stop credit card fraud with social media

How Social Media Can Help You Stop Credit Card Fraud

Social Media has come a long way since the Internet was created.

So has credit card fraud.

And whenever I read about credit card fraud I immediately get bored.

It’s a topic I don’t enjoy reading because it has never happened to me in the first place.

Well that changed yesterday…

It All Started With An Unknown Payment On My Bank Statement

A few days ago, I checked my bank statement online and I couldn’t recognize a payment.

If it had been $1, or $2 or even $20 USD, I wouldn’t had been worried about it but it was more than that.

unknown payment

$1,010.09 MXN

I buy a lot of stuff online and I normally keep good track of what I’m buying but I was 100% sure that payment was NOT mine.

However I let it slip because the legend said “SPORT SEASONS” and I’m all up for sports.

I watch them, I used to bet on them and I practice a few of them (I’m a long distance runner).

So I thought… well maybe I did buy something after all and just can’t remember.

All of this happened as soon as I woke up so I went downstairs to prepare breakfast, took a shower afterwards and all that time I couldn’t stop thinking about that payment and I decided to do something about it.

After all, you can never be too secure right?

My Plan Of Action

I deactivated my credit card from my PayPal account and then changed my PayPal password. (I still left my debit card untouched inside PayPal)

Went to my bank and after waiting for 30 minutes for client assistance it was finally my turn.

I explained everything to the lady, she doodled a few lines on the statement and told me “well it has something to do with sports… it says so right here, -sport seasons-“.

bank statement

Sport Seasons Payment

I gave her a “no shit Sherlock” look.

I believe she felt uncomfortable and quickly said “So you can’t remember what this is?”

I smiled and said “No… look, if I knew what this was, I wouldn’t be here in the first place” (I HATE banks but I didn’t tell her that as I was trying to fix this politely).

So after realizing we were not going to get anywhere with this, she said “Okay, you’re going to call this phone number here, dial 2, then *0*0*0 and ask for a payment clarification.

“Oh and it has a $20 USD fee.”

I wanted to get mad for that but the prior guy left swearing and everyone was laughing at him.

I didn’t want to become that guy so I just took a really deep breath and said “thank you” got up and left the bank.

Googling Sport Seasons

I’m back at my computer, thinking all the time about how shitty every mexican service is and hesitating about calling or not another bank executive.

So I called the number the really “helpful” lady at the bank gave me and then frustration came…

Somebody answered quite fast to my disbelief and after asking what was the problem, I talked for about one minute and a half, explaining all that it happened and then he said:

Okay, this is the number for urgent calls and this is not your case, you’re going to dial our number again and then wait for an operator“.

I replied “oh… ok, thank you” (for wasting my time).

Then it hit me… Before calling them again I decided to Google for “Sport Seasons” and see if I could find something about them.

And I certainly did.

sport seasons

www.sport-seasons.com

After a first glance I could see they were legit.

They were active on twitter, facebook, they had a LOT of real cool products, the site looked very professional and they even had phone numbers, physical address, return policies, I didn’t needed anything else really.

To my eyes, it was a real company.

Holy Sh*t I AM Being Robbed!

After some more browsing on their site, I see something that dragged my attention on the header.

sport seasons free shipping

FREE Shipping For all orders over $75 USD

My heart started pumping faster and I thought “oooooh no, you didn’t!”

So I immediately checked the fee on my statement and it reads: “1,010.09” (that’s mexican pesos)

I think I typed www.xe.com under less than one second to do a quick currency conversion…

currency conversion

$76.70 USD (yesterday this was $76.74)

Wait a minute… I started connecting the dots…

The least amount to get free shipping is $75 USD… holy crap I AM being robbed!

So I got my bank statement, wrote down the reference number and sent the store an e-mail telling them I had an unknown payment made to their company.

sport seasons email

Sport Seasons e-mail

Then I took off to twitter and also told them I previously sent an e-mail for an unknown payment.

sport seasons tweet

Sport Seasons Tweet

I waited for a few minutes and nothing happened…

Talking To My Bank Representative And Sport Seasons

By this point, I was already decided I was going to push all the way forward until this got fixed.

I dialed my bank again and started counting the minutes spent on the line LIVE on twitter because I honestly couldn’t believe it was taking THAT long to get somebody to answer my call.

