Credit Card fraud – from the shallow end of the pool

Two days before setting off to the US the last thing you want to get is a call from your bank saying they believe  you might be caught up in  credit card fraud.

Not as the perpetrator but the victim.

We hear of cards being scammed for tens of thousands before it’s realised that something is not right.

No glory or glamour for this credit card holder.  “Sir a sum of $1.01 has been charged to your account in an online transaction.”  I do a bit of trading on the net but never in my wildest schemes have I manufactured a $1.01 transaction.

That apparently was what put the credit card fraud squad on the trail.

The $1.01 debit prompted a “Great Train Robbery” type reaction. Within 20 minutes of the transaction going through I had a text message suggesting I call my Visa card”emergency” number.

Five minutes into that call the house phone rang and it was Credit Card Fraud hot on the case.  It was bank roulette as first one would suggest a course of action then the other.  Reassuringly they were both on the same page.

A temporary block was placed on my card “but I’m flying out in 48 hours” while the investigation continued.

Hijacked for a dollar!

$1.01 was thought to be the thin edge of the wedge.  The crooks try out the card number and see if it’s a live one.  Such a small amount shouldn’t spark any interest, or so the crook thought.  Once they’ve established there is life at the end of the Credit Card number then they go in for the kill.

The bizarre aspect is, if they’d billed $30, $40 or $75  they’d possibly have gotten away with it.

My credit cards have never had a history of trivial transactions.

Five days to get another card “but I’ll be on the other side of the planet, without credit.” An emergency card can be generated within 24 hours if you need to replace it OS but it takes 5 days to replace in Australia.

I can hardly head off OS and then ask for a new card to replace my hijacked one in Australia.

So credit card blocked, albeit temporarily, I head for the bank on Saturday morning to make alternative arrangements.

Credit Card fraud is a multi billion dollar war.  It’s nice to know the first line of defence starts at $1.01.

PS  While I’m more than happy with the way my bank has handled  the incident I choose not to reveal publicly which one it is.


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