Thursday, January 31, 2013

Credit Card Fraud

As with all things in life, there are ups and downs.

When we were dining at the Grand Canyon ( a major upper ) we had a bit of a downer.

Imagine my surprise, when the waiter discreetly let me know my credit card was declined.

Impossible, I said, because we are very careful to never come even close to our limit, and we pay our card off every month.

Must be some mistake, I reasoned, and asked Teresa to try her card.

Declined !!

As soon as we got back to the motel room, I called our Mastercard provider - President's Choice Financial.

Actually, I was a little miffed, because I thought they missed the fact that I had alerted them to our travel to Arizona.

When the friendly rep asked me if we were in North Carolina, I began to have a sinking feeling.

Oh, oh, there were over twenty charges in a matter of hours at gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and others.  All in N Carolina.

This activity was noted by the bank's software, and an immediate lock down was enforced.

Now what ... I was relieved to find out I would not be responsible for these charges.

Also, a new card would be sent out to our home address immediately.

After a few security questions, they were able to re-activate Teresa's card.  We are on the same account, but she has a different number than me.

We were successful using Teresa's card for all our purchases, and thought that this was just a minor inconvenience.

Fast forward about five days, and after enjoying a great meal, a very kind and considerate waiter whispers in Teresa's ears ( we were with a bunch of friends ) that her card was declined.

Dang.  When we phoned the bank again, they said this was a separate issue, and Teresa's card was compromised as well.

They are also sending her a new card to our home address.  Now, we have a new problem.

We leave here next week, and won't have a mailing address until our stay in Palm Springs in March.

As we told a few others of our misadventure, we came to find out that there are hundreds of us in our park and the park next to us that have fallen victim to the fraudsters.

The police are involved and have some suspicion about a couple of local stores, but nothing definite yet.

I also came to find out that somehow these perpetrators are able to gain access to your account through debit cards.  

This seems impossible to me because of PIN numbers, but we talked to a gal in our office who said it happened to her and her husband, and their checking accounts are frozen.

We are not sure if our cards were scanned out of our sight, or if someone within a local store would have access to our info, but it has left us feeling a little leery and drained.

Why am I telling you this ??  

Well, although our original idea was to do this journal so friends and family would know of our adventures and travels, we thought it might be a good idea to let our RV'ing friends know so that we can all be diligent in protecting ourselves.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to BBQ some salmon fillets with a glass of wine by my side.

See, it isn't all bad !!


  1. That is terrible. If the problem occurred locally where you are, then they must have sold the info for the charges to be made in North Carolina.

  2. So sad, I guess we are lucky in our seven years on the road, Canada , USA and Mexico. No problem yet, not saying it can't happen. Hope all works out for you guys. Enjoy your BBQ and wine.

  3. Hummm, the wine can make a few things tolerable. Thanks for the head's up on the credit card fraud.

  4. Someone got the number to our Visa card, but the bank called us before we tried to use it. This was earlier this month. Ours was used in Houston. We were fortunate that they would send it overnight to our winter address here in Arizona.

  5. For what it is worth from a retired Bank Manager...cover your hand when punching in your PIN Number on the device. They usually use hidden cameras above you to get your pin. This also applies to Pinned Chipped Visa Cards in Canada while inserting your PIN. Without your PIN Number, they have no access to your account.

  6. Sorry to hear that you are going through this, it has happened to us and it is no fun! Good luck getting this all resolved soon.

  7. This is a sad deal for you and many otheres. When I was going through therepy for leg the therepist had this happen to 4 accounts. They found out it happened within seconds of buying gas a Safeway gas stations.
    But grilled salmon can make a bad day good.

  8. We have had the same problem. Ours was from a restaurant staff stealing the card info. Since then we always pay cash at restaurants and have not had a problem since.

  9. We have had our cards compromised on four separate occasions, three times with credit cards in the US and once with Norma's ATM card in Mexico. On one occasion we were in Florida while someone was buying $900 worth of women's clothes with my card in Los Angeles. I am careful with my card but had to leave it with a gas station attendant once while I gassed up and that was when it was scanned.

    My ATM card was not compromised in Mexico but was kept by an ATM.

    Once the perpetrator has your card scan and PIN there are websites that they use to sell the information to the highest bidder.

    The only thing we can do as travelers is to travel with several sources of cash and credit. We have five different credit cards and three ATM cards. The ones we are not using are kept hidden away in the RV. It is unfortunate but these are the times we live in.

  10. I think it's going to get to the point where cash is the more widely used currency again.

    When I was living in Edmonton, my card was compromised (my bank card) and cancelled.

    Being a creature of habit, I knew exactly who the perp was, and never went there again.
    It was a nail salon that I visited on a whim.

    I only use my card now in large box stores (like walmart or superstore) and barely ever use my credit card (unless I'm booking campgrounds).

    I carry cash more regularly and always worry that if I did use my card that I have the cash ready in the same amount in case my card is compromised again.

    Scary stuff for sure, and I wasn't even travelling at the time!

    You can never be safe from these guys.

  11. You must have been shattered. These things do happen and has happened to us twice. Interestingly last week we received a phone call and an email from our bank ( they knew we were in Mexico ) and wanted us to call them in Kelowna. Seems that because Colin used his ATM card just the day before they were alerted as to possible fraud as he has not used his ATM card in a year. Great service from Credit Union.

  12. I use Discover (since 1992) and they call my cell phone when they think there is an issue (which has happened three times-- two were me (so charges okay) and one was not (after all was said and done $5K in charges not mine).

    What I liked is that they called me the instant a charge was 'flagged' so I did not have the embarrassment of having my charges denied. They also had a new card to me in two days.

    I love Discover's Security section: on the ball and nice as could be!!

    Sheila :)


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