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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Credit Card Memorization at the Drive Thru

Nov 02

Credit_Card_Memorization_at_the_Drive_Thru

Nowadays, I never use cash. I even use my credit card at the drive thru. It’s so smooth I never even thought about the risk – until now.

Just the other day, I read about a woman just like me, she was in a rush and all about convenience. She never even considered that in the few moments it takes to exchange your credit card for a cheeseburger and fries, she was becoming a bigger target for identity theft.

These are modern times, but thieves are apparently still using good old-fashioned memorization to steal credit card numbers. Why not? You can still buy stuff online or by phone with nothing but the numbers. Not only do thieves memorize numbers at the drive thru, but they also use an old method called “scratching.” Basically, they just place a piece of paper on top of your credit card and rub a pencil over it really fast to make a copy.

Unfortunately, there’s really not a good solution to this age-old problem unless you use cash all the time, which is not always practical, at least not for me. Yet, if you do have to pay with a card, make sure you can see it at all times. Also, use a credit card instead of a debit card. That way, if someone other than you makes a purchase with it, it will be easier to get your money back.

3 Comments Add your comment

  1. Debbie
    Nov 02 at 11:39

    This happened to my mom when she went to pick up takeout. The waiter stole her cc number and had a huge party at her expense. Luckily, she was able to catch it early, the thief was identitfied, and the police were helpful. If she uses a card now when buying fast food or takeout, she makes sure it’s her credit card. (She’s also a PMID member!)

    [Reply]

  2. Jenny
    Feb 27 at 14:56

    I noticed that some fast food places now have scanners outside the drive-through window. Then I’ll use my debit card at those. Otherwise I only use credit cards. That way I won’t lose cash if they steal my card number.

    [Reply]

    PMID_Alvin Reply:

    Hello Jenny! Thank you for sharing your advice. It’s good practice to use your credit cards versus your debit card so in the event your debit card information gets stolen it’s not linked to your banking account and you don’t lose out on any money. However, keep in mind that credit cards are like your money too. When someone uses your credit card fraudulently it’s money that is stolen and you could be held liable if an investigation into the act is not conclusive as being fraudulent. Furthermore, why would you want to go through the hassle of initiating a fraud investigation which can take up to 30 days.

    I’m not saying to stop using credit cards all together, in fact I use my credit cards every so often but I try to limit it even when I go through a fast food drive thru. I’d rather be precautious than be sorry later on.

    [Reply]

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