Minutes on the phone waiting for a bank rep

Minutes on the phone waiting for a bank rep

At this point, I got a response from Sport Seasons on twitter saying somebody was actually looking at my e-mail.

I couldn’t believe it and I was so happy about it because I felt backed up!

sport seasons tweet response

Sport Seasons Twitter Response

Still a lot of minutes waiting for someone on the line and getting lots of tweets with similar stories.

twitter support

Twitter Support (thanks guys!)

At this point, I receive an e-mail from the store asking for my last four digits on my card and I immediately sent them those details.

After 13:49 minutes on the line, finally a human being introduced himself.

This time I didn’t want to waste any time so I kept myself very brief.

The bank rep asked what was the problem and I just said “I have an unkwnown payment on my latest statement“.

He replied “sure, can you give me your card details please?” I gave him what he asked for and then he asked if I had already identified the payment details.

I said “yes, I have my statement printed right here, it was a payment on April 10 for $76.74 USD“.

He told me there were TWO transactions on that day…

I almost blacked out.

I replied saying I actually bought something that day for about $5 USD (a Liz Tomey training I’m taking) but he said it was two transactions to the sports store.

I just remained silent…

So he said “look, I’m going to transfer your call to another representative, he’ll take care of you.

I thought “great… another freaking bank rep…

I said “thanks” and while I waited I received a second response from the store saying they did have a transaction with my card on their store, handed me the transaction details and asked if I could recognize anything there.

I replied I did not know the guy, the name or the address, I didn’t even know about that Sport Seasons store!

Bank Representative Goes Hero

By this time, we are all going back and forth on twitter and I’m so happy that this is definitely being taken care of by the two involved parties, my bank and the store. (well three actually, if I count myself as well)

The third bank representative finally answers and asks what’s the problem.

Only this time I didn’t want to wait nor keep myself brief so I told him to please let me speak first which he agreed with an “OK”.

“Okay listen up, I’m a Systems Engineer, I make a lot of purchases online and I am actually PARANOID about security, this is what actually happened…”

“I have an unauthorized payment for about $76.74 USD for the store Sport Seasons in the USA.”

“They have confirmed the transaction and are aware of this situation since they have been supporting me since I first contacted them.”

“Someone is definitely using my debit card and I would like to sort this as fast as possible”.

The bank representative asked a few details to confirm and said “not a problem sir, we’re going to fix this right away”.

They cancelled the plastic for no further payments, explained I’m receiving a new one in the next 7 days with a form I should fill and send back to them so they can file an investigation report and I can have the stolen money back in my bank account.

They also gave me a follow up # number case.

Social Media Can Help You Stop Credit Card Fraud

Many companies monitor what is being talked about them on social media channels because bad reputation means no sales and with no sales, you are out of business.

Just remember that Social Media has its strong place on our times and if used wisely, it can help you prevent or even stop credit card fraud.

A Big Thank You All!

I am very glad and grateful to everyone at Sport Seasons, Banamex and the people who supported me on twitter, phone and e-mail, because I actually thought of not doing anything else at many points of this little inferno I went through yesterday.

I am obviously not mentioning any names as these things are delicate matters but you know who you are, THANK YOU! ;-)

Sport Seasons: If I ever decide to buy Vibram’s running footwear, I’ll get them from your store as a thank you act, you guys really rocked!

A complete class-act.

Your Turn

Have you ever dealt with credit card fraud or identity theft before and how did you fix it or how do you prevent this?

Let me know in the comments area and thanks for reading!

Sergio

About The Author

Sergio Felix

Hi, I'm Sergio Felix, founder of Marketing With Sergio. I work full time as a digital marketing expert for the retail industry managing a team of experts in departments of SEO, SEM, front-end web development and conversion rate optimisation and in my spare time I love conducting offline digital marketing workshops and teaching other entrepreneurs how to build and maintain business oriented websites with WordPress. I'm highly passionate about blogging, writing, music, jogging, entrepreneurship and personal development.

19 Comments

  • Linda

    Reply Reply April 25, 2012

    UGH! So sorry this happened. You mentioned Paypal in the beginning – is that the card that was used?

