Burning Credit Card by Frankie Leon

Last week my phone exchange was hit by a series of calls spoofed claiming to be from our local electric service with threatening notices of shutoffs if they were not paid that instant.

They were using some low tech info skimmed from the web, but enough info that they generally figured out the name of the person they were calling and business in the event they were scamming a business.

As it stands, when you get a scammer call you can annoy them, but you can’t really fight them unless you want to immediately call your carrier, your credit card company, and start a fight that will involve a police report being taken.

The police will be out within the next six hours, you’ve been scammed, you wait for the police report to be filed, pick up a copy of it, send it to your credit card company, fraud investigation begins, and a month later you’ve got whatever the scammers stole from you and they’ve blown through your credit limit. Chances are they’re not getting caught.

You’ve had to change your auto draft settings, get a new card, possibly bounce a payment or two due to the freeze/maxed card.

The same with skimmers. You can fight, but it’s after the fact. What if you had a card that did this for you?

An explosive credit card

I’ve got two ideas on this – the first is a card number that charges correctly but immediately launches an investigation, and the other is a card you only use at predetermined destinations and the instant it’s processed in a wrong location the information is related to police. EG a gas card that when skimmed becomes a trap for criminals trying to use it at Walmart.

A 2011 piece on Forbes claimed fraud was about a $190 billion a year problem in the US where banks were losing $11 billion, customers $4.8 billion, and merchants presumably $174.2 billion.

Who paid for this? You did, to the tune of paying about $633 extra a year in interest, increased prices at the register, etc.

It’s an absurdly profitable crime, but it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve got cards that can be frozen, shut off, why not a card that launches a police response or shuts down a fake call center’s ability to process cards immediately?

Maybe not everyone gets an explosive card they can deal to shut down scammers, but maybe 7% of people who want them could answer the scams with a card number that shuts down a place, or a person using the number.