Credit card fraud

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've had an odd experience. We'd been getting computer messages for the last couple of weeks, saying that we needed to give various groups our credit card details ASAP because the details they had were due to expire at the end of August. husband & I were talking to each other and commented that we usually don't have this problem - by the time the reminders come in, we've already got the new cards.

    But for some reason, not this year. I'm not sure, I think he even thought to contact the bank to find out when the new cards were supposed to arrive.

    Now, husband is one of those Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) types who checks every purchase slip against the statement when it comes in. That way we never go over our limit, we always know roughly how much we've spent. Not many people are as strict about it as he is, but it is a very useful way to be.

    The new cards finally arrived, in Friday's mail. Great - only a week to spare. Cutting it a bit too fine. Then over the weekend difficult child 1 wanted to make some purchases online. He doesn't have a credit card of his own; usually husband will make the purchase for him and then they immediately transfer the $ amount from difficult child 1's bank account to the credit card balance.

    But for some reason, the purchase just wouldn't go through. husband checked the records; he even asked me if I'd used the card in the last few days for a medical procedure or tests, perhaps. Nothing. Hmm, maybe a glitch.

    Then today (during business hours) husband was back at work and checked the credit card balance online, as well as looking at recent purchases - and found that before we had even received the cards (husband & I have a card each for the same account, but with our own names on them) someone had used BOTH cards to make big purchases. Each purchase was just under A$2000. Someone has apparently bought tickets to some stage musical or opera in Italy. What the...? And since both purchases are on the same account, it means we are overdrawn badly. It's crazy - we only ever use this card for medical expenses.

    husband has notified the bank. Tomorrow husband has a day off work, he was going to spend the day getting some odd jobs done at home. But now - looks like we have to go out and sort out this mess.

    If husband were not such a stickler for keeping close tabs on our purchases, this might not have come to light for another three months. Some people might not even notice, but just think they hadn't watched their spending closely enough.

    At this stage, our theory is - someone either intercepted our mail (probably while we were away), used our cards and then put them in the mail after a week or so, carefully sealing up the envelopes again. The activation codes also come in the mail, but on a different day. husband got the activation code already (although if someone is intercepting our mail for a while and then sending it on, they could easily do the same with the activation code).

    Another possibility is that someone is doing this on a larger scale, possibly intercepting the cards in bulk soon after they are taken to the post office. Highly illegal and a big crime problem.

    But tickets to opera in Italy - a lot of tickets. Scalpers? Using scalping to launder money?

    It's probably a waste of time but I did fish the paperwork out of the recycling bin. Although I doubt that anyone will bother to check for prints. It will be cheaper for the bank to not investigate, but to simply pay up and claim it on insurance. The thing is, if we haven't kept the paperwork then we CAN'T use it.

    I was wondering whether to call the police. husband feels that we've told the bank, there's really nothing else we can do or need to do. I'm not so sure.

    I'd love to know what has happened and to get some answers.

    We'll know more tomorrow.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I had something similar happen to me but on a smaller scale. Far more likely what happened to you is that your card numbers were stolen from the company that produces them before they were even sent out to you. There is a huge ring linked to the russian mafia that is doing this. Im sure there are others too. The one that got me charged really small amounts that people were unlikely to notice but if you did it to millions of people...well it adds up. Im betting that opera in italy isnt really where the money went. That is just what it shows up as online. Mine showed up as some weird company but you could never really find out what they did and upon really digging...I came up with the Russian mob thing. My bank did return my money to me.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry. This kind of thing is so disturbing, makes you feel violated and unsafe. I think you will probably need to notify the police and give the bank a copy of the police report. We have had to do this in the past. For us it was very small (under $25) purchases but a LOT of them to companies that didn't exist. It hit $500 on ONE statement! For us this is HUGE because we pay the card off EVERY month. Usually we transfer teh $$ the day after we make the charge. We use it to track husband's gas expenses because he works so far from home.

    Be sure to ask the bank if a police report is needed to get the $$ back.
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    A friend of mine experienced something similar and contacted the police who in turn referred her to an FBI agent. Apparently, this is a very common thing.
  5. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I've been told to NEVER reply to any email asking for that kind of personal information. Even though it looks legitimate, in most cases the email is not really from who it purports to be from. If you replied to any of those, that is probably where they got your information. Even if you did not give the credit card #, you may have given out enough for them to get what they needed. I get things like that a lot but I never respond. If they really need to contact you, they won't do it by email.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Do you have fraud insurance?

    Do you have access to a post mail box?

    Do you have your mail stopped while you go on holiday?

