Credit card hackers in the news; but you won’t get my money

Bill Gephardt is a consumer advocate, founder and operator of Get Gephardt Approved Dot Com, and St. George News columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.

OPINION – It has happened again…and it’s in the news again, and it’s another reason why I, personally, never use my debit card, and always use my credit card.

Some unknown person or group has once again stolen the credit card or debit card information from one-and-a-half million of us. There’s a one in six chance, they tell us, that the crook is going to begin using our cards to buy stuff and steal money!!

It’s hackers, again.

Despite the ongoing assurances that our information is under lock and key, super-duper tight security, once again, as we hear several times a year, hackers have been able to get around the security to steal our credit and debit card information.

This time, it’s a breach at a company called “Global Payments” in Atlanta. Global Payments is a company which processes credit and debit card information for our banks. In order to do that, our banks give all of our information to them.

And now they’ve been hacked. In just the past year, I read, security at Citigroup, N.P.R., Google, Playstation Network and the International Monetary Fund has been compromised.

Bill Gephardt | Photo by, Bry Cox, courtesy of Bill Gephardt

Here’s the thing: My personal identity has been stolen five times in my life. The latest I found in my  credit card statement. The statement said  that I booked and took about $8,000 worth of flights around Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. I’ve never been there.

When the statement came, I contacted the credit card company and told them. They sent me a form so I could swear it wasn’t me. A month or so later, after we exchanged some more forms and phone calls, it was cleared up.

But it was my credit card that was breached.

Imagine if it was my debit card.

Since it was my credit card, they could take as long as they wanted to straighten it out. I certainly wasn’t going to pay any of the bill. Oh, and what happened to the $8,000?  It appears that crooks took the flights. They  stepped off the planes in the Middle East, and nobody is even trying to catch them and prosecute them.

Who suffers the loss?  The airline -– just like any business that takes a credit or debit card which was stolen. It’s called a chargeback. The business has to eat the loss, while the thief goes free. The actual credit or debit cardholder gets the loss credited back to the account.

And … the credit companies have, by law…60 days to do it. 60 days?

Well, it’s a good thing they stole from my credit card and not my debit card. With the theft coming from my credit card, they could take as long as they wanted, I suppose, to credit that back. I’m not going to pay the bill, and I’m not going to use that particular card until everything is cleared up.

But what if it had been my “debit” card?

That would mean that I would be out $8,000 of my actual hard earned money and not just my credit. I couldn’t use that money while various banking officials fooled around investigating for up to 60 days.

That means, I couldn’t pay my bills.

Imagine this scenario: You walk up to your landlord and say, “I’ll pay the thousand dollars rent very soon, sir. But you see, I had my debit card compromised, and I’ll be getting the money within 60 days, I promise. And, Mr. landlord, don’t charge me any late fees. It wasn’t my fault. I’m a victim of theft, sir.”

How do you think that will go over?

And then there’s the electric bill, and the gas bill, and groceries, and on and on and on … all because somebody hacked into your debit card.

And, don’t be writing checks against that account that was hacked or you can expect fees, upon fees, upon fees for each overdraft check your write.

So there it is – it’s in the news again; some computer genius thief has hacked into Global Payments, and stolen our information.

Maybe in a few weeks I’ll get a statement that says someone has stolen a few thousand from me.

The good news is that it will only come from my credit card … not my debit card … because I don’t have, and never use a debit card.

I only use a credit card.If I’ve been hacked, take your time getting my “credit” back to me, you’ll never get my money..

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Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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