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I stopped by Subway to pick up dinner. I get a text from my bank while the guy is making my sandwich, "Did you just charge $117.38 at a Kroger in Ohio?". I responded to the text "no". By the time my sandwich was done the card was shutdown. I live in Orlando, FL

My bank is being pretty great. The only thing I did not like was that it will take 7 to 10 days to get a new card. They charge to overnight one.

My question is how the heck did they get my CC info? In the past 30 days I have done what I always did...pay the cable, cell phone, get gas, and auto insurance. The only thing that sticks out is that I paid for public parking in Del Ray Beach over the weekend. However, I did this before and it is a city owned unattended machine.

Normally I am pretty careful about protecting my info, any ideas? Please don't respond with a version of "it could be anywhere".

  • did you respond with any other info besides no? – mhoran_psprep Aug 13 '13 at 17:04
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    Was the guy at subway holding your credit card at any time? Otherwise how is he relevant to the story? – littleadv Aug 13 '13 at 17:32
  • mhoran_psprep: The text just asked if the charge was valid 1 for yes, 2 for no. littleadv: Timing...in the time he had the sandwich done, the card was shut down. – Pete B. Aug 13 '13 at 17:33
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    Years ago, the Boston Globe printed out all customers' card numbers and names. They then used the paper to wrap the Sunday delivery to stores. That's one way to have the number 'lost.' – JoeTaxpayer Aug 13 '13 at 20:50
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However, I did this before and it is a city owned unattended machine.

Someone could have placed a skimmer on the machine that captures your credit card information. The fact that the machine is unattended makes this a definite possibility. This could have been done since the last time you used it without the city or any users catching on. This could also occur at a gas station, which you mentioned you had visited in the last few weeks.

If you used your card online, check the news or the company's website to make sure the site wasn't compromised. Also, talk to your bank about when the charges were made. The theft could have occurred shortly before that. However, it's also conceivable that your information was stolen a while ago and only recently used.

Have you used your credit card online from a public computer/wi-fi network or over an unencrypted connection? If not, have you logged into other accounts that use the same account information or could possibly expose your credit card details if those accounts were comprised? Some people store financial information in their email, so this is another avenue for your information to be compromised.

If you receive financial statements or documents with other personal information on them in paper form, do you shred them thoroughly or burn them before disposing of them? Regardless of how "swanky" your community might be, there are people who will look through trash to find such information. Arguably, a more upscale community would be more vulnerable to this because an identity thief knows there is more information available there.


Otherwise, it can be very difficult to pinpoint exactly when/where your information was compromised. I know it's not the answer you want to hear, but unfortunately, finding the exact time/location of the theft may be impossible.

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer. As far as Del Ray, it is one of those really swanky beach communities where they patrol aggressively for parking violations. The lot I was in is typically full, and so I see that as unlikely. – Pete B. Aug 13 '13 at 16:59
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    @PeteBelford It doesn't take that long to install a skimmer, and frankly, a full lot in a "really swanky beach community" is the exactly the sort of place someone would target because it gets a lot of credit card traffic. Besides, people have installed skimmers at busy supermarkets, so merely because a place is busy doesn't mean it's impossible to install a skimmer. – John Bensin Aug 13 '13 at 19:05
  • @PeteBelford Also, keep in mind that they're patrolling for parking violations, not necessarily credit card skimmers. I also added a few more possibilities, e.g. financial documents that were discarded, compromised online accounts, etc. There are a lot of possibilities, but at least you can protect yourself against those. – John Bensin Aug 14 '13 at 3:46
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Any system where they use and or store your credit card information is vulnerable.

Physical transactions where the card leaves your sight are vulnerable to a dishonest employee. The card number, expiration date, and code number on the back are easy for them to write down. Skimmers have been placed on restaurant credit card readers. Somebody with access to the reader can install the skimmer, and then retrieve it later.

Electronic transactions are vulnerable because of the need to store the credit card information in order to complete the transaction. The actual charging of the card may not take place until a few days after you order the product. They test the data you provide when you make an order, then wait until they ship the product to charge the card.

If you have the company store the credit card info for a recurring charge, or even just so that your favorite online retailer can streamline the order process to a single click, you are vulnerable. If somebody working for the company wants to steal credit cards numbers they can.

Merchants want to secure this data. They want to hire trustworthy employees. But no system is perfect.

Be glad the credit card company caught it.

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There are a various ways in which credit card frauds happen like low tech Dumpster Diving to high tech Hacking. Thieves might go searching for those dumps which contains your bills, invoice, etc and ultimately misuse it. Likewise, in high tech theft the banks website may get hacked and card numbers are stolen from there. Another possibility can be that the clerk of the bank itself or the hotel waiter takes image of your card and misuses it. Some careless persons easily give their card details in response to some fraudulent offers on the net.

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