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Crime AT&T Cellphones Handhelds Privacy

AT&T To Use Phone Geolocation To Prevent Credit Card Fraud 228

Posted by timothy
from the so-be-good-for-goodness-sake dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Imagine you've spent years making credit card purchases in your home state of California, and suddenly a bunch of charges appear the card in Russia. Your bank might move to shut the card down for suspected fraud, which would be great if your account number had been stolen by hackers — but really irritating if you were on vacation in Moscow. AT&T is proposing a service that would allow customers to let their bank track their movements via their cell phone, to confirm that you (or at least your phone) and your credit card are in the same place."
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AT&T To Use Phone Geolocation To Prevent Credit Card Fraud

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  • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:51AM (#47172863)
    Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.
    • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:58AM (#47172933) Journal

      >Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.

      Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad.
      You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

        You've just described every business, not just banks. Well, at least the successful ones. They are all in it for their needs. Your needs only come into play only to the extent it's necessary for them to meet their needs.

        • You've just described every business, not just banks. Well, at least the successful ones. They are all in it for their needs. Your needs only come into play only to the extent it's necessary for them to meet their needs.

          And YOU'VE just described what my father explained to me, when I was small, is called "doing bad business". Sadly, many in the U.S. these days have seen these big corrupt corporations, and assumed things were always that way. They weren't. In fact they still aren't, in most cases, that don't involve giant corporations or government.

          "Good business" is when both people walk away from a transaction satisfied that they got a fair deal. And ideally, when each thinks they got the better deal.

          "Bad business"

          • Free market first of all depends on a free market. If you can still find one somewhere, please gimme a call so I know where to go.

            The only reason companies can get away with shoddy business practices like this is that the free market is a myth. In a free market, the BUYER would dictate what goods and services are offered simply because he'd only buy those that suit his needs. Now look around you and tell me that this is the case.

            • Free market first of all depends on a free market. If you can still find one somewhere, please gimme a call so I know where to go.

              Why are you paraphrasing what I already wrote? "I agree" would have been sufficient.

          • how quaint, you must have been born before the scourge of the MBA took over American business. (i totally agree with you, or your dad .. as it were.)

      • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:02PM (#47172999)

        Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad. You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

        I bank with B of A, and travel a few times a year to far away places. I've never had this issue. Perhaps you need to look into a different bank?

        • by mspohr (589790)

          I have a BofA credit card in California.
          I went to Seattle for the weekend and BofA blocked my credit card.
          BofA is terrible.
          I'm going to Europe in a few days. I called them to tell them I'm traveling. I don't have high expectations that they won't block my card again. I have other cards.

          • by perpenso (1613749)

            I have a BofA credit card in California. I went to Seattle for the weekend and BofA blocked my credit card. BofA is terrible. I'm going to Europe in a few days. I called them to tell them I'm traveling. I don't have high expectations that they won't block my card again. I have other cards.

            Don't know if it matters but I called the fraud related number on the statement ... good luck

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            I have a BofA credit card in California.
            I went to Seattle for the weekend and BofA blocked my credit card.
            BofA is terrible.
            I'm going to Europe in a few days. I called them to tell them I'm traveling. I don't have high expectations that they won't block my card again. I have other cards.

            The thing is, the blocking is automatic, but the unblocking is not.

            When you call your bank, what really happens usually is they make a note in your file "XXX is travelling to YYY between AA/BB/CC and DD/EE/FF".

            The fraud detec

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:03PM (#47173007)

        They do.

        Yours may not, or you talked to the wrong person, but its fairly common. Bank of America certainly does, as does Capital One. BoA emailed informing me I would be cut off within 24 hours if I didn't respond or answer when called, then called me once while in Vegas blowing money, after confirming with them that I was legitimately spending my money, I asked if I could avoid the problem in the future, so they don't cut me off if I DON'T get the call/email in time. The answer was simple, call us before going out of town at the number on the card, inform them of the trip and time period and they'll change their processing (but not stop it) so you won't be left stranded.

        AT&T does the same thing for phone calls, tell them you're leaving the country and don't want to be considered suspicious they'll note the time of the trip and give you a pass for that time, they also suggested I sign up for the 'world' plan for roaming for that month as it was something like $5, which was basically the cost of the per minute rate in that country for AT&T roaming if I wasn't on the plan but $1 or so on the plan. Just remember to cancel at the end of the trip.

        • by Nemyst (1383049)
          My bank even has an online system for sending a travel notice. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case for many other banks, look it up!
      • by perpenso (1613749)

        >Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.

        Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad. You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

        They need you to use your credit card to make the real money in fees, so their needs and your needs are aligned in this respect. Sounds more like a run of the mill screwup.

        FWIW I called the **fraud related** number on my statement a few days before the trip. Maybe that increases the chance of success.

      • by PRMan (959735)

        I had my main VISA card block me on Black Friday because "I was buying too much at once and it didn't fit my pattern." And I didn't answer my home phone number when they tried to call.

