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    Help: Someone’s using my credit card!

    A fraudster with a taste for the finer things in life recently went shopping with the credit card that belongs to a reader of The Grotto. What followed was frustrating for both perpetrator and victim …

    The ensuing four-day shopping spree started small. One Australian dollar was spent at the Guardian Australia. The reader, who wants to remain anonymous, tells The Grotto, “The fraudster tried to do this a few times but was unsuccessful. I don’t know why.” There were another three attempts to use his card, but the fraudster got the CVV (the number on the back of the card) wrong. Having confirmed that the credit card number works with the small transaction, the fraudster attempted bigger purchases.

    The finer things in life
    A purchase was made to the value of 671 Japanese yen at De La Mer, a Japanese online store. More impressive was the next purchase. It took place at Net-a-Porter, where designer wear to the value of R10 000 was bought. Note that the reader knew that something was afoot, and that he was taking steps to protect himself throughout this shopping spree. He marked each transaction as fraudulent when informed of it via his banking app. He also cancelled his card in the banking app. Much to his surprise the biggest transaction – one to the value of R39 546, at what was described only as “a family clothing store” – went off the day after he had cancelled his credit card!

    A stupid system
    “The app did not tell me that it does not stop direct transaction on the account,” he complains. “So, although the card was stopped, transactions were still made. Really, it’s a stupid system.” The reader also complains of phoning the bank’s fraud line and having to hold, just to have the call dropped. Another communication promised that a consultant would phone him. This did not happen. The card was only stopped after our reader phoned the bank’s fraud division for a second time.

    How does this happen?
    The reader has a theory and it involves nothing less than the ubiquitous cellphone, and man’s most loved occupation: that of shopping. Our reader says, “Someone videos one as one is busy paying for one’s purchases. He then watches the video when he gets home. He can enlarge the card to see the information, remember. And then he sells the information on the Dark Web.” He bases his theory on the fact that the fraudster did not have the CVV number on the back of his card.

    Credit card fraud can happen to anyone. The lesson to learn is that someone is probably out there looking out for one’s credit card details at this very moment.


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