Card pwn3d

After an extended weekend of camping, I came home to an ominous message on the answering machine:

This is [credit card company] Fraud Department trying to reach [my legal name]. Please contact us at your earliest convenience regarding suspicious activity on your card.

I called and punched in the credit card number, my zip code, and an answer to a computer-generated question. Finally, “Alan” answered. Based on his diction, accented gabbing in the background, and total lack of comprehension for biting, impatient sarcasm, I infer “Alan” was his stage name, so to speak.

The next step, as Susan knows too well, is the question gauntlet. See if you can tell where my biting, impatient sarcasm kicked in:

What is your name? Long-time customer who’s always right. Call me “Your Excellency”

What is your quest? Defraud my account

What is your favorite color? Of what?

What is your birth date? The same it was ten minutes ago.

Can you name a most recent purchase? Plans for world domination

What state was your social security card issued? I don’t now. Shall I google it?

What was the ZIP+4 for the house that your parents lived in when they were first married? That’s a trick question.

What is the length of a curling sheet? 146 feet or “I don’t effing care.”

Pull my finger. No.

Who is John Galt? What is the sound of my Rearden Metal bat smashing your computer into bits because you asked me another stupid question?

He reluctantly revealed there was a pending $302.55 purchase made early Monday morning from a company I’d never heard of. I explained that this was my Internets card and I’d been camping far, far away from the tubes. “Alan” was not offering any theories on the vector or what to do now. I went for the obvious: cancel my card.

It’s only a matter of time when someone at the B-school loses a laptop with information on it. They’ve already effed up by mailing a spreadsheet with all the alumni contact information — the person sending it intended to use it as source data for an Outlook-generated mass-mailing.

Earlier in the year, I received notification that tapes containing my unencrypted (former) employee information “fell off a truck.” It’s time to avail myself of the year’s worth of monitoring service and file a fraud alert. (Be alert: the world needs more lerts.)

10 thoughts on “Card pwn3d”

  1. I’m sure this is one of the oh so many fascinating facts that you know off the top of your cute little head but…

    I wonder…

    How many social security numbers you have to collect before you can confidently lose your laptop?

    I do hope you told Alan I said hi and that his call is important to me.

  2. I’ve had the “we saw fraud” call many times (at least 15 in the last 6 years), probably because of all my far-flung motorcycling and weird ‘net purchases. They now have an online fraud form, which is really convenient.

    I’ve also had a credit card stolen, and it was flagged almost immediately. (if you buy gas at the same gas station on the same day, they will almost always flag you).

    I was amused when my Amazon credit card was put on hold for an Amazon purchase.

    1. Ted – I could see how you’d push the limits of their automatic programs 😉 I ran into a similar problem at Amazon where my card was flagged for making a bunch of purchases there. “It’s a job hazard,” was all it took.

      Susan – Alan gives his warm regards and profusely apologises for any problems you have had today.

      As for social security numbers, it seems like you need a population of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s worth to rate in the big leagues. If you aren’t running any anti-virus or firewall products, you’ll need Miami’s.

  3. Wow. What I want to know is how they caught the $302.55 purchase as fraud. Sounds like it was actually accurate this time (any calls I get are usually along the lines of, “Perhaps you forgot to tell us that you were going to Germany. Are you in Germany? Because your card seems to be.”). Good luck with the whole mess!

  4. Here’s a question. Do I need to do anything to be able to see the wee pop-ups that appear over certain words? (Like, for example, “tubes”.) I wouldn’t even know there were pop-ups if Scout hadn’t mentioned them.

    Also, you didn’t then, but how ’bout now?

  5. I got a fraud call while TGF was in Germany and I was here and we both used the same card within 24 hours of each other.

    I standardized a long time ago to only using one card on the Interweb thingie and have finally decided that I’ll have one card that I use ONLY on the ‘nets and never offline. Keeps my vectors trackable.

    So what did they buy for $302.55? Sounds like electronics to me.

    1. Woodstock, Kiri – I was unable to pry further purchase or “methods and techniques” information from “Alan.” I’d guess it’s either electronics, probably an iPod. As for methods, I know the credit card companies have psychometrics, but given the speed with which they reacted, it’s likely something simple like an incorrect CVV or billing address mismatch.

  6. No, no – I mean, I can see that “tubes” is underlined with dots, I just can’t get my version of Firefox (which I just reinstalled just in case) to render the wee box with text that pops up. Curious if you knew of a solution.

  7. Jarrett- I can’t see any particular setting that would suppress the display of the acronym title. I wonder if you have a theme or font display modification applied to FireFox that is messing with the title display. That’s my guess, anyway.

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