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article imageIn a World of Credit Card Scams: One Woman's Story

By Robert G Cope     Aug 19, 2012 in Crime
Banks, ATM installers and credit card issuers do not want to admit their customers have been scammed. Bad for business. The burden, unfortunately, too frequently is borne by the customer. The problem grows worldwide.
The Federal Police confirmed last week Eastern European hackers have stolen half a million credit card numbers from Australians. They are investigating.
In the midst of an escalating issue, I met with one of those scammed.
The card-user this reporter met -- after her weeks of nearly fruitless phone calls with CitiBank -- showed me not-yet-sent letter.
After detailing card numbers and purchases, near the letter's end, she – disappointingly declared, “...we put our trust in the banks to look after our accounts. This is an honour.”
Then, not in fury, but with a flourish, she shredded her recently re-issued card – the third in less than a year.
She prefers her name not be revealed. She is, however, after three hacks of her previous two Citi-cards – with hand under chin – as an Aussie will say, “I'm up to pussy's bow.”
In June, reporting on events in April-May, Citigroup in the United States, reported by CNNMoney and Fortune 500, released details of hacking involving 360,000 cards, saying, “Only accounts in the U.S. were impacted.”
At that same time (April-May) her Australian card was also hacked. Something over 500 dollars being charged in the United Kingdom. So, perhaps, not only in the USA?
Following CitiBank policy, her card was then reissued – new numbers.
Now that card is also scammed: over 1,200 dollars in bike parts in Germany and over 1,500 dollars in wine (also in Germany).
Cut to pieces. One less credit card.
Cut to pieces. One less credit card.
Since the woman has not been in Germany, while a Citibank Fraud Department spokesperson acknowledged the fraudulent charges, issuing the (third) now-shredded card, the woman was told she must visit a Victoria Police Station. The tone, "You have to declare your innocence."
At the Police Station, she filled out two statutory declaration forms denying she (not owning a bicycle) had ever ordered over $1200 in bike parts and – although she enjoys good wine – she did not order over $1,500 worth of dark purplish reds. She signs both declarations for herself; they are witnessed, stamped and (I noted) signed by a Sergeant.
In tomorrow's mail she sends the signed and witnessed forms. As she already burned the PIN, this reporter suggests she include the shredded card.
Then she will wait.
In the meantime Australian Federal Police are not providing details of their ongoing investigation. As reported in the Brisbane Times, a spokeswoman, however, confirms Australian investigators are working with law enforcement bodies in other countries.
Detective Superintendent of Queensland's Fraud and Corporate Crime Group, Brain Hay, in comments about one supplier of about 200,000 point-of-sale machines (in taxicabs, for example, even supermarkets) said there has been a security breach. The company, according to Today Tonight refused to comment, other than to admit the security breach.
When Detective Superintended Hay was asked how large this worldwide problem might be, he said, “I've seen a figure recently of about $300-odd billion. I've seen $84 billion. I've seen $3 trillion. Who knows? But I do know that it affects probably more people than any other crime type that has ever existed in the history of humanity – and it's going to get worse.”
The too-often scammed woman doesn't want any part of it.
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