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Major PenFed Visa fraud
Old 08-02-2013, 09:44 PM   #1
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Major PenFed Visa fraud

I received an email from PenFed yesterday with my rewards points balance (8,800). Today I went to the website to redeem the points for a gift card and noticed I had waaaaaaaaaaay too many points (18,800)!

I hadn't checked my CC account for a couple of days and during that time about $13,000 in United Airlines tickets and what looks like luggage fees had been charged to my account.

I immediately called PenFed to report the fraud. The representative was just as surprised as I was that no fraud warning had been tripped when $3,000 in airline tickets was charged on 7/28, $5,200 in airline tickets charged on 7/29, and $4,500 in airline tickets and luggage fees(?) charged on 7/30. The largest single charge I've made in the last year is about $1,500.

It would be interesting to know the destination of the travelers. PenFed seemed to accept the charges were not mine so I'm assuming the charges will be reversed as soon as I sign some paperwork.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #2
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It seems I hear about credit card fraud everyday from co workers, friends, posting on this board. It seems so commonplace now that it is almost accepted as a normal risk to using a credit card.

I'm wondering how so many cards get compromised? I use mine regularly online, but only at regular sites that I visit, amazon, clothes retailer, and such. Used at the local gas stations self pay, used at local restaurants, etc. and not a problem (knock on wood). So how do I protect my info? How do the thieves get it?
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye View Post
I received an email from PenFed yesterday with my rewards points balance (8,800). Today I went to the website to redeem the points for a gift card and noticed I had waaaaaaaaaaay too many points (18,800)!

I hadn't checked my CC account for a couple of days and during that time about $13,000 in United Airlines tickets and what looks like luggage fees had been charged to my account.

I immediately called PenFed to report the fraud. The representative was just as surprised as I was that no fraud warning had been tripped when $3,000 in airline tickets was charged on 7/28, $5,200 in airline tickets charged on 7/29, and $4,500 in airline tickets and luggage fees(?) charged on 7/30. The largest single charge I've made in the last year is about $1,500.

It would be interesting to know the destination of the travelers. PenFed seemed to accept the charges were not mine so I'm assuming the charges will be reversed as soon as I sign some paperwork.
Not being a professional crook (or even an amateur one), I have to question the wisdom of using stolen credit card information to buy airline tickets. You have to present positive, official identification when you board the plane, so there is not going to be a question of who you are. It would seem like a sure way to get caught, wouldn't it? What am I missing here?
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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......I have to question the wisdom of using stolen credit card information to buy airline tickets. You have to present positive, official identification when you board the plane, so there is not going to be a question of who you are. It would seem like a sure way to get caught, wouldn't it?..............
That's a good point. Unless the tickets could be redeemed for cash perhaps??

I haven't been the victim of a major CC fraud yet (knocking on wood). Around a year or more ago my spouse and I started paying for our meals out with cash in order to minimize this problem (at the time there were some issues in the Tucson area, where we stay for the winter). Now it's become a habit. Since we pay off our cards every month it doesn't really affect us in a negative way. Of course, when paying cash eating out you soon realize just how much money you're actually spending...
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #5
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Can you set immediate SMS/email notification of credit card use, as far as I know some banks provide this service.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CJHorne View Post
You have to present positive, official identification when you board the plane, so there is not going to be a question of who you are. It would seem like a sure way to get caught, wouldn't it? What am I missing here?
About four years ago, someone got my credit card info (either a restaurant server or a hotel front desk clerk, not sure which) while we were on vacation in Phoenix. They bought an airline ticket for nearly $2,000 and a few hours later got a refund in cash. (I learned that from the CC fraud office).

My guess would be that they had an accomplice either at the airport ticket counter or maybe a travel agent, because it doesn't seem likely that a normal refund would be made that way.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post

About four years ago, someone got my credit card info (either a restaurant server or a hotel front desk clerk, not sure which) while we were on vacation in Phoenix. They bought an airline ticket for nearly $2,000 and a few hours later got a refund in cash. (I learned that from the CC fraud office).

My guess would be that they had an accomplice either at the airport ticket counter or maybe a travel agent, because it doesn't seem likely that a normal refund would be made that way.
I use my credit card all the time. I hate to stereo type, but the only two fraudulent activities that I have encountered were shortly thereafter a use at the hotel front desk. I have never given a restaurant an opportunity as I only pay cash there.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CJHorne View Post
Not being a professional crook (or even an amateur one), I have to question the wisdom of using stolen credit card information to buy airline tickets. You have to present positive, official identification when you board the plane, so there is not going to be a question of who you are. It would seem like a sure way to get caught, wouldn't it? What am I missing here?
The PenFed rep and I talked about the ID requirements. Unfortunately, only the ticket and your ID have to match because anybody can buy anybody an airline ticket. If the crooks are travelling outside the US or travelling out of the US, they may not care whether they are identified because no one will likely do anything about it. I would love to know the details of the airline tickets, departure and arrival locations.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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I use my credit card all the time. I hate to stereo type, but the only two fraudulent activities that I have encountered were shortly thereafter a use at the hotel front desk. I have never given a restaurant an opportunity as I only pay cash there.
No recent (at least 60 days) eating out anywhere I handed over my CC and we last stayed in a hotel about 9 weeks ago. IDK where the info got snatched.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Can you set immediate SMS/email notification of credit card use, as far as I know some banks provide this service.
I will definitely check that out. I could have stopped about $8000 of the fraud if I had received notification on the first ticket purchase.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #11
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I have never given a restaurant an opportunity as I only pay cash there.
I adopted that policy about a year ago. In fact, I never use a card where it can be out of my sight for even a few seconds. So far, so good.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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I adopted that policy about a year ago. In fact, I never use a card where it can be out of my sight for even a few seconds. So far, so good.
I also don't like having the card out of sight, or even handing it over. But, I use my CCs for practically everything I can. I rarely ever go to the bank/ATM for cash. And so far, I had one questionable charge years ago, they just reversed it, no big deal. I had another a few months ago, and they sent a new card. It was pretty painless to update the auto-charge accounts - ones that were due in the next few days I moved to another card, then moved them all to the new card when I got it.

