Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"The police can't protect consumers. People need to be more aware and educated about identity theft. You need to be a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter and there's nothing wrong with being skeptical. We live in a time when if you make it easy for someone to steal from you, someone will." ~ Frank Abagnale, Security Consultant

 **** Update on Bro. Milton: He should be here in this area at M.D. Anderson by now. They transported him after midnight for further assessment and evaluation. We thank everyone for remembering this dear soldier of The Cross. Amen. ****

Hello once again. It's just me so I don't think you will need your concealed carry permit for today's edition. It is Wednesday, December 2, 2015, and I do hope you are off to a good start today. We had another one of our debit cards compromised the other day. This time it was the wife's card. They had used it to purchase items at a Burlington Coats store. We do have protection on our accounts but this was what appeared to be a legitimate transaction made by her card. Dealing with our bank was somewhat frustrating but we ended up canceling her card and they backed out the charges. I did notice an unusual charge on our account. It was a debit and then a credit from what I later learned was a vending machine. In this case it was a $3.00 charge made from Coca Cola and then immediately it was credited. The bank said this was a legitimate debit and credit and I would need to take it up with Coca Cola. I did some research and here's what I discovered. When fraudsters get numbers of debit cards they make the fake cards and then they test them to see if they are still active. One of their favorite ways of testing the fake card is to use it at a vending machine. They had no interest in quenching their thirst, only in furthering their thievery. It took me a while to locate this information. One would think the bank would have a clue if this is a common technique used but they didn't. How did they get her number? They may have hacked into a listing of debit card account numbers from the bank or somewhere else. I mention this only to let everyone know that if you see a small amount from what appears to be a vending machine charge but you didn't access a vending machine, well, card user beware. I know this is the world we live in today but it's still both sad and frustrating.

While the customer support person at the bank was friendly and courteous enough, the end result indicated I would have probably done better interacting with the automated computerized utility function. "Since it appears to be a legitimate charge and since it was both debited and credited I really can't help you. No. I have no contact information on that merchant. You may want to try the Yellow Pages." In other words, since it charged $3 and then credited the account $3, then what is your beef? My beef was the fact that we didn't use our card to access any $3 charge, period. Oh yeah. What a nice touch. Let my fingers do the walking through the yellow pages. I actually was somewhat impressed that a fellow who sounded that young even knew what the yellow pages are. He certainly didn't know anything at all about how that fraudsters use vending machines to check out their fake cards. Oh well, as you can see the situation hardly even bothered me one iota. You can see that? You are even better at spotting a fraudulent representation than I am. Just joking. What about the elderly trying to track down stuff like this? They need a whole lot more than just friendly and courteous. That is, if you ask me.

Sorry but I am not finished yet. The total amount they charged using the fake card was likely under the threshold for the bank to try and recover. I'm sure the thief knew that too. You know. It would cost more to try and do something about it so we just cancel the old card and stamp out a new one. All this took place on Black Friday so maybe they had a really good sale going on at Burlington. When we first called about the problem and after I had explained it all, the lady said it would be necessary for them to talk to my wife since she was the official cardholder. In other words, my word as the joint account owner was not sufficient when answering whether or not my wife used her card to make those purchases. They needed her to say that. She did. It irritated me. The wife could tell. She said I was angry because they wouldn't let the big boss handle it all. Maybe. A little. It was more of how ridiculous it was since we both have 100% authority on our account. "Would it be possible for me to speak to your wife?" Not only will that be possible but I could think of a few more things I could suggest. There I go again. Making funnies. Or perhaps a facsimile thereof. Keep an eye on your accounts because the bad guys may be doing the same thing. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

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