        And UNLIKE most people, I cancelled my card as soon as I got home and switched to another one. I put them on a 10-year ban. They went bankrupt and got bought by somebody else.

        I had another one block me from the Home Depot by my house where I spend at least $100 every 2 weeks or so (home ownership, ugh). They said, "We've h

        • A lot of people are starting to put their money in bitcoin so they can actually have some control over it for once.

          As a way to do fast person-to-person transaction, bitcoin protocole (and other crypto-coins) is a good idea (it's like cash transaction, but over the internet, although a bit slower. Or for EUropeans: it's like SEPA, direct payment without an intermediate, except that it's a bit faster).

          But please, unless you're a gambler DO NOT store money as BTC (nor any other crypto-currency): its value fluctuate too much (1 BTC is 500$, perhaps 10$ tomorrow or 1000$ the day after tomorrow) , also if you rely on an on-li

      • This. And when I managed to call, the agent said my prior call and travel notice were in the activity log . . . but somehow hadn't taken effect. The only funny part - the dinky little car rental agency had Skype set up for me to make the US call before I finished asking how I was going to do it. They wanted to make me happy and do business, unlike the banks who figure you have to do business with them whether you're happy or not.
      • by tomhath (637240)
        You need to find another bank.
      • Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad.

        Then tell them to go fuck themselves and switch to another bank.

        Mine (europe) not only support that, but its directly accessible from the e-banking web interface, so you can do it at any time conveniently and quickly.

      • by ewieling (90662)
        A number of years ago I informed my bank I would be traveling outside the country and which dates I would be gone. On the way to the airport I stopped at the ATM to take out money. It ate my card because I had not left yet. Thankfully, I was at a branch of my bank so they could give my card back immediatly. If I had been at another bank's ATM I'd have been screwed.

        Never, ever, ever, ever trust a bank to do the right thing.
    • by click2005 (921437) * on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:01PM (#47172983)

      A text whenever your credit card was used saying "Card with number ending in xxxx was used in location yyyy, if this was a fraudulent charge reply to this text" would work just as well without the privacy issue of tracking locations.

      • You understood the problem, but not how that problem is the feature from the AT&T perspective...

      • Except that is a great segue into a scam.

        - The last four digits of your card are pretty easy to get - they are typically printed out on paper / transmitted in the clear.
        - If they have your email (not hard), and they can get you to respond to your message, then they try to have you give them the rest of the card number (for security) and, for even more 'security' your PIN number and
        - Profit!

        • by click2005 (921437) *

          Except that is a great segue into a scam.

          - The last four digits of your card are pretty easy to get - they are typically printed out on paper / transmitted in the clear.
          - If they have your email (not hard), and they can get you to respond to your message, then they try to have you give them the rest of the card number (for security) and, for even more 'security' your PIN number and
          - Profit!

          Seriously? Are you stupid enough to give out your PIN ever? If the person is giving this out, no amount of security is going to help.
          There are any number of ways that the CC company could verify the authenticity, the last 4 digits was purely to identify the card.

      • A text whenever your credit card was used saying "Card with number ending in xxxx was used in location yyyy, if this was a fraudulent charge reply to this text" would work just as well without the privacy issue of tracking locations.

        As currently done by several other banks.
        (I'm in europe)

      • by Sarius64 (880298)
        Except when you're at the back of the main Navy Exchange and the damn cell phone signal cannot reach you.
      • by Headrick (25371)

        A text whenever your credit card was used saying "Card with number ending in xxxx was used in location yyyy, if this was a fraudulent charge reply to this text" would work just as well without the privacy issue of tracking locations.

        My Chase VISA did exactly this while my girlfriend was buying some furniture using her copy of the card. It's the only time this has happened but it was the first expensive purchase she made. She was on her laptop next to me at the time so I immediately replied "YES" or "OK" and then the transaction went through.

    • True story...

      About 8 years ago I was going to Europe, so the day before I leave I call up my credit card company to let them know to expect to see a lot of charges from abroad. The account rep tells me that I would not be able to use my card because they had just sent me a new card and the old card had been deactivated. I was to expect the new card to arrive in 3 or 4 days. "Well great," I sez, "but I'm going to be in Europe, so I won't have the new card. Why did you deactivate the old card and send me

      • by perpenso (1613749)

        About 8 years ... they were just replacing people's cards for the hell of it ...

        Did the number change? I got an unexpected card replacement around then too and noticed the number had changed. I assumed there was a security breach somewhere and it was being handled quietly,

        • It could be that, if it wasn't recent, the CC companies were way less than forthcoming about breaches. It also would have been a good idea to call the company more than a day before a major trip.
      • by PRMan (959735) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:47PM (#47173431)
        ALWAYS have 3 credit cards from 3 different banks. (Preferably VISA, MC and either Discover or AMEX). Diversification is the only way to win.
  • by Marrow (195242) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:56AM (#47172913)

    Everybody has a website these days. Just let us pick the regions where we will allow transactions to take place. If we are going on vacation, we can light up Russia or Antartica. Then we can turn it off again as soon as we get back. Seems like it would take very little effort on their part to setup.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      They don't take credit in Antartica, only a specific debt card at the research stations and the military debt card at the military bases.

