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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Who are you?

Another first for me while over in India.  Credit card theft.   I was sitting at home the other night, catching up on email when I received a mail from Debra at American Express "Please Call" was the subject line.  Slightly skeptical, I emailed back "I am out of the country, what is this in regards to?"    An immediate response:

From: Deborah L Del Rosario []

Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:33 PM

To: Schmitt, Rebecca A.

Subject: Re: American Express Request

Hello and thank you. I see 5 charges in great Britain on September 28th on your Costco card ending in 1019 (Douglas Schmitt is the basic, you are the supplementary account holder) I suspect fraud at these merchants:

Radisson Mayfair

Zara UK


Burberry Knights

Burdett Road

(Approx. $2,400.00)

If these are not your charges please advise ASAP as I am working with law enforcement in GB. Also, please report that account STOLEN ASAP (even though you most likely possess the card...right?) Sorry to disturb you while away.



(On my blackberry as technologies installing updates)

PANIC set in.  I opened my wallet - my Costco Amex was still tucked safely in it's slot.    I logged on to the website, I could only see the first charge for over $1000 USD at Burberry.  Clearly not mine, although not unlikely I could have racked up that bill.    Doug and I both went through the transactions, nothing irregular for the last few months until September 28th.  When was the card compromised??   Fortunately the people at Amex are on the top of their game, my card was shut off, the charges were flagged as fraudulent and Debbie called back to say they are have the GB Police in pursuit of two individuals who are using my card.   Amex is so good that they have sent a new card to my parents (I'll pick it up in November) and they even called my employer when I did not respond to my first email.    I was pleased to see that my HR rep emailed me asking to call Amex given my overseas assignment they were not sure how to contact me.
We are now in Thailand on our holiday and I have seen first hand how my card could have been misused.   Doug and I stopped at the duty free upon landing in Bangkok to pick up requisite Bombay Sapphire Gin and some Kentucky Bourbon for our week.    The cashier rung up our purchases and had us sign the customs slip.   She was very confused as Doug's signature did not match the one of the back of his card.    The back of his credit card said "SEE ID" in printed letters.    At first we panicked that we would not be able to make our purchase, but then I realized - she can't tell the difference!   I guess it would be pretty easy to use a card when the only check is if the signature matches SEE ID.