So the fraud has not cost me anything out-of-pocket, and only very minor aggravation. Right now, I think the 2% rewards versus having dead cash on hand (with near zero chance of help if that gets stolen or lost) is a trade-off I'll accept.

Even if I stopped handing it over at restaurants, someone might find some other way (a scanner on a swipe machine?). It's not a guarantee, but it probably goes a long way. I'll accept the risk - will change my mind if this becomes a more frequent occurrence.

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Old 08-03-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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I use CC for almost everything for the cash back reward. Never use cash or debit cards. Only had one fraudulent charge over 12 yrs ago. I reported it, signed a form and they credited the amount with a new card.

Remember the card holder is only liable for the first $50 in fraudulent charges as long as you report it promplty
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
About four years ago, someone got my credit card info (either a restaurant server or a hotel front desk clerk, not sure which) while we were on vacation in Phoenix. They bought an airline ticket for nearly $2,000 and a few hours later got a refund in cash. (I learned that from the CC fraud office).

My guess would be that they had an accomplice either at the airport ticket counter or maybe a travel agent, because it doesn't seem likely that a normal refund would be made that way.
Usually they would ask for ID before giving a refund, and it would go back on the card, not be given in cash. Do they really keep enough cash at air line ticket counters and travel agents to be giving out thousands of dollars in ticket refunds? I think you are right - inside job.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:27 PM   #15
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I use CC for almost everything for the cash back reward. Never use cash or debit cards. Only had one fraudulent charge over 12 yrs ago. I reported it, signed a form and they credited the amount with a new card.

Remember the card holder is only liable for the first $50 in fraudulent charges as long as you report it promplty
We charge everything possible on the cards to minimize carrying cash, have a record of the spending and for the rewards points. Only can remember one fraudulant charge and one incorrect charge that I believe was just a processing error. I have had several disputes with merchants but that is a different category.

We receive over $1,000 / year in credit card points that usually get used for gift cards for dining out at Red Lobster, Outback, Applebees, etc., or for Omaha Steaks.

We dined at Joe Roots in Erie, PA last week. The waitress brought a credit card machine to the table and had you run your card through it so she did not have to handle it at all. I wondered who is THAT paranoid! Now I know.

I am not worried at all about the risk of using a credit card. I take a lot bigger risks than that...riding a motorcycle for example.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #16
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Can you set immediate SMS/email notification of credit card use, as far as I know some banks provide this service.
Having been a victim of major cc fraud on my Penfed card a few weeks ago I can confirm that Penfed doesn't have alerts of this sort available (unlike my Amex and Chase accounts).

I even flagged myself as being out of the country on their site before I left on vacation and was clearly shown as being in Europe when $23k of in-person purchases were made in the USA, and in a State I don't live in, and over 10 times my average monthly spend in a matter of a few days.

Penfed fraud detection, or lack of it
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #17
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My main CC is Discover and they alert me via email whenever I get a single charge over $500. Does PenFed Visa have this feature?
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #18
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My main CC is Discover and they alert me via email whenever I get a single charge over $500. Does PenFed Visa have this feature?
No.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:55 PM   #19
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I also don't like having the card out of sight, or even handing it over. But, I use my CCs for practically everything I can. I rarely ever go to the bank/ATM for cash. And so far, I had one questionable charge years ago, they just reversed it, no big deal. I had another a few months ago, and they sent a new card. It was pretty painless to update the auto-charge accounts - ones that were due in the next few days I moved to another card, then moved them all to the new card when I got it.

So the fraud has not cost me anything out-of-pocket, and only very minor aggravation. Right now, I think the 2% rewards versus having dead cash on hand (with near zero chance of help if that gets stolen or lost) is a trade-off I'll accept.

Even if I stopped handing it over at restaurants, someone might find some other way (a scanner on a swipe machine?). It's not a guarantee, but it probably goes a long way. I'll accept the risk - will change my mind if this becomes a more frequent occurrence.

-ERD50
I agree the "recovery" process is pretty pain free.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:58 PM   #20
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I use CC for almost everything for the cash back reward. Never use cash or debit cards. Only had one fraudulent charge over 12 yrs ago. I reported it, signed a form and they credited the amount with a new card.

Remember the card holder is only liable for the first $50 in fraudulent charges as long as you report it promplty
I've never paid a deductible on fraudulent charges. Maybe because it's a platinum-level card.
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