    SO SORRY - I have gotten in the last month a bunch of Nigerian letters (ever since I posted to Craigs list about Pootie) wanting money wanting this, needing that - so I wrote to the US Secret service fraud investigation line -

    There has to be something like that down under!
  7. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    There are remedies but they take time.
    I had a long session with the bank, filling out the usual forms required in these situations. Then a trek to the police station to lodge a report with them. The entire morning of my day off gone. Another hidden cost of criminal activity.

    We SHOULD be able to get most of our money back from the bank but it will be a while before it happens.

    I also think we have been victims of someone accessing our card details while the cards were in transit but we are in no position to even make an accusation. The bank's investigators will be.

    The messages Marg referred to where not asking us to reply with confidentiall details but simply reminders thtat we would need to log on to the appropriate websites and let them know what arrangements had been made for the expired card. I am very aware of the risk associated with internet transactions plus we NEVER answer spam. Even suspicious notes from legitimate sources are checked so I don't think we've been 'got at' from that direction.

    Now all we can do is sit back and hope.

    Marg's Man
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    One thing we do have, from what I fished out of the recycling - the envelope the cards came in was franked when mailed, dated 18 August. The transaction date was 15 August. So it's fairly obvious that the cards were not in our possession when the transactions happened.

    Also, our use pattern clearly doesn't match what has happened. We use this particular card for medical expenses primarily, and husband keeps it in credit so we don't incur interest charges, ever. Then to go to use our replacement cards and find them maxed out - our thousand in credit, plus the $3000 limit - a shock.

    We'll get it back but the account has to be frozen for a few weeks.

    What really bugs me - some mob is doing this, probably on a much bigger scale than just us, and I worry that it's not really going to be determined what has happened, who has done it, or how.


  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The trouble is that the people doing this may not even be on the same continent as you are! Some of these are amost impossible to track down and prosecute. They keep coming up with new schemes.

    We got a really crude attempt in the mail at work yesterday! It was almost laughable, especially since it was sent to a State agency! On the envelope it said ... Name: NO NAME. Address: NONE. And then the name and ZIP code of the tiny little town our offices are in. It claimed to be from a financial firm in the Netherlands (by way of Singapore!) informing us that we were one of the lucky beneficiaries of a large amount of cash! (From where? They didn't exactly say) But we wouldn't actually get the money ... this "financial firm" would invest it for us (lucky us!) and then we would share in the profits that could be as much as $15 million! Of course there is a small processing fee of $14.95. which can conveniently be paid by credit card - just write your card number in the little boxes, along with the expiration date, mail it back to them, and then just sit and wait for the money to come rolling in! The sad thing is that there are probably people gullible enough or greedy enough to actually try it!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's the trouble I think Donna. Too many people will be suckered in by this sort of approach and this is enough encouragement to keep it all going. Those Nigerian scams (although these days Nigeria isn't necessarily the source any more) might send out 1000 emails, but they only need a 1% hit rate and that's 10 people they can bleed of money.

    I like to do some quiet digging and find out more about these, but I've never replied to any of these or made my enquiries with any chance of being identified. I've had my experiences of online stalking and cyber-bullying years ago, so since then I'm very fussy about covering my tracks (less fussy here). Most of my digging is more like studying what has been sent (as well as what is reported about these and similar scams) and quietly listing to myself exactly what are the obvious hallmarks of a hoax or a scam. It was learning techniques like this that helped me identify the cyber-bully who was hassling me a few years ago.

    husband is meticulous about protecting us not only from spam, but from the slightest risk of identity theft. He's made sure the kids are just as careful, even difficult child 3. This has upset difficult child 3 a lot more than I expected, because HE now understands about being careful to be safe from identity theft and has been worrying that this fraud was connected to identity theft in our case, and that this would spill over into other accounts (including his).

    That's why this has been such a shock - no matter how careful you are, things like this can still happen.

    But BECAUSE we are always careful, we were onto this fast. I don't think the crooks expected this to be discovered so soon.

  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. On a smaller scale this past school year I was a victim of credit card fraud. We get a small budget at school and the money is put on credit cards.

    Last April all kinds of things started showing up in my name, only with the wrong middle initial. How horrible, the crook not being to smart, actually had some of the items sent to my school. Just this past week the secretary showed me another bill, someone had set up a monthly withdrawal on it for stamps so even though the card was canceled the company has been trying to collect. Thank goodness the sd is being so good about this and know it isn't my fault.

    Anyways I shared because I'm sure you feel victimized, I know I sure did-I'm glad you will get most of the money back.
  12. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Because of that it would seem that the bank should start looking wherever the cards were mailed from or the postal system. How else could someone get ahold of it BEFORE a date was stamped on it? It hoovers that you had to spend half a day taking care of it but at least you caught it and got it taken care of.