I "Lost" my VISA card…

Last weekend, my offer to pay for lunch with my VISA card was declined. A call on Monday to VISA sent me to my bank, who told me that it had been reported as lost or stolen.

To which I replied "Huh?"

There are two physical cards and both my wife and I have them in our possession. But there's no telling VISA that, so they cancelled the account, and I'll get a new card that I'll have to set up for Netflix, Xbox live, etc. Plus a new number to memorize.

Anybody have this happen to them? The conspiracy theory says that my card showed up in one in an "accidental information disclosure", and that's why VISA cancelled it...

Comments (15)

  1. Steve Hall says:

    Something similar happened to me several years ago. I went to an ATM to pay a credit card and it refused to acknowledge the credit card was "linked" to the ATM card…and sucked up the card into it’s little "suspicious card hidey-hole".

    Fortunately this was my home branch. Went inside to retrieve the ATM card, figuring that the mag. stripe was simply worn out and I needed a new one. Instead, I was told to "go off to the side"…much like suspicious people are culled from a checkpoint-Charlie line at an airport.

    The branch manager had this horrified look on her face as she was looking at my account. She said the card had been reported as stolen a week earlier, and someone in the "credit division" had removed that credit card from the ATM card and replaced it with a prior credit card number (gee, that makes a LOT of sense, eh?)…which, of course, was no longer valid…since it had also been reported as stolen 6 months earlier (at which point the card number was changed).

    Of course, in both instances of so-called "stolen card reports" they ended up admitting that their security sucked, since it appears that someone posing as me called them to report the cards stolen, apparently in an effort to spoof the credit clerk into shipping the new cards to "new addresses", which fortunately they didn’t do…(but still left the account screwed up…)

    And this happened after having been anal and cross-shredding all junk mail (including unfilled credit apps) and all other paper for over 10 years that could be used to steal my identity. (Having worked in data centers for several decades taught me this was wise.)

    Probably, my card number got out by someone either stealing carbon copies of signed credit slips or swipping the card through a portable reader while I wasn’t watching.

    These days I’m extremely anal about "extra copies" of credit slips by never turning my back and expecting the clerk to slip all copies into the register drawer. I also never hand my credit card to a waiter, where it’s spirited out of my sight to be copied either in writing or by card reader. (They either do it right in front of me, or I asked for the manager and start yelling.)

    Banks have hopefully gotten a lot better at verifying identity of someone reporting cards stolen, but maybe yours still sucks by using simple questions to which anyone could find the right answers on the web (e.g., mother’s maiden name, birth date, birth city, birth county, previous address, etc.)

    But I fear that this will remain a security hole until banks get sued repeatedly enough to realize it’s cheaper to stop allowing themselves to be spoofed so easily.

    Thus, methinks someone got your card number and was trying to spoof the bank into reissuing the new card to a new address. I’d switch banks ASAP!

    Short of doing that, another technique I’ve been using for over 20 years is to rent a USPS PO Box and have all your credit card bills sent to there instead of your street address. And then NEVER give out the PO Box number to ahole merchants like magazines, web merchants, etc. that will resell your name associated to the PO Box number. Then, it becomes MUCH, MUCH HARDER for someone to spoof the bank, since they might be able to figure out your street address, but probably not your PO Box. Having your credit card bills sent to the PO Box also prevents them from being lost by idiot letter carriers. Also, if you lose/stolen your wallet, as long as your PO Box number isn’t in your wallet anywhere, the finder won’t know the billing address of the credit cards, making it almost impossible to steal them.

  2. Grant says:

    While embarrassing to have your card declined, honestly I’d rather have my credit card company cancel my card (I carry several so unless it happened to all of them I’m never "broke") if they suspect it’s been stolen than let it continue to be charged against.

    Recently my wife’s Amex had several atypical charges on it, they didn’t cancel it, but instead put it into a "call to confirm" mode. When she called to find out why it was in this mode, she was informed about the atypical charges and asked to confirm whether she made them.

    This offered the best of both worlds. She continued to have a working card (until she confirmed the charges were _not_ her’s) while at the same time protecting both themselves and the customer.

    Over all, as I said before, I’d rather be embarrassed by a declined charge and have to pull out another credit card to charge my purchase than have someone continue to charge their purchases against my card.

    That said, it’s a little disconcerting that the cc company would accept a claim of a stolen card without confirming the person making the claim is the customer.

    BTW, I believe this is some sort of scam, someone calls and reports your card stolen, then asks that the new card be shipped to a "new address" (ie – them).

