Designed as a credit convenience for consumers and a big profit turner for business, Credit Cards are impersonal pieces of plastic whose power potential can be awesome. The only way to use a credit card intelligently is to pay off each month’s balance, avoiding the outrageously high interest charges. But even paying on time doesn’t always guarantee perfection.
You are dealing with computers when you use Credit Cards. God help you if the computer rings you up as owing more money than you do or if the computer slaps you with late payment, resulting in an interest charge. Yes, there are consumer-protection laws designed to help you. But as more than a few people will tell you, there is often a great deal of difference between principal and principle.
Kathy Ross had a bad time with magazine-subscription service through which she ran a credit-card charge. Not only did her new subscriptions get mixed up with renewals, but she was charged for items she never ordered. She followed the consumer-protection rules, and within seven months she was being billed for fifty dollars in interest charges alone, still didn’t have the subscription mess straightened out, and was getting dunning letters from the credit-card company, calling her irresponsible. Computers didn’t understand her human pleas for logical service. Kathy never did get justice. She paid the charges, finally giving up because “it was easier.”
If you can get the mark’s credit-card number, order a huge bunch of mail-order merchandise for him/her. Use the telephone to order things too. The secret here, according to a former security agent for one of the card companies, is to keep the amount of each individual purchase under forty dollars, because telephone confirmations are made on greater amounts. Just make hundreds of forty-dollar purchases in a short time.
Using the mark’s credit-card information to place telephone orders involves some investigation, according to Robert Schoster, a master manipulator. Sometimes, Schuster will simply call the mark’s home, pretending to be a verification clerk at some local credit union or bank. Schuster gives the mark’s full name and address, then asks the mark or the mark’s spouse to please verify the credit-card numbers. If it works, and Schuster says it does ninety-nine percent of the time, you are now ready to order all sorts of goods and services on behalf of the mark.
If you don’t have his/her credit-card number and you feel honest, don’t steal with it. Go a step beyond and report the mark’s card as stolen. Pretend you are the mark. That will cause some upset for the real mark when he/she tries to use the card a week or so later.
This is fraud, but one recycled Yippie who is now billed as a professional psychic for the various supermarket tabloids told me how he applied for and got various Credit Cards merely by lying on his application. Easily getting cards, he would run the credit to the extreme and beyond on the cards, survive the corporate dunning letters, then move to a new location without benefit of forwarding address. Despite my doubts, several corporations I asked denied that they passed along these losses to the rest of us in the form of outrageous intrest charges.
Gennifer Roberta Glotinis, our credit card wizard, let’s you know how truly easy it is to cancel your mark’s credit card. You simply call the company telephone number and give them the mark’s name and address. You don’t need the card number, but it would give you lots more credibility if you could provide it. Ms. Glotinis tells me this scam works and sometimes they don’t even check on such claims before taking action. As an alternative, report your mark’s card as lost or stolen.