Today I was perusing my account online, checking to see whether I'd earned enough bonus points to buy myself a netbook or not,* when I noticed a charge for £20 that didn't seem right. It was with a mobile phone company - the one I use, as it happens - but it was for a prepay card. Since I have a monthly contract, there's no earthly reason why I would need to buy a prepay card. The transaction was dated Saturday, which didn't add up either. I've not used my card since last Wednesday.

Then I noticed the little note at the top of the screen that read 'pending transactions' and alongside it a figure north of two hundred quid. Someone's playing silly-buggers.

Fortunately I was able to get through to the helpline quite quickly - something of a first as these things go. Because the pending transactions hadn't actually hit the system, the otherwise apparently helpful Asian Sub-Continent call-centre operative wasn't able to tell me what they were for. He cancelled the prepay phone card purchase and told me to check later in the day to see what the other payments were for. If they were dodgy, I could cancel them and stop the card.

Fast forward half a day and a third of a wall painted, and I tried to log on to see if there was any more information. Despite getting all the passwords right, it wouldn't let me in, telling me to phone instead. So I phoned, and once more managed to get through to an actual living person in less than two minutes. This time I was told that my card had been stopped as soon as I'd phoned earlier in the day. Stopping the card meant that I couldn't access my account on-line either. I'm not quite sure what the logic of that is, since the only thing you can do on-line is pay down the balance on the card, not take money out or change crucial personal details.

Still, the second helpful call centre operative of the day was able to run through the pending transactions so that I could confirm they were nothing to do with me. It seems that whoever has cloned my card, once they bought themselves a £20 prepay phone card, then spent £41 on a ticket from National Express, no doubt to make good their getaway. The last I heard, National Express was busy trying to go bust, so that might not have been the best plan. 

Worse yet was using my card to make a purchase from ASDA home delivery. I can't help thinking that this has got to be delivered somewhere that's probably the perpetrator's home, and that's going to be a big clue for the police. Assuming they bother to investigate, of course.

The last purchase made before my card was stopped was £1 spent at Apple Corp International. I have to assume that was for an iPhone app or something from the iTunes store. In total this scumbag has put around £250 on my credit card since Saturday. No doubt he (and we'll assume masculinity here, although it could be a female cockweasel, if such a thing exists) will be in for a bit of a surprise when his next transaction is denied. I hope that it happens in a really awkward and embarrassing manner, or better yet somewhere where he will be recognised and grassed up.

But here's the thing. My credit card is still sitting in my wallet, here on the desk in front of me. It hasn't been stolen. Being rather impecunious at the moment, I don't use it much, and going back over many months of purchases, I can't recall giving out the details to any less than reputable outfit. Yet somehow someone's managed to get hold of enough information to successfully make £250 worth of mischief with it. After the last episode I've been very careful with my card details, and this one was issued to me less than a year ago.

So who's let the damned thing be cloned? Me, or the credit card company themselves?

* I have, but not enough for the one I want. Isn't life always like that?



Blogger swallowtail said...

Here in the USofA, the scamming happens when one uses the card in say, an ATM machine: the scammer has rigged the machine in such a way as to photograph your card. You are unaware, because they have rigged a cell phone(which takes the photo) inside the machine, so the user of the ATM does not even know what is happening. The scammers are usually nearby, because they have to control the cell phone. Google this, and you will find info and ways to avoid it ever happening to you again.

no end of the ways to have fun, no?


October 31, 2009 5:46 am  
Anonymous norby said...

The thing is James, just because a company is reputable, doesn't mean their employees are. My employer recently changed the credit card transaction policies so that the only employees who ever touch a customer's card are managers, and that's only on a return to make a manual impression of the card. It is never swiped through our registers.

Good luck getting all of the charges overturned, although it sounds like the company is on top of it. I would request a new card with a new account number if they're not issuing that already.

October 31, 2009 4:02 pm  

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