Fraudulent credit card charges -- Where's the breach?

I just got a call from Cardmember Services about one of my credit cards, informing me of suspicious activity. Since I use this card for certain things, and the purchases were on the other side of the country and not things I would buy with it, the charges are indeed fraudulent. The representative said he would cancel the account, send paperwork I need to fill sign verifying that the charges are fraudulent, and send a new card that will arrive in seven to ten days.

I’ve pulled my credit report, and I saw no new credit cards listed. There are no alerts (enquiries, new accounts, address changes, etc.). I need to determine who gets paid automatically with that card and change cards when I get the new one. (Or switch to a different card.)

How can I find out where the security breach happened?

You probably can’t. It could have been anything from an over-the-shoulder number read to a hack-in of any merchant you’ve bought anything from, or a bent employee in any company that writes down buyer information in full.

Reject the frauds, cancel the number, get a new card, and move on. That’s all you can do these days. Good on your card issuer to catch the anomalies. I’ve had that happen a few times.

A lot of big breaches that have made the news involve credit card processors, basically some middle man between the retailer and the bank that issues the card. These breaches involve the theft of tens or hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers. Here’s one recent example.

Are you sure it was them and not a scammer?

Just to follow that up, I’ve been called 2 or 3 times and I always rang them back on the number on the back of the card (well, I use to get the non-premium number and reduce my phone bill). I also refuse verification when they ring me - after all, they rang me - how do I know that they are who they say they are? I also try to use my mobile to prevent the hanging on the line scam.

The rep asked for no personal identification. No request for SSN, no request for a card number or part of a number. He told me my address, to which he will have the new card and affidavits sent. He told me which card (by the name of the card) he was calling about, and told me the transaction and amount of what he assumed to be – and I confirmed – a legitimate charge.

Sounds pretty conclusive to me.

The same thing happened at one of our local grocery chains. Thousands of cards compromised. I got a call from Cardmember Services that there was a charge on my card from a casino in Washington state.

I immediately turned around and called the number on the back of my credit card. That’s how I made sure it was legitimate.

I got a fraudulent use notice on my VISA card today. It’s been happening about every 4 or 5 months for several years. What a PITA to change all my automatic charges, but I guess I should just be glad they caught it.

Actually, *they *should be glad they caught it because you would bear no liability for the fraudulent charges, unless you lost your card and failed to report the loss. Even then you would only be liable for $50. You would, though, have to notice the fraud on your statement and report it.

Johnny L.A.:

Was it Rachel or Heather?

Schnucks in the St. Louis area? They got hit hard a few months ago.