In less than a month, three people I personally know reported unauthorized use of their credit cards. Two were the actual owners of the cards. In the third case, it was my friend’s husband’s credit card that was fraudulently used.
All three had their cards with them all the time. The cards were not lost or misplaced. But they remembered transactions that took a very long time to process.
The cashiers who handled the purchases did not seem to know what had to be done, and had to bring the cards somewhere else. They and the cards were out of sight of the owners for a considerable time.
In the case of the two victims, the bank that issued their cards reversed the charges as soon as the cardholders complained, and it was verified that fraud was committed. The third victim is having difficulty making his bank understand that he could not have made the purchases charged to him.
These incidents should serve as a warning to everyone. Despite efforts to keep credit cards secure, felons always find a way to get around those security measures. Modern technology, after all, is available to anyone who is interested.
While banks use it to protect their clients, felons employ it to get around whatever safety measures are adopted.
The incidents also provide one very important lesson: always have with you the phone your bank or credit card issuer is supposed to call. More and more banks now call or send text messages to clients when expensive purchases are made using their credit cards.
This alerts cardholders immediately to unauthorized use. One of the recent victims only found out when she got home that the bank had sent several messages. The other one immediately contacted his bank as soon as he got the message that he had “used” his card in an establishment he had not visited even once.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I was unable to avail myself of the reward for using my BPI Express credit card because the tape receipt I had was no longer readable.
I just got a letter from Katherine Patricia C. Llamas, retail-omnibus and category management head, BPI Cards marketing and sales, with suggestions on what can be done in those circumstances.
Cardholders can ask BPI by e-mail ([email protected]) or by calling its hotline, 89-100, to certify unreadable charge slips. They have to provide transaction details (card number, transaction date and amount) “and a scanned copy of the faded charge slip to help (the bank) verify your redemption eligibility.”
A certification will then be sent to the clients’ e-mail addresses.
Llamas pointed out that the mechanics of reward programs require that charge slips be readable at the time of redemption to enable partner establishments to check their eligibility.
Laundry ‘time manager’
Electrolux has just released its new Time Manager washing machine and dryer series, which is supposed to make doing the laundry less stressful. Instead of fixed washing cycles, the new machines let the user “customize” how laundry should be done for better results.
The Time Manager, Electrolux explained, offer up to four time options that the user can choose from, depending on how dirty the laundry is.
Another useful feature of the new series is the Load Sensor, which would alert the user if the load had exceeded the machine’s capacity. It will also indicate if there is enough detergent or if the machine is set to the correct wash cycle.
A refresh program uses vapor action to relax fibers and steam out wrinkles in clothes, making ironing unnecessary for most clothes, which will significantly cut down electric consumption.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected].