I’ve heard about credit card scams and about how easily a credit card with magnetic strips can be cloned but I never took it seriously, until it happened to me. Hope my story will help you be more aware of the risks of credit card use and how we can avoid being a victim of credit card scams.
Just last Monday, April 30, 2012, I started receiving text messages from Citibank informing me that my credit limit is exceeded. Exact message below:
1/2:Service message from Citibank. Your Card balance has gone beyond its credit limit. Should you wish to apply for a Credit Line Increase, simply submit an
2/2:updated income document online at <http://www.citibank.com.ph/income or call 995 9999>. Thank you. Line increase is subject to evaluation. T&C apply.
I received these messages 3 times, starting 3pm in the afternoon. I was at the office that time and was not paying attention to my phone. Once I read the messages, I thought my credit card payment last week is probably not yet posted and Citibank is reminding me about my limit being used up. I did not pay much attention to it. The next day (May 1), I received the same messages twice, starting at 1pm. Since I have my card with me and I have not made any purchases, I thought that Citibank is probably having some technical problems with their sms service. I also did not pay attention to it.
Today, May 2, I decided to check with Citibank if my card payment was already posted. The csr agent told me that the payment was already posted. Then I asked how much is my outstanding balance, the csr agent told me I have 18k total outstanding balance after payment. Then I asked how come I keep on receiving a text message that my balance is used up? That’s when the csr agent told me that there were floating transactions since Apr 30 totaling to around 18k.
I WAS SHOCKED. Below are the details of the purchases
30-Apr jc enterprises 12,276.00
30-Apr yellow cab 3,490.00
1-May kidsville toys 2,799.00
I told the csr agent that those purchases were not mine. The agent was kind enough to act immediately. He blocked my card and told me a new one will be sent within 3 days. Since the fraudulent transactions are not yet posted, I have to wait for them to be posted before I can file a dispute against them. Once a dispute is filed, they will not be included in my next bill. An investigation will take place that could last up to 60 days. If proven fraudulent, the expenses will be reversed. But if their investigation finds the purchases valid, I will have to pay a fine on top of the expenses!!!!
My last valid purchase was at Johnny Rockets restaurant in ATC. Prior to that, I also used the card at the following establishments:
- Bollywood restaurant, greenbelt
- Total gas station, alabang
- Army Navy, alabang and bicutan
Since I’ve learned about what happened to me, I’ve been researching about similar cases online. I’ve found countless forums discussing credit card cloning and how easily it is accomplished. Usually, a service staff (gas boy, waiter) is bribed an amount (ex. 500pesos a card) and given a machine to use for swiping the card. At the end of the day, the card machine is given back to the card syndicate. This is done to credit cards with magnetic strips ONLY. This is not possible for cards like BPI with both magnetic strips and smart chips.
I found this site that reported the scheme in action in a KTV bar. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/11027/ktv-has-gadget-to-copy-credit-card-info
I hope you find this information useful. Sorry for the long read, but I feel compelled sharing this with all of you so it will not happen to you.