    Yes, I have had this happen to me a long time ago. They were buying stuff at say $20, then $50, then $100 every day or so – of course I never checked online, but my bank probably wasn’t online then as it was like 15 years ago. Turns out stuff was being bought and shipped to an empty warehouse in HONG KONG!! I had a terrible time with it all and got the cops involved and you should probably too, although not sure how cops work down there in Mexico, but in this day in age it is required that you contact your local authorities so they can try to catch the person. The person was never caught because my detective couldn’t get paid to go to Hong Kong to investigate.

    I am really cautious these days, let me tell ya!

    I hope you can get your money back in a timely manner.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and I would have never thought to go to social media (actually this stuff wasn’t available back then – ha).

    Linda

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 25, 2012

      Hey Linda,

      Yeah, it was the same card I had in PayPal but it is no longer usable right now.

      Your experience was a lot scarier than mine, I would have flipped out if I saw all those different unauthorized payments!

      Were you able to get your money back?

      Getting the cops? Nah that definitely doesn’t works down here in Mexico. Besides the purchase was online for an American store and was supposed to be delivered in the USA as well.

      What I am wondering though, is what happens to the person doing the fraud? I don’t know if they just get blacklist from the store or if they actually go after them.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Hong Kong… wow, that’s a shocker!

  • Linda

    Reply Reply April 25, 2012

    Sergio,

    I was required to file a police report in order to get my money back – it took awhile but yes, I got it back.

    The purchases in my case were from GAP Online – and they couldn’t or should I say – refused to help me. I used to shop at Gap in the mall when I was a kid but never online and have never and will never shop there in my lifetime again due to their negligence. They didn’t give a damn!!

    The person, if caught will get arrested and thrown in jail (or I hope in jail) who knows how many other people he has done this to! You should trace back your steps and figure out when you last used your card and then search to see if that site has been attacked. Normally if it was, then you would or should have received an email from that store that you last shopped at letting you know.

    Or maybe you used it out in public, like a restaurant – then you know where to go to file a complaint.

    And yeah, Hong Kong was a shocker to me too :(

    Linda

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 25, 2012

      Hey Linda,

      Well I said so in the post:

      “…I’m receiving a new one [plastic] in the next 7 days with a form I should fill and send back to them so they can file an investigation report

      To trace back my credit card wouldn’t be of much help. I didn’t say this on the post but I bet I’m the most paranoid person about online security and plastic use in the world.

      I NEVER use ATMs, whenever I need to make a transaction I rather get inside the bank and wait to get the money directly from a bank cashier.

      When paying on restaurants or hotels, I normally pay in cash to avoid swiping my card, I don’t care if I don’t get benefits from using my other credit card.

      I’m THAT cautious. So I’ll just follow up on this and hope it all ends up happy. ;-)

      PS. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with GAP. I actually like that brand.

  • Daniel Sumner

    Reply Reply April 26, 2012

    Hey Sergio,

    Glad you got that sorted when you did. It has happened to me twice over the last three months. However my bank is awesome. They call me when there is an overseas transaction from my card no matter what it is. If its fraudulent, they return the money.

    Its a good job you got things moving on Twitter so early, and for the sports guys to reply. Good thinking. Times like that I just pick up the phone and rant away to the first person who picks up. I know its not their fault but I need to see results :-)

    Great info mate,

    Dan

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 26, 2012

      Hey Dan,

      Wow man, it has happened to you twice in three months? Dang… that’s scary.

      The bank rep who helped me and the person from the store both were calm and very helpful. I think I was the only one panicking LOL but apparently credit card fraud is very common.

      Glad to know your method works, next time I get an unknown/unauthorized payment, I’m calling immediately my bank.

      Thanks for sharing your experience mate, speak later! ;-)

  • Andrew Stark

    Reply Reply April 26, 2012

    My only fraudulent transactions happened when someone stole a new card that arrived in the post. The biggest issue was that it when on holiday in Australia, and getting through to UK banks during 9-5 whilst at the other side of the world is quite tricky and expensive from a payphone.

    Also I didn’t leave my flat very tidy, so when someone went to check if the whole flat had been robbed they couldn’t tell as it did look like it might have been ransacked.

    Anyway the police did catch the people as they were stupid and took cash back and were caught on CCTV. Bank refunded everything, and overall it does seem like they know how to deal with, as you say the difficult bit is getting through to the right person.

