Credit card breaches seem on the increase

My **** credit card was compromised when someone “skimmed” the information on the magnetic strip. On March 28, someone used that information to make an $800 purchase at an electronics store in Greenville, S.C.

My bank caught that, cancelled the card, refunded the bogus credit, and issued me a new card.

The new card was compromised less than three weeks later. Someone made a $1.50 purchase at a vending machine in Sioux Falls, S.D. My bank caught the bogus charge and cancelled the card.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that while waiting for a replacement card, I had to pay cash-in-advance to buy gasoline. (If only all of our problems were that small!)

The latest breach occurred on the same day (Friday, April 18) that National Public Radio was covering a data breach at a popular hobby-arts-and-crafts store.

This was only a couple of weeks after one of Obama’s minions was testifying before Congress, demanding more power to force large companies to disclose data breaches, and demanding more power to punish those which did not.

Sounds a lot like Tim Allen: “more power!” Such is the shibboleth of the Obama administration.

Perhaps it is appropriate that companies which have been the subjects of data breaches be required to notify persons affected and reimburse damages incurred by victims.

What is of greater concern, in my opinion, is the number of individual data breaches of which I’ve become aware.

Please understand that I do not approve the use of anecdotes as evidence and that the plural of anecdote is not data, although that seems to be what drives most of our political system. However, all I can offer at the moment is anecdotal evidence.

First, my credit card was breached twice in less than a month. Second, the only two people in whom I confided also reported having experienced the same problem in recent months. One reported that his credit card was breached for a second time in less than three days.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” That’s an aphorism, and as unjustified as a basis of rational thought as are anecdotes. Still, anecdotes and aphorisms are often the fuel for greater fires and may point to a need for inquiry.

Have you had a similar experience? Has your credit card been breached? (And how do you know? How often do you look at your statement of charges, online?)

What can we do to protect ourselves? Inquiring minds (at least, this one) want to know. Is there a way for citizens to come together to address this matter without facing libel charges from vendors and credit card issuers?

Is this important? You bet it is. Future customers of the electronics store in South Carolina, or of the store’s bank, are going to pay the $800; we all, ultimately, pay for credit card fraud.

Paul Lentz
Peachtree City, Ga.

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