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Old 12-07-2011, 11:29 AM
 
45 posts, read 68,021 times
Reputation: 38

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Hello,

I am new to the US, so I don't know how common is this, but let me tell you the story and then you'll tell me what you think. I arrived 3 months ago, got an account in a very well known bank (named after this continent), with a debit card and a credit card.

Ok, everything fine until about 3 weeks ago, when I see on my credit card a couple of fraudulent transactions of about $250 on a gas station in a place in California where I've never been. All right, they cancel my card and send me a new one. Now the week next to that one, same thing happens with my debit card, a fraudulent transaction on San Diego, definitively never been there, so again, they cancel my debit card and send me a new one.

Now, yesterday I got a call from the bank saying that there's unusual activity with my credit card. They say 3 transactions of about $300 in total happened at 3 different gas stations at very distant places in California (I guess that's how they realized there was something suspicious.. there's also no need to say that I've never been to one of those places). So, ok, 3rd time, 3rd cancelled card, waiting for my new one.

The question is: how common is this? I have never ever before had any problems with debit cards or credit cards in my whole life outside the US, and I've had cards in 2 different countries. I don't use my cards for anything weird, just the usual shopping, groceries, gas, etc., and some occasional shopping at the internet (with credit, not debit). I always bought things online with my other credit cards from other countries and never had any fraud.. and anyway, it's a new card, so it's not like I could have done many things with it. In fact, given that it has been recently replaced, it's only 2 weeks old! And I'm sure that in these 2 weeks all I did was some shopping (physically, not online) and one gas pumping. How the hell did this happen again??!?

I'm thinking that I might be sleep-driving at night and going all over California to pump gas.. on my 20.0L tank gas car.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 18,090,703 times
Reputation: 19672
Perhaps your mail has been tampered with?
Even normal shopping has its hazards: Lucky's urges some customers to close bank accounts in wake of hacking - San Jose Mercury News
You might want to retrace your steps the past two weeks.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:26 PM
 
45 posts, read 68,021 times
Reputation: 38
Well, I don't think my mail is a problem, since I've gone paperless a while before this started happening. I did retrace my steps, and anything suspicious that I might recall is when paying to go out of a couple of parking lots, where I gave my credit card to the toll person.. but then again, if this is the reason, what's the solution, not use the card at all?

Also, even though it's possible to have been a victim of a weird scam, it's VERY weird that it happened twice with my credit card and once with my debit card, all in less than 3 weeks.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:48 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 18,090,703 times
Reputation: 19672
If you frequented the same places with all three cards then, chances are, you might get the card number stolen again. Handing the card off to a nefarious waiter means he has access to your number, expiration date, and security code. Avoid the places you frequent the past two weeks as much as possible and see.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:50 PM
 
45 posts, read 68,021 times
Reputation: 38
I guess I'll try this website I've been told about

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Old 12-07-2011, 01:05 PM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley
74 posts, read 113,948 times
Reputation: 66
No wonder they ripped you off! That's not a legitimate verification sight. Date and year format is incorrect! Call to activate from now on!
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,613 posts, read 34,655,635 times
Reputation: 16957
Jeanuus4U: WHOOSH!
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:44 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,539 times
Reputation: 10
This also happened to me last month (Dec 2011). Somehow, somewhere my credit card number was stolen, and it was used at seemingly random gas stations all over Los Angeles. And each time the amount was just under $100. This happened 20 times before the credit card company caught on to it. BTW, I'm very vigilant about handling my credit card safely, so it took me by surprise.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
10,001 posts, read 13,827,047 times
Reputation: 11508
It's actually never happened to me in LA; however, it happened to me three times in SF. In each situation, though, they attempted to use my card overseas: once in England, once in Canada, and once in India. Since I've never used this account in a foreign country, each transaction was denied, thankfully... but, I still had to get a new card.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:50 PM
 
Location: EST
369 posts, read 467,760 times
Reputation: 130
When I first moved to LA years ago, I had a similar thing happen. I was a student, had gotten my first credit cards and used them ONLY for emergencies (which I hadn't had yet). I received my first credit card statement and it was for - wait for it - $13,000. I almost passed out. WHAT? I had only used to buy some school clothes at the mall!

So, long story short...I called the card company. They asked if I'd just recently bought a Rolex watch. I was like, "NO!" Then they asked if I lived in such and such address in East L.A. (I didn't know where East was exactly, but I actually lived in Brentwood at the time)...so, "NO" again.

Anyway, turns out someone at the mall had stolen my card number, called the company, changed the billing address to THEIRS (were they planning on paying the bill??), and was charging up a storm on the card. Of course, the company ate the fraud, red flagged my cards across the board, in case of big purchases being made - and that was my 2nd week in the state!

Good times.

So, yea, it happens. And that's how you slowly develop your street smarts/paranoia, so that you can avoid such things to the best of your ability in the near future.

Welcome to CA, OP!
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