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No One is Immune from Credit Card Fraud, Not even the Chief Justice

posted by Nathalie Martin

Wow. Credit card fraud really can happen to anyone, as the Washington Post's Al Kamen reported this afternoon.  Apparently U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had his credit card number stolen and had to pay cash for his morning Starbucks.

This story raises so many questions.  First, how many credit cards does Justice Roberts carry?  Could it be that he carries just one? Second, what type of card was it? Third, where was it compromised? Fourth, how much hutzpah does this thief have? Did the thief not know who he or she was dealing with?  Finally, I wonder if this event might bear on future consumer law cases before the court. One thing is clear. Even important people have to watch thier backs.


He uses a credit card for a cup of coffee?

Mark, if you watch the line at Starbucks for fifteen minutes you'll see that probably 90% of people pay with plastic... as do I...

As a demonstration of how ridiculously weak our credit and signature debit card security systems are, I made a purchase at a DC Starbucks a couple of years ago using the card of a friend. The card even carried my friend's photo: tall, African-American with glasses and hair. Impossible to mistake for me. We enjoyed the coffee. It's really inexcusable that our card issuers persist with single-factor identification, when it is so easy to go to two-factor identification with PINs. PINs aren't failsafe, but two factors of ID is a lot better than one.

I doubt the thief knew it was the Chief Justice's card -- more likely it was a card number with enough information to use the card online or make a fake card.

I learned decades ago that 99% of the banking system runs on trust. Banks depend on customers to report problems and appear to expect a certain level of writeoffs due to fraud or error. A few years ago I ran across a conference dealing with credit card debt (I think from a link in this blog, but am not sure). It reported something like 5% fraud losses and referred to them as acceptable.

Poor guy. Though in related credit card news, massive surcharges may become very commonplace very soon - http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=1YSVQ2YWX6V5&preview=article&linkid=84080866-743e-4807-8301-46899997097b&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d. You know, in case your life didn't suck enough already.

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