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A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Fraud - All posts in category Fraud

  • Jun 9, 2011
    3:51 PM ET

    The Silver Lining in the Citi Credit Card Leak

    Citigroup late last night announced that a data breach, which exposed customers’ credit card information, impacted around 360,000 cardholders, or about 1.5% of its roughly 23.5 million North American credit card customers. The hackers accessed customers’ names, account numbers and contact information including email addresses.


    A Citi spokesman says the company is contacting customers whose information was impacted. In the meanwhile, Deal Journal suggests several ways cardholders can protect themselves: Request a new card, report problems immediately, that sort of thing.

    And while yes, Citi cardholders should do all that, they can also take a deep breath: consumers are well-protected against fraudulent credit card purchases. In general, credit card companies hold customers liable for up to $50 of unauthorized credit card transactions and often times they waive those $50 as well, says a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association.

  • Jun 9, 2011
    1:33 PM ET

    How Criminals Are Ruining Your Shopping Experience


    If on your next shopping trip the store happens to be out of electric toothbrush heads, the ink jet printer cartridges cost a little more, or there’s a security guy at the exit checking your receipt against the clothing in your shopping bag, don’t chalk it up to bad luck. Such experiences are becoming more common as retail theft increases.

    A new survey from the National Retail Federation found that 95% of retailers say they have a problem with organized retail theft, perpetrated by groups that repeatedly steal big quantities from multiple stores or warehouses with intent to make money by reselling those goods. (Rogue, lipstick-lifting housewives need not apply.) And while it’s always been a problem (90% said it was last year), it seems to be escalating, with more than half of retailers saying they’ve seen more incidents over the last year than in previous years. Figures are hard to calculate, but the NRF estimates retailers lost as much as $30 billion last year.

    At first glance, stores are the big losers, but organized theft has a big impact on consumers, too.

  • Mar 24, 2011
    6:22 PM ET

    Journalist Uses Hotel Loyalty Card For Prostitution Ring

    Here’s an unusual way to earn bonus points and gain “elite status” on a hotel rewards credit card, but one we wouldn’t recommend.

    Getty Images

    According to USA Today, Kevin Provencher, an award-winning sports journalist, booked hotel rooms at the Marriott-brand Springhill Suites hotel in Andover, Massachusetts … to run a prostitution ring. Suspicious staff members blew the whistle. Provencher has since plead guilty to the charges.

    But here’s what caught our eye: he booked the room using his loyalty card – then asked the women in question to pay him back.

    The credit card gives 22,500 bonus points after your first purchase, two free nights upon account approval and 10 nights credit toward “elite status.” Instead, Provencher was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and fined $5,000.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.