Watch credit card statements

By James Sibley
This item appears on page 24 of the March 2020 issue.
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About to join a cruise-tour in Greece, on Oct. 1, 2019, I had lunch at a taverna on Adrianou Street in the Monastiraki area of Athens. The restaurant was in a row of similar tavernas located nearly opposite the entrance to the Ancient Agora.

When the waiter brought the bill, I gave him my USAA Federal Savings Bank Visa credit card, and he went to the back of the restaurant to process the transaction. He returned a few minutes later with a wireless card reader and tried to process the charge. After several minutes, he told me that he could not pick up an internet signal. Therefore, I paid with euros.

After returning home, I checked my Visa account only to discover that a 4,200 charge had been made to a “travel agency” with my card. I immediately reported this fraudulent transaction to my bank.

It took two months for the bank to determine that the charge was fraudulent. I did not receive any documentation from the bank’s investigation, just a voice-mail message stating that the investigation had concluded and that the temporary credit (in the amount of the fraudulent charge) would now be a permanent credit.

I did learn from the bank that the fraudulent charge had been submitted on Oct. 1 at 2:02 p.m. I had given the waiter my credit card at 2 p.m., and he returned to the table at 2:05 to try to submit the charge via his handheld device (unsuccessfully, he claimed).

I was not required to enter a PIN during any of the dozen or so times I used my Visa card while in Greece. (Even though my card had a PIN and I changed it just before the trip, I was told by a bank representative, during their investigation, that they don’t use PINs anymore.*) Nor do I recall signing any charge slips. The merchant would always just take my card, insert it into a mobile card reader, and a charge slip would be printed a few moments later.

I don’t know that I could have done anything differently to avoid the fraudulent charge. I was on vacation and used my Visa card just like I use it in the US. I’m glad that I checked my Visa account charges promptly after returning home.

JAMES SIBLEY

Spring, TX

*Most credit cards issued in the US are chip-and-signature cards. No PINs are assigned to them, and in most transactions (as online), signatures are not even requested.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

About to join a cruise-tour in Greece, on Oct. 1, 2019, I had lunch at a taverna on Adrianou Street in the Monastiraki area of Athens. The restaurant was in a row of similar tavernas located nearly opposite the entrance to the Ancient Agora.

When the waiter brought the bill, I gave him my USAA Federal Savings Bank Visa credit card, and he went to the back of the restaurant to process the transaction. He returned a few minutes later with a wireless card reader and tried to process the charge. After several minutes, he told me that he could not pick up an internet signal. Therefore, I paid with euros.

After returning home, I checked my Visa account only to discover that a 4,200 charge had been made to a “travel agency” with my card. I immediately reported this fraudulent transaction to my bank.

It took two months for the bank to determine that the charge was fraudulent. I did not receive any documentation from the bank’s investigation, just a voice-mail message stating that the investigation had concluded and that the temporary credit (in the amount of the fraudulent charge) would now be a permanent credit.

I did learn from the bank that the fraudulent charge had been submitted on Oct. 1 at 2:02 p.m. I had given the waiter my credit card at 2 p.m., and he returned to the table at 2:05 to try to submit the charge via his handheld device (unsuccessfully, he claimed).

I was not required to enter a PIN during any of the dozen or so times I used my Visa card while in Greece. (Even though my card had a PIN and I changed it just before the trip, I was told by a bank representative, during their investigation, that they don’t use PINs anymore.*) Nor do I recall signing any charge slips. The merchant would always just take my card, insert it into a mobile card reader, and a charge slip would be printed a few moments later.

I don’t know that I could have done anything differently to avoid the fraudulent charge. I was on vacation and used my Visa card just like I use it in the US. I’m glad that I checked my Visa account charges promptly after returning home.

JAMES SIBLEY

Spring, TX

*Most credit cards issued in the US are chip-and-signature cards. No PINs are assigned to them, and in most transactions (as online), signatures are not even requested.