Was that a Stolen Credit Card?

  • Fraud Prevention

Over Labor Day weekend, I decided to take advantage of the sales and purchased some small household appliances. In respect to the national retailer, I wont say the name of the store, but they are very well known for selling household items and Beyond!

After all the discounts were applied to my purchases, the total amount ended up being just under $100. I swiped my VISA Debit card and the cashier asked to see my card (which I thought was strange given it was a debit card), she looked at the back of my card, saw the card was signed and handed back my card along with the receipt. I was never asked to show a drivers license or other ID to show proof in any way that I was the proper card holder. Out of mere curiosity, I asked the cashier how she knew I was the proper cardholder just because my card was signed and her response was that as long as the card is signed, they arent required to see a drivers license.

Im pretty confident that my experience wasnt a glitch or anything of the sort. Im also not picking on one retailer; this was just simply where I had the experience. Im sure the requirements are set forth by VISA, Master Card, Discover, etc. and all retailers adhere to the minimum requirements to speed up check-out lines in hopes of getting the 5 star review. Which sounds good in theory, but in reality that creates an easy way for an identity thief to make continual purchases on a stolen credit card. In fact, adhering only the minimum guidelines, it becomes much easier for a stolen credit card to be used to make purchases in-person, rather than trying to make a purchase onlinesounds crazy, but true. Think about it, many online retailers implement ID verification services, such as those offered by EVS, to protect their customers against fraud. And even if the online retailer doesnt engage in any specific fraud prevention solutions, the buyer (using a stolen credit card) still has to know the billing address of the card, try to ship the items to a drop location, and overcome several other ordering challenges before being successful. In person, the same items can be purchased and be on their way, no questions asked.

Im not sure how retailers can prevent the use of stolen cards without following simple fraud prevention guidelines, or if they even care. But I do know, with the swipe of a card, someone could be on their way out the door with a few new gifts from you.

[Contributed by Eric Knapp, Vice President of Client Services]