Is credit card fraud off the charts?
January 15, 2013

As I just read Elizabeth Dosoretz's Huffingtonpost commentary, "How Credit Card Fraud Shed A Light on My Spending," I thought to myself, how cutesy, but not the point. The extend to which credit card fraud has become a problem is to me off-the-wall scary. I apparently was the lucky one recently when I got a communication from my credit card company notifying me that charges had been made in person in another state at the same time that I had used the card at home. No, I had to admit, that I wasn't in two places at the same time and thanks to government regulations I was relieved that I did not have to cover the illegal charges, but wait, won't I eventually have to pay more for what I purchase to cover merchant losses?.

Well, after discovering that my daughter's card had been compromised and that at least a dozen of her co-workers in Springfield had been victims, I was not totally taken aback when I received a phone call from a friend who lives in Joplin. His debit card account had been hacked by someone attempting to make purchases in, get this, Spain.

An article by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News Business, "Bad guys are getting better at credit card fraud" reveals that Bank of America was ranked tops in 2012 for fraud prevention, detection and resolution. That may be because they were hit hard and had to do more than just detecting that the card was compromised.

A person from the fraud department of my credit card company sent me a note on a small piece of paper (happy that the card company was being green) informing me of what his investigation had discovered. H-m-m, I thought, what could it have discovered? He asked me no questions. He was telling me that based on the information he had, my case had been closed. What?

So, who pays the bills? While the credit card company does the investigating, the merchant appears to be stuck with loss of payment. That doesn't sound like too much incentive. I am shocked to read that credit card fraud, according to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research, is up 87% since 2010, resulting in a total loss of $6 billion. With all the folks I've recently discovered to have had their credit cards compromised, I think that the research results may be negatively skewed.


Sometimes it's just not easy remaining upbeat. I always get gripped when I read that a public utility company heads the list of donors for one thing or another. Not that the non-profits aren't worthy of donations--in this case the Missouri Humanities Council that lost most of its state and federal funding.

A "public utility," according to the most easily accessible Internet Thesaurus is defined as "a company or agency that performs a public service....." While it is also defined as being "subject to government regulation," we all know that in the case of rate hikes public utility commissioners rubber stamp company requests even if a zillion people without options and already seriously shrunken pocketbooks fill the PUC hearing room with valid arguments opposing the increase.

Nope, Empire District Electric is not the donor this time, although Empire has donated to many, many community projects, spending the money without compunction just before asking for a rate hike. That Empire at this time is seeking (or has been awarded) another hike that they say is needed in consequence of the Joplin tornado certainly would be justification for lack of involvement, or at least show some conscience.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention who (corporations have personhood even those without a conscience) the utility is. Missouri American Water Company.

Just when you as a taxpayer might have been gleefully jumping up and down over the state of Missouri cutting the council's funding, you might get hit with a public utility rate hike to help support their "humanitarian" efforts. And I know at least I feel Lilliputian knowing there isn't much that can be done about it.

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