  3. Nat says:

    They actually have a process to flag on the potential fraudulent on credit cards. Usually they track the address where the card is being used. If the same card number is using in multiple places in a short period of time, they may call you to verify or decline the payment or even cancel your card to reduce the damage that may occur.

  4. TAG says:

    Your bank does NOT care about potential problems to owner of card reported as stolen. They care more about their security.

    If I will call bank and report ALL several 1,000,000’s cards as "potentialy" stolen – bank will be happy to suspend them to prevent potential money losses.

    The fact that you was unable to pay your bills or go shopping does not realy matter for bank. Anyway you will spend your money next day / week.

    Do not fool yourself that bank will try to improve anything.

    A free tip:

    If you are asked to fill answer on lame (not related to credit application) question like your mother last name – you can easily fool the system and type ANY secret answer you wish.

    For example some magic combination of digits 😉 This combination will be blindly copied to main database and will be used as secret answer (as bank unable to find real answer on this question 😉

    Then – in case if somebody will call bank and will try to answer on "your mother last name" question – he will be shocked to find that his answer was incorrect 😉

  5. Jim says:

    This has not happened to me in a long while (about 8 years ago), but it did happen. It has happened to my Sister-in-law more recently. The CC company WILL cancel your card if it has been placed on a CC number for sale list. What this means is that you CC number was likely comprimised and was likely actively for sale. CC companies track down these sites and cancel cards they know could have fallen into the wrong hands.

    This is not to be confused with the "accidental" disclosure lists. These are too large and would cause too much disruption and cost to their system.

    This is also not to be confused with fraudulent transaction monitoriing. In that case the CC company will likely deny individual transactions rather than cancel the whole card. This has happened to me more frequently. Most often when I use a card while traveling (which I do rarely and my CC company concludes that I never travel).

    I hope this helps explain things. Although it would have been better to get some more advanced knowledge of the change, I am sure your CC company has your best interest in mind when they canceled your card.

  6. Jeff Parker says:

    This sort of happened to me, I had bought books from amazon of course what techy hasn’t in their years. However one day out of the blue I go to leave a restaurant and my card isn’t valid. Luckily one of my banks branches was just across the street. Anyway, someone has tried to use my card number, not my address, not my name, not even my expiration date just my number at ebags.com which is aparently owned by amazon as well. It hit their central database of card numbers and seen it wasn’t me and they fired off the card has been stolen or missused to the bank. I had mixed feeling about this. Yeah, I am glad they caught this but I could be stuck here without any cash what if it was middle of the night and I needed gas or something. After that I got a second card and then a third. SO I now have a Visa, Mastercard and American Express all from difference banks. While I use one primarily for things like netflix or what ever occasionally I use one of the others. All I can say is thank you Microsoft Money for helping me keep them straight.

  7. Jeff Parker says:

    Oh yeah, and one other thing if you decide to get an additional card which I recomend, look into the points systems of the cards. Like my Amex card I get 3% back on all meals or dining out. While my Master card I get discounts and point on hotels and traveling and rental cars and so on. SO I use Amex while eating out, Mastercard for traveling and so on. Since having more than one card can be a pain might as well ease the pain with multiple rewards from them all.

  8. Jeff Lewis says:

    I had the same thing happen to me a year ago while on vacation to the Dominican Republic.

    Our back actually told us that someone had called and reported the card stolen. Luckily we usually carry a couple of cards.

  9. Steve Mark says:

    Visa seems to be really stringent on issues like this. I had a charge I was disputing and they said if I really wanted to pursue it they would have to cancel the card and issue a new one as the card would be deemed "compromised." As it was a $40 charge, I wanted to straighten it out, but I’ve got over a dozen vendors auto-charging the card, and for the money, it wasn’t worth the hassle. With MasterCard, they check with the vendor, and credit you quickly if they don’t resolve it, they don’t cancel your card.

  10. Happened to me two or three weeks ago. I received a credit alert from the credit watching service I use. When I checked I found that two of my credit cards had been reported stolen; I nor my wife had reported them.

    To be honest I thought someone had tried to obtain a replacement card (i.e. these companies mail the new cards out to your home address) but the "accidental information disclosure" makes a lot more sense – especially when I consider that these were the cards I used for online purchases.

  11. Oh, which is to say as well – every reported card shows up on your credit history, and apparently it doesn’t count as a contiguous timeframe. So if you’re trying to build credit and heading for that "five year open account" mark but have your card reported stolen or actually stolen and replaced, your "timer" on that account starts over.

    So this reporting that wasn’t you actually hurts you in terms of "credit worthiness." Now, if the rest of your report is good it probably won’t matter, but it’s worth noting.

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