I’m always a bit, admittedly, taken aback when I hear someone resisting e-commerce for fear of what could happen when they enter their credit card online. My general response usually includes a reminder of the days when carbon imprints used to be made of credit cards for each physical-world transaction.
While there are many clever ways that cyber thieves can steal an individual’s identity online, it’s easy to forget that old fashioned bricks-and-mortar credit card exchanges are as (if not more) risk-fraught.
I was reminded of this while in NYC earlier this week when, starting at around 5am Tuesday morning, my debit card # was being used for purchases I did not make in the suburbs of New York City. While I still physically had my card, somehow someone stole my information. The only two times I used it between when I arrived in NYC and before it was compromised was in a cab ride and when I checked into my hotel Monday evening.
Fortunately I noticed the theft before too many purchases were made (unlike when this also happened to me 7 years ago) – what clued me in was when I saw transactions from Burger King and McDonalds. It’s kind of funny actually as for those that know me well, will understand ;-)
The issue here isn’t a debate of e-commerce vs. “traditional” commerce, it’s about basic credit card safeguards regardless of the channel it’s transacted in. I’m baffled by how my debit card could have been used by someone who didn’t physically possess my card to make “in-store” purchases at a gas station, a grocery store, and two fast food restaurants. But it was…and quite easily at that.