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Credit card info thievery in Europe, is it really that common?

Credit card info thievery in Europe, is it really that common?

Jul 2nd, 2008, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 107
Since so many offers for credit cards, store charge cards, etc. come in the mail with a facsilmile card, I am in the habit of keeping them. When it's time to travel I take a few along. I put a fake card in my pocket for a pick pocket and one in my pocketbook to hand over to a thief. They will not take the time to check out the information on the card. This tactic may just help.
Oisa is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
I think it's really hard to avoid CC snafus while traveling. I've called my CC companies and banks before I've left, and had that work out perfectly. And I've called before I've left, and had them flag my card too.

Apparently, the Innsbruck train station (Hauptbahnof)is apparently a hot bed for credit card thievery and suspicious activity, and my bank card was flagged there after trying to use the ATM. Just a word of caution for anyone traveling through there

I would always error on the side of calling and telling them where you're going. And be sure to take receipts with you when you leave European restaurants. They often print your entire credit card number on the receipts, instead of the last four digits, which is customary in the U.S.
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 374
I have had my cc# stolen in Paris. I still don't know how as I never handed my card over to anyone. I have heard that they can retrieve the number easily from the card reader which is the only way I can think of for it to happen. $1500 was stolen, luckily my bank covered it.
chevre is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
If a thief can get the first few digits correct (and that's pretty easy), the rest are a one-in-ten shot. So if someone knew that AT&T's cards start with 4784, they could pick eleven random digits and start going through 0 through 9, e.g.,

4784 1234 1234 1230
4784 1234 1234 1231
4784 1234 1234 1232
4784 1234 1234 1233
4784 1234 1234 1234
4784 1234 1234 1235

The sixteenth digit is a Luhn algorithm check digit. There are only ten possibilities.

Robespierre is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,373
It's probably surprising it doesn't happen more often that someone just doesn't try a bunch of random numbers online to get a good card. After all, a lot of online websites don't ask for the security code, and while they usually ask for the expiration date (Cap One didn't mention that part of the event, whether the sites they used didn't require that or they had it correct).

However, I thought CCs did have the first four digits fairly standard by issuer, so if you knew one from anywhere, even had one yourself, you could start guessing the other numbers, as it really lowers the number of digits that vary. Someone committing fraud wouldn't care if it were AT&T, Capitol One or whoever. Maybe it varies a little, I don't know, all I know is the first four digits on my Capitol One cards (and I've had three over the years) have always been the same.

Actually, I just checked one of the websites Cap One said they were trying to use (St Vicent de Paul Society charity), and they do require the security code and the expiration date. So either someone did get that information from somewhere I used the card (or an online form) or they got them wrong and that is what triggered the query to Cap One to approve the charges.
Christina is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522

Not that simple to guess...
a 9 digit account number
will yield 1 billion combinations...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  

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