  • Buying a new phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:56AM (#47172919) Journal

    You're screwed if you break your phone and then go to the store to buy a replacement.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:05PM (#47173037)

    In Soviet Russia, credit card charge YOU!

  • by volvox_voxel (2752469) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:22PM (#47173237)

    BOA did this to me a few years ago.. I'd make some purchases before traveling abroad only to have my card shut off when I was in Ukraine.. You have to warn them of your travel plans, as there is a very real chance you will be cut off from your funds. This happened to my wife, and it happened to me. It pays to call customer service. BOA has been pretty draconian to us in the past.. It once even shut off my card because I bought too much food at my local supermarket.. Card service providers mentioned that it was above my normal trend for supermarket purchases ( I have excellent credit, and am not sure why they were so skittish; I have no history of fraudulent transactions) ... We had a screaming infant with us at the time, and had to call customer service with a large basket of food we couldn't walk out with, who would have otherwise been fine if we didn't have to wait so long on the phone..

    These days I'm careful to carry around more than one credit card in case I run into a similar issue..

    • BOA did this to me a few years ago.. I'd make some purchases before traveling abroad only to have my card shut off when I was in Ukraine.

      Well, Mr. Putin - maybe NEXT TIME you'll think before you invade another country!

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Why don't you just get a different credit card and drop the people who are treating you badly?
  • Shopping on the Internet is quick and convenient, and international. Using a credit card, charges appear as if you had made a purchase from wherever their merchant account lists as their address. In general, your location (as provided by your IP address) is not taken into account. This has already caused me problems with an overzealous bank that doesn't believe I would be shopping in Germany or Japan. Now if they can see that I'm obviously still in the US (via my cellphone), well then.

  • This seems really dumb to me. Having your bank track your whereabouts seems like a bad trade-off. How about we just fix the credit card system instead?

    Like how about we use a private key encryption scheme instead of a credit card number in order to pay? If you want to have cell phones involved, they would make an easy method of storing and accessing the key, providing a digital signature when needed. Doing that would actually provide a huge improvement in security, and do so without having my bank cons

    • You're still working under the assumption that anyone wants to make CCs more secure, not get more information about you to sell.

  • Push payments? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:50PM (#47173455) Homepage

    If they're going to track your cel phone, that means they're assuming you have your cel phone on you. So why not send the authorization code to your cel phone and let you give it to the merchant? That way it doesn't matter if the card's stolen, the merchant can't get an auth code if you aren't present with your phone. Or better yet, have an app that'll let you punch in the merchant's ID and transaction number and initiate the payment from your end, rather than having the merchant handle your card? That makes stealing the card pointless, because just having the card isn't enough to let you make a charge.

  • I have never understood this problem. Let me opt in and out of purchases outside my country... or even my state. The code would be trivial. Let me log into my CC admin page and check off where I can use the card. It's that simple.

  • I'm not sure how that would help, then, given that most people in the US are using US carriers that would totally not work outside of North America... and most of the rest are still using a US carrier, that would absolutely ream them a new one in roaming charges (i.e. AT&T - which I suppose is why it's AT&T who wants to implement this, so they can trick people into letting them get reamed with roaming charges?)

  • My old smart phone holster wore out recently, so I bought a new one. This one has a convenient extra pocket for credit cards and other forms of ID. It seems to me that putting your ID, credit cards, and your phone all in one conveniently stealable container might not be the brightest thing to do. All it needs is a key ring...

  • 1. This is why I call my bank(s) before I go to .
    2. I always buy another phone in the other country and get prepaid minutes so I never worry about some insane data roaming overcharge surprise.

    Is this really that hard for people to do?

  • It's often the opposite to what's in the summary.

    I've travelled in many countries, and the alarms so far were raised overwhelmingly when card transactions were made in USA.

    Bank usually calls when the card has been used in USA, as card security in that country is a big fail - no PIN, just signature that nobody can check. Clerks request and pretend to check your ID for name match, but since they know nothing about non-USA IDs, any fraudulent user can show them any bit of plastic with name matching that on car

  • by dhaen (892570)
    Or they could just phone you.
  • The fraud prevention systems built into bank credit cards are largely to protect them, not you. More often than not a bank will refund funds that occurred from fraudulent activity (a good thing) but are overly aggressive in trying to mitigate the issue (i.e. traveling == suspected use). I've had my card shutdown *many* times while traveling. I have had to call and waste my time as well as their customer service's time to get it turned back on. I always ask to have fraud prevention turned off - which the

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