So last week I’m at work when I receive a call on my phone, which is weird, since I don’t get many calls at all. I check the number and it’s a 1-800 so I ignore it because I think it could be telemarketer. A few minutes later, I get an indication that I have a voicemail. I check it and it’s my bank calling, telling me I have an urgent message regarding my Visa card.
I phone back and the bank rep informs me that their fraud department has flagged my card as potentially at risk. He goes over a list of some of my recent transaction and it all seems on the up and up. Unfortunately, he tells me he still has to deactivate my card because it might be compromised. I ask him if he can tell me which of the businesses I visited could have been the one that subjected me to the vulnerability. The rep replies that he doesn’t know and it could have been any of the recent transactions. We arrange to have another card mailed to my local branch (which is just downstairs) but my old card is now toast.
So I didn’t have any funny charges on my account but now all my pre-authorized payments associated with that card were now invalid. Luckily, a few of the payments just went through before the card was deactivated but the end of the month meant things like my Netflix payment didn’t go through. In another stroke of luck, the debit card I received last year was a Visa Debit one, which means it can double as a Visa card for online transactions. This was convenient on Saturday, when I spent half an hour trying to change over several accounts to the Visa Debit card. I get the pleasure of changing it all back once I get my new card since that one is also a rewards card and I want those rewards.
The question I still have is, where was my card compromised? It could have been online but hacking into computers that contain credit card is not easy and usually the data is also encrypted. Of course, it’s not impossible but it’s not easy. The less difficult way to get at card information is at point of sale where the card is physically available to a criminal. Someone could have stolen the data from a credit card transaction machine or used one that had snooping software on it. The interesting thing to note is that I used my credit card about three times while in Alaska. In the US, credit card technology lags far behind Canada and Europe. My card was swiped instead of utilizing the chip which is more secure. I had to sign a credit card slip which is a relic of the past in Canada. I have my suspicions that it might have happened in Alaska but I can’t be sure.