Is Your Credit Card Safe?

If you have your credit card handy, here is something that really worries me, and I sure didn’t know: Call the 800 number on the back of your card, enter your credit card number, and you can click 1 or click 4 or whatever prompt to get your balance. But, with some card issuers, there may be no point in there where you need to enter your PIN number! In other words, anyone who has your credit card number can get your balance inside of ten seconds – they don’t even need your card!

The first four digits of your card number identify the bank. So if your card starts with 4535, it’s from Scotiabank. If it’s 4510, it’s the Royal Bank. And if you have a Scotia Visa card, there is no need to identify yourself to get the balance. Never mind what fraudsters can do with it, isn’t there something seriously wrong with that? By the way, American Express does make you enter your PIN number, Royal asks for the last four digits of your home phone number, and Capital One MasterCard asks for your date of birth to assure it’s really you.

I get about 10 to 20 credit card payments a month. Should I be able to access those clients’ balances? I can’t get their credit bureau report and calling their credit card issuer won’t get me anywhere. But I can get their balance? There’s something very wrong here, especially now that almost every cardholder has a chip card that does come with a PIN number already!

Unfortunately, the Federal Privacy Commission has chosen not to respond to my SOS inquiry over the last eight days. However, this matter is worth pursuing: Next stop is the Federal Finance Minister’s office. Stay tuned…

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