Hi all. My partner’s debit card got cancelled today because of some suspected fraud charges and it reminded me of one of my most memorable calls at the bank I used to work for.
Prelude: It was 2012. A few months after Facebook went public and was now a listed company on the NY Stock Exchange. I remember the time well because it honestly seemed like you couldn’t go a day without a dozen news items about how much money Facebook was now worth.
Now onto the story. Stacy (not real name) called because her platinum credit card was declining and she was puzzled as she had only just raised her limit to $30k. After POI, I tell her that the reason the card was declining was because she had maxed out her limit. Stacy frantically asked me to tell her the most recent transactions.
I start rattling off benign sounding business names for a few thousand here, a few thousand there. She is not recognising any of the transactions. Suspiciously all of the transactions have occurred in the last 5 days from businesses all over the world.
Stacy is adamant that she is a victim of fraud. I agree it appeared that way.
So I start our fraud investigation protocol. If you’ve ever worked bank, you know there’s a list of questions you ask to narrow down how the fraud could’ve occurred to help the fraud department recover the funds/protect other customers. Questions like “have you used your card at a business recently that you haven’t before?”, “have you given access to your card to anyone else?”, “have you gotten any suspicious emails recently?”, “have you recently had any computer viruses?” Etc.
Stacy is answering, “no, no, no” to every question, then I ask “have you responded to any business opportunities or free product offers recently?”. Bingo we hit a “yes”.
“What did you respond to?”
Stacy said “well, it’s not free but I didn’t have to pay anything upfront…”
She goes on to explain that she saw an ad on Facebook offering $1k of shares for a select number of users who have been long term Facebook members. They, “Facebook”, were giving it away as a reward, but so that “Facebook” isn’t disadvantaged, she had to supply her credit card details to them so that if/when she sold the shares in the future, they’d charge a 10% fee on the profit of the shares. She thought this sounded like an amazing offer.
She provided her full card number, name on the card, expiry date, CVC, her DOB and other personal information.
I then had to explain to Stacy that she had responded to a scam and per her credit card terms and conditions she had “actively participated” in her own defrauding. As such the bank would not waive the charges. She was on the hook for the full $30k. I felt absolutely horrible for her, she was understandably in hysterics.
I cancelled her card and ordered a replacement, added extra security questions to her account and submitted chargeback requests on the charges in hopes that the receiving bank would reverse the transactions, but I never saw a fraud charge reversed.
I don’t know what happened after that, I kind of hope she was able to negotiate a reduction or waiver with the bank, but I doubt it.