My dad received a call the other day from his credit card company asking him about purchases he made with his credit card. It seems there had been some strange activity with his card and they wanted to verify that all were his purchases.
He immediately did the correct thing and asked if they could call him back in about 5 minutes as he wanted to call and verify it was really the credit card company calling. He called, verified and when the credit card company called back, he found there were a couple of charges (one $5 at a convenience store and one for $500 at a Apple computer store) that were not made by him. The credit card company immediately cancelled his card and sent him out a new one.
The credit card representative said that his card was likely swiped into another card reader after processing an order somewhere. They then took the information off the magnetic strip, created a new card with the same number and started using it.
Nothing spectacular here and the situation was handled well by both sides. My immediate question, however, was how did the credit card company flag the 2 purchases as “strange activity?” I mean, neither seems to be out of the ordinary and I would be surprised (and annoyed) if I received a call from my credit card company each time I made a $500 computer store purchase no matter where in the US it was made (the one that was made wasn’t even in some strange, far-off location – it happened in the same state a few towns away from where my dad lives).
The answer? They had used the wrong expiration date. Apparently that information isn’t hidden in the magnetic strip and so when a incorrect expiration date showed up, it sent up flags even though the purchases were not excessive. I just found that interesting and thought I’d pass it along…