My Credit Card Got Hacked

Paul Morrone |

Recently my credit card got hacked by some low life individual or group of low life individuals. I use the adjective low life because in my opinion that is what they are. Instead of putting their technological capabilities to good use they stalk innocent people. Their devious minds work tirelessly towards trying to find different ways to take advantage of the cyber credit system that we all use day in and day out without much thought about how it all really works. That is until you get that phone call from the Fraud Department that your credit information has been compromised. Now what?

My wife actually received the call from the Fraud Department for our VISA card. This is not meant to be an endorsement of VISA but they were extremely proactive and called immediately when there was a “suspicious charge” to our account. They reviewed the most recent charges for authenticity, placed a hold on our account to protect us from other fraudulent charges and immediately sent us replacement cards by overnight carrier. That actually for us was the easy part. The hard part was the emotional impact of processing what happened. More importantly, how did this happen? Was I careless? Where did this happen? Could I have prevented it from happening? Will it happen again? Was it compromised from an online purchase? And as Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Yadda, yadda, yadda”.

There is a difference between ID theft and credit card fraud. ID theft is much more pervasive and can encompass financial institutional accounts and IRS tax reporting. Credit card fraud is limited to a specific credit card. Our card did have the more current chip technology called EMV (or chip card) which stands for Europay, MasterCard and VISA. This technology is widely used throughout Europe and the USA has been slower to catch up to the more advanced European credit card system. Even with the advanced technology we still got hacked. It seems there is a data breach recorded on a regular basis with some large retailer, insurance company, financial institution or governmental agency. Is our personal identifiable information safe anywhere these days?

There is the aftermath of phone calls and website accessing that needs to be done to update credit card information for those recurring charges that go directly to the card. Each time the information is updated I questioned myself as to which of these sites was the culprit of how I was hacked? Maybe it had nothing to do with these sites at all. That is what is frustrating because if the source of the breach was known then that is what would be addressed more cautiously. Not knowing is what is the most frustrating and scary part of the process. For those that have gone down this road you can empathize with me about the emotions that run rampant.

I remember when I got my first credit card when I was in college. I was so excited to give my brand new card to the sales clerk in the store. She reached under the counter and took out the clunky imprint machine. Then she reached into the draw to get the two-part form and carefully placed the blank form and credit card in the machine and did the quick right to left motion with the handle on the machine. I would sign and she would rip off the tissue copy for me and keep the carbon copy for the store.

Those were the days. I say bring back the imprint machine.

Until the Next Tom’s Take…