Nothing gets your blood boiling like Credit Card FRAUD!!!

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Blog

I’m one of, what I’d like to believe, the most careful people around when it comes to dealing with my confidential information.  I use Roboform for all my passwords which means I don’t have a single password that’s either the same, or easy to guess.  I have Lifelock for protecting my identity and I check all my accounts weekly when I download them into Quicken for review.  I like to think that I’m very careful about these things.

Let me tell you… nothing, and I mean NOTHING kicks your weekend off on a sour note like looking at your credit card transactions in Quicken and seeing nearly $2,000.00 in charges that you didn’t make.  That happened to me this weekend.

I found myself staring at four charges on my company credit card.  What struck me was not the amount of the charges, or even the number of charges even considering I had not used the card actively in almost 9 months.  No, it was the PLACE where the charges originated.  The payee was “Lollapalooza”.  I thought to myself… what the hell is Lollapalooza???!!!  So the first thing I did, after noticing there were three charges to it, was to Google it.  A music festival in Chicago?  That happened this past week?  Huh?  I’m from Indianapolis so it was clear to me that this was fraud.  On top of that, the was also a charge to T-Mobile which is NOT my cell phone provider.  Sadly, I’m on of the schmucks who are stuck with AT&T because I love my iPhone.  

It seems that my credit card number was somehow lifted and used.  What still confuses me is the fact that I had not used the card in 9 months.  The last time I used it, I set it up on file with my dry cleaning service and my limmo service in Boston.  That’s it.  It’s been in my vault ever since.  Of course, being my company credit card, it’s number had been used with multiple other companies and services and all I can think is that one of them was breached and my number was stolen as recently as last weekend.

In any event, I proceeded to logon to my bank’s web site to try and find the number to call in case of fraud.  Banks should REALLY get some usability experts to design the web UI.  It should be as easy as logging onto my bank web site, clicking on the account in question, and then having a menu option called “Report Fraud”.  Yes, yes, I know the bank needs us to call and report it in person, and I’m not saying allow me to do it online, but at least have the link give me the phone number to call.  I shouldn’t have to click through multiple customer support pages just to find out what number to call.  But that’s just me…  

I made the call and got the card cancelled.  Thankfully I’m not responsible for the fraudulent charges, but I would like to know where the breach took place.  The moral of the story is to watch your accounts closely.  These kind of things are, unfortunately, going to happen.  The best we can do is respond as quickly as possible.  I wish we could do more…




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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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