    Great use of twitter to show that a company is able to manage their support, I think they must have someone on staff who’s read some Gary Vaynerchuck.

    Andrew

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 28, 2012

      Hey Andrew,

      Glad they did get the felons in your case mate. I can’t even imagine getting robbed while on vacations, it definitely has to suck big time.

      PS. Great Vaynerchuck’s reference!

  • Morris

    Reply Reply April 26, 2012

    Sorry to hear. I’ve been there, done that. It great to be able to use what ever technology you have at hand to solve quickly. may it never happen again.
    Be well.

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 26, 2012

      Hey Morris,

      I will man and I really hope it doesn’t repeats again as well, take care and thanks for chiming in.

      PS. You have an insanely awesome one-word domain name man, congrats! (I’m dying to test out WooThemes Canvas as well)

  • Patrick Griffin

    Reply Reply April 29, 2012

    Hi Sergio.
    I can keep this comment really brief.
    This is probably the best blog post I have ever read on the use of social media to solve an urgent problem.
    I just couldn’t stop reading and was able to picture every twist and turn in these dramatic events.
    P.

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 29, 2012

      Hey Pat, Thank you man!

      It took me a while to put all of this up but after reading your comment I think it was well worth it.

      As a little update: Today I received an e-mail from my bank, I’m sending all the details tomorrow so they can get the stolen money back or something (I’m not sure how this works though).

      Have a great Sunday and speak soon mate, thanks for jumping in! ;-)

  • Jens P. Berget

    Reply Reply April 30, 2012

    Hi Sergio,

    Too bad that you had to experience this. It’s awesome that you got it fixed.

    I have experienced it one time, but it was very different. My wallet got stolen while I was on vacation in Spain. I could almost feel it got stolen, and realize that it had been stolen about 2 minutes after it happened. I called the bank and the credit card company and the insurance company and I felt I was talking to you “helpful” lady on each phone call. I got it sorted out, but it was more or less chaos for two days :)

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply April 30, 2012

      Hey Jens,

      I guess the only positive about this is that it happened while I wasn’t traveling so I had immediate access to everything such as phone numbers (no long distance calls), internet, social media, bank account details, etc.

      Took you two days to get your problem sorted out? Man that sucks but hopefully you were able to fix it in two days and good luck that you were able to find out you were robbed really fast.

      I was warned about pickpocketing while I was in crowded places such as the subway or airport/train terminals all over Europe (including Spain) but as I also lived in Mexico City for two years, nothing happened. LOL

      I normally wear my wallet in my front pant pockets in big cities. :P

      Thanks for sharing your story Jens and hope to speak soon again mate, take care. ;-)

  • Amy Turner

    Reply Reply May 1, 2012

    I have not yet (I hope I never) experienced that kind of torture you went through and this is a real eye opener to be vigilant at all times. It was real great for you to do something. others would have kept silent and keep worrying about that “unremembered” purchase. This will teach us to exhaust all means to get to the bottom of it, never mind the chaos and the stress. Happy for you that you sorted it out in the end.

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply May 1, 2012

      Hey Amy,

      Yeah it’s kind of a big deal and a bad one to get in trouble with credit card cloning or identity theft, I still don’t know where was the flaw with my debit card but I’ll be even more cautious from now on.

      Thanks for reading! ;-)

  • Joy

    Reply Reply October 12, 2012

    Sergio,

    I have no idea why we didn’t see this before today, but it has our entire staff smiling. We remember you! For someone experiencing credit card fraud, you were incredibly kind and gracious. If you do ever place an order with us, please let us know beforehand so we can hook you up with a discount.

    Glad this was resolved for you, and hope that you haven’t had any problems since.

    Thanks for the mention & take care,
    Joy

    • Sergio Félix

      Reply Reply October 12, 2012

      Hey Joy,

      Well I have no idea why you guys didn’t see this article before either but I’m very glad you found out about it and liked what I wrote here as well.

      Everyone at Sport Seasons was incredibly helpful, fast and kind as well when this happened and if you dealt with me like this online, I just can’t imagine how great it should be to buy directly from your store.

      You do have an awesome staff indeed!

      Thanks a million again and for the discount offer as well, have a great day and weekend Joy! ;-)

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