Sometimes it is the things you don’t think will get you that get you. Make sense?
Recently I was sitting in a restaurant, with Detective Sandy, having a nice lunch. We were very low key. I was down to four guns on me and she was around the same number. We could, in a pinch, hold off the majority of an invasion by Canada, if need be, but for now, it was a quiet lunch.
You know those guys who have that naturally loud and very irritating pitch to their voice? They could be having a conversation on the other side of a football field but you could hear every word. Well, one of those guys sat down no closer than 20 feet away from us. The whole time he was ordering and waiting for food, he was on his cell phone and did not stop talking for one minute. I tried to tune him out but it did no good.
I finally gave up and just tried to enjoy my lunch. A few seconds later I heard him, still 20 feet away, order a gift — a book or something — with his credit card. No kidding, he read aloud — and aloud meaning we could all hear him — his credit card number and security number (those three little digits) as well as his expiration date. Since he was blasting it out loud, I wrote the numbers down on the back of one of my business cards.
Right there and then I had all the buying power his credit limit could take and all I had to do was pick up the phone. I looked at the numbers and then asked Detective Sandy if she wanted to buy something like a Mazda or some jet skies. But she had already gone back to the salad bar for some alphalpha sprouts, so I just sat there questioning my honesty.
I am an honest person. My motivation isn’t that I believe in goodness and we should all be honest and loving and all that crap, but instead the simple fact that I’m the dumb jerk who’s gonna get caught. I’m too lazy to take a chance, so I don’t.
Honestly, though, the older I get, the more compassion I have for people, especially dumb ones like this overbearing, nasal-sounding bozo who had no clue that he was begging to make someone’s day —but giving them his credit card carte blanche!
I tore up the business card into little pieces and we left.
Lucky guy. This is the time of year when the varsity comes out to steal from you. They watch and listen and it really doesn’t take much to grab some numbers off your card. The fact that you use it automatically puts you at some risk, but try to limit the access.
For example, shoulder-surfing is simple. The crook waits in the checkout line with a 50-cent pack of gum and hopes the person ahead of him or her is writing a check. If the crook’s memory is good, he’s in business — just copy down the account and routing number from the check. That, along with the name and some check paper, puts these folks in business.
There are easier ways to grab your sensitive numbers, but the moral of the story is that they do work at it and they are pretty good at it, so don’t make it easy. Credit cards are the best things to use during the holiday season because you have recourse if you’re victimized. You can dispute credit card charges and limit what the crooks can do once you find out they compromised your numbers.
Don’t forget: They don’t need the card, only the numbers. So read those post-holiday statements closely.