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My Credit Card Was Cloned (Again)

It never fails. Each time I head to Europe, or just get back, one of my credit cards is cloned. It doesn't matter as to the flavor (Visa, Amex, MasterCard) they've all been cloned or some payment processor somewhere has had their data compromised, with the end result being a new card being issued. But this time, I'm in the middle of a trip that takes me more off the beaten paths and into some locations where there isn't an easy way to get a replacement card overnight.

What's daunting me here though is the charges were all made 90 miles from my home, using a phoney card that was presented, while the credit card company was previously made aware of my travel plans--my specicific dates and locations--so here's the rub. This same company stopped a transaction tied to where I was headed before I left for the trip, even though the merchant is a repeat recipient of my orders in London.

So now, instead of using the technology that stops legitimate transactions from passing through, the card company will be out some $23,000 in a theif's spending spree that was done all in one day and all within roughly five miles of shops in Orange County, CA. One would think the credit card fraud technology would be better than it is, and that someone could match up where you are, with where you're card is being used. In this case the card was actually presented. To me that's too easy, especially with apps that now work on Smartphones, and the smartphones all have easy...but also how privacy invasive some may claim.

Now to make it worse. I called the Nordstrom store and asked the security person to keep the video from the day in question. I was told to call management on Monday. Hey--Nordstrom. When a customer calls your staff that has a reputation of doing cartwheels the last thing I want to hear is call back two days later when I'm trying to help you mitigate loss. Get serious. Get a new security team.

The good news. The Newport Beach Police Department (thanks Tina Parker) are on the case. This desk officer/civillian was cagey enough to understand that I'm in Europe, and wanted to file a police report. She took it down and is sharing it with the other neighboring departments where stores where hit as well, but in an era of no one cares--the professionalism demonstrated by Ms. Parker deserves priase and mention. She was cool, polite, and picked up my state of agitation with the whole process, and did a fantastic job of being on the mark.

So here are some tips:

1) Set up alerts on transacations and limits- I was notified by email of a transaction that could not be verified by the perpetrator-it still didn't stop them from making it happen. 

2) Monitor your activity using your computer, don't wait for the statement





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This is all the fault of the american banks who refuse to put the EMV chip on their cards. I live in Europe and my card has a chip. Using magnet stripe will fail at every terminal which is equipped with a chip reader as the use of the chip is mandatory when possible.

Probably this is also the reason why the credit card data is abused in the states because you terminals don't have the chip reader and therefore will accept any cloned card, even copies of european cards which actually have a Chip.

Sanjay Jhawar

Andy - I believe you need to check out Finsphere - founded by Mike Buhrmann(who was a BridgePort board member and co-founder with Tom Carter of @mobile)


Kevin Baggs

The other thing the US credit card companies could do is update their systems to chip technology. Although not a 100% deterrent, it greatly reduces fraud. US is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a plan to update to chip technology due to costs.

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