Is it the economy? Is that who I should blame? Is 'why' even really important?Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-10-25 19:00:18 EDT
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This morning, for the second time in as many months, I received notification from my credit monitoring service that there were several attempts at apparently unauthorized use of my card number to buy things. The service asked that I call them to confirm or deny these charges. Grrrrr.
Last month, the monitoring service proved to be just that - they monitored some people charging $6k+ of electronics at online sellers in the span of 15 minutes, the merch to be delivered to several addresses all over the US. They called me a few hours later saying "Hey, uh, we sort of saw this happening and wondered if you were traveling faster than light around the country and calling these guys and ordering stuff to be delivered all over the place, or what." Thanks, you really earned your $50 a month there you useless collection of uninspired fucks. It took a week to get the funds back into my account even though they're supposed to be insured by the monitoring service. Fucked up my fianaces for that week somewhat, but in the end it was merely an annoyance that left me hoping someone would go to jail and get buttraped into permanent incontinence for it.
Alas, today it happened again. The card that was sent to replace the one that had gotten snagged last month was itself snagged. Since the last time, I'd provided the monitoring service a list of about 120 places that this particular card might be used, and left instructions that if I was going to use it elsewhere I'd call ahead of time. If I don't call and a charge appears that's not on the list, it is to be denied. Fairly straightforward, yes? But this morning, despite that, I got a call saying that there were several attempts to use the card in Maine, Washington and Nevada within the space of an hour. Most of the $2k+ charges were denied, but $29 got through and the monitoring company kindly informed me that they had already sent a check for the $29. "Really", I thought. I suppose they thought that telling me they'd already fixed their mistake was as good as telling me no mistake had been made. It is almost as good, I must admit. Nonetheless I still have to make guitar picks out of another card and wait 3-5 business days for the new one to arrive.
Now, I am asking myself: why is it that people try to steal credit card numbers? I know the economy's bad. People got no money. People need to eat. Food is not what these people are buying with my card numbers when they get them, though. They're buying home theater gear, iPads, and computers. Those things are easy to pawn, of course, so there's a layer of insulation between their deed and it's proper consequences. Are they buying drugs? Who knows. I'd guess 'probably', but I don't know. The people I know who take drugs don't steal other people's credit card numbers to pay for them, but that's clearly not the case everywhere.
I muse for a while on the question "Would those who steal credit card numbers stop doing so if they could get a job that paid well enough to afford the home theater gear and drugs they want badly enough to steal credit cards to get?" No, is the answer at which I quickly arrived. The thief mentality justifies stealing as a risk of being caught with the reward for that risk being the stuff that is stolen, thus replacing the concepts of 'is it right' or 'is it wrong' with 'is it worth being caught and punished for?'. As to stealing credit card numbers, it is often considered being worth the risk of being caught since the liklihood of even being prosecuted is small and the credit card companies and merchants make up the losses. And on the off chance that these thieves do go to jail, it's still pretty unlikely that they'll get raped into incontinence as they deserve. Add to that the fact that drug use is most often an increasing-rate thing, meaning that the more drugs one uses the more often that person uses them, and the time remining to go to work so they can get paid so they can buy more drugs decreases, so... you get it. So, no, a better economy is not going to fix the problem. A change in ethos is what is required.
Back in the 1970s in the US, there was litter everywhere. It really was trashy all over every highway, vacant lot, park, and alley. On the first "Earth Day" in 1970, there started a campaign called "Keep America Beautiful" that ran a series of commercials like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM and slowly but surely the nation's attitude about litter changed. There is much less litter on the roads these days (exceptions: New York because they're just fucking slobs and Florida because of the New Yorkers that come down here and slob up the place). The same thing has been going on for 10 years concerning smoking, and you're seeing smokers becoming the lepers of the day. A similar change is necessary with respect to thievery. It needs to be deomnstrated that stealing is weak, lame, and degrading. That the thief is not someone to be looked up to but one who should be pitied and shunned as a lesser example of a community citizen. If they're stealing credit card numbers and buying big screen TVs, then Robin Hood they are not.
So here's what I propose: let's make it socially unacceptable to be a thief. Those that are successfully prosecuted can go into a national name, picture, and address database, like sex offenders do. It should be noted that the names and addresses are already public information. If a person is convicted of credit card fraud, they don't get to have a credit card any more. These alone, however, are not enough. You can help directly. If your card number is stolen, report it to the police rather than just letting the credit card company handle it. Nothing will happen, probably, but the names of the thieves gets into 'the system' for later use. When you send in your fraud complaint, note on it that you will assist in prosecuting the thieves if they are caught. Ask your friends (assuming here) if they have been victims of card fraud. I'll bet at least one has been. Ask them if they pursued it or just let it go. Most let it go, but I say the time for that is over. Make it a bigger deal. tell your credit card/bank card companies that you want them to do a better job tracking these thieves and assisting in prosecution when the opportunity arrives. Tell tham that you expect that doing so will lower card fraud rates and tehrefore lower card costs, and you will be looking for card issuers that do this and can show reduced costs because of it, and you will take your business there. Card issuers listen to people who are talking about taking there business elsewhere, especially en masse. Do not accept that you will have to have a new card issued ever year or two because it get snagged. Raise the ethical bar.