Skip to comments.Swiping credit card at restaurant table can preclude skimming, cheating
Posted on 07/26/2007 5:03:45 AM PDT by rightwingintelligentsia
Every think twice about handing over a credit or debit card to your restaurant server when paying the check? Maybe you should. While most of the time the payment goes through just fine, when your card leaves your sight, nasty things can happen. Occasionally, crooks use devices called skimmers to steal account information that's embedded in a card's magnetic stripe, which they sell or use to make counterfeit cards to raid a bank account or run up fraudulent bills.
It's estimated 70 percent of that type of card fraud, known as skimming, happens in restaurants, one of the last places where customers give their cards to someone who disappears into a back room to process the transaction.
In 2001, a credit card ring that involved wait staff stole information from customers at Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen in North Fayette and, prosecutors said, and made fraudulent purchases totaling $16,861.
That's not the only type of skulduggery that can happen. Ever hear of tip fraud? It happens when a server alters the tip when entering the final bill in the payment system. You could be charged an extra 50 cents, a few bucks or more, but unless you cross-check your receipts with your monthly statements, you probably wouldn't catch it.
Now, a new technology is being pushed by payment systems giant Verifone that's designed to speed transactions and combat fraud by keeping cards in customers' hands.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
Another reaon that you should NEVER use debit cards for anything.
Why anyone uses debit cards is beyond me. Call me crazy, but I much prefer a $50 risk associated with a credit card versus having my entire account wiped out.
You should also keep a “Willard” organizer nearby so you can calculate the tip.
Having my entire account wiped out would cost me way less than $50.00. :-)
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Before I go to a restaurant I get cash from my bank’s ATM to cover what I think the bill will be. Never, ever give some Waiter/Waitress your credit card. That’s just fraud waiting to happen.
I'm in the middle of this right now. I don't know who exactly did it yet, but I suspect a local Mexican restaurant skimmed my data from my debit card. They bought $300 in wireless phone cards, two bus tickets from Texas, and attempted to make a $1400 purchase from Lowe's.
The reason I use debit cards is simple - I'm not disciplined enough to stay out of credit card debt. My bank (USAA) is ridiculously easy to work with when it comes to fraud issues. They cancelled my card and issued me a new one within 24 hours of my identifying the fraud. They'll also reverse any charges I disupte and refund any NSF fees that may pop up. At most, I'll have an inconvenience that could last as long as 3 days.
I never let my credit card out of my sight. Except when it’s in my wallet.
I check my bank account, online, everyday...debit misuses will show up overnight. Credit card misuses only show up when you get your bill once a moth, unless you check your credit card online (which I do about once a week.)
I leave a minimum amount of cash in my debit account....they cant steal what is not there....and transfer funds to it on-line as needed.
But basically I use my AMEX CC with cash rewards which garner me about a grand a year in cash back.
Re: debit misuses will show up overnight.
It is still too late. How do you expect to get money back from your account?
With credit cards, if you get your statement 20 days later and there are fraudulent charges, you can still have them stopped.
I don’t even take my card out while waiting in line in stores as cell phone cameras are better than ever.
They're perfectly fine where I'm the only one who touches the card, such as in the supermarket checkout line. It's way less hassle than writing a check, and easier to get a few bucks back in the transaction so I don't have to hunt down an ATM.
In Europe, restaurant customers refuse to let their credit cards leave the table. As a result, waiters have wireless card swipers with them, so that the cards can be swiped at the tables.
Here in Slovakia, it is quite secure.
I have two Slovak bank cards. One is the old style with raised characters, but the other is flat, and it is the only one I carry with me for ATM machines and store transactions. The old card is necessary only for online purchases.
If I use it for a POP transaction in a store or restaurant, I have to enter my pin number into a hand held device that shows the total charge.
I also have very good online banking with a Slovak bank. Anytime I log onto my account, I get an instant msg on my cellphone to confirm that it is me.
What slays me are the people who say they would NEVER use their credit card online, even with a secure server connection (https), yet have no qualms about letting their credit card disappear around the corner with a food server.
We have a local Mexican restaurant that was doing the same thing. People that had used either debit or credit cards at the restaurant found that their accounts had hundreds of dollars in charges. The charges were traced to Mexico a day after they had eaten at the restaurant in Indiana. I believe the restaurant is about to go under from the bad publicity.
Can’t trust anyone with your card bump
IMO, if you can't calculate 15 % in your head, you should be eating at home.
You’ll want to see this one, too.
China uses this system in restaurants, filling stations, outdoor markets, and many other businesses in all major cities, and thousands of less major ones. It’s been around for a good while. I swiped a card at my table in two establishments just today in Shanghai.
You swipe the card, enter your PIN number, press enter, and then they take the hand-held unit (about the size of a large scientific calculator) back to the counter and drop it in its base, connected to the modems.
Do you know that mobile phones are much easier to use in China and the Philippines, too, and are much less expensive than in the USA.
what in the world is going on in the USA ? Why do we see so many reports of “NEW” stuff in the USA that is old stuff abroad.
I hate to say it, but I’ll tell you another area that seems to be in more advanced use in Asia. Packaging. Yes, the varieties of types and applications of product packaging is a good ways ahead of the USA in may areas of Asia.
I don’t want to offer any reasons for all of this. I have some ideas.
In 2002 I visited Paris. Almost every restaurant had hand held credit card readers that were brought to the table and printed a receipt on the spot. My credit cards never left my sight. Surely the technology is not so esoteric that we couldn’t have had it in 2002 in the US as well?
I've used nothing but debit cards for over 12 years and I have never had even one single problem.
I just asked the husband if we'd ever been to a restaurant that had a cc reader (I couldn't remember and we eat out alot). He said "no". Heck, I'd be happy to have it in the US in 2007.
Not true according the the Clark Howard web site. www.clarkhoward.com
It does other things!!!
I’m sorry to tell you, but even in the supermarket, you are not safe from this type of theft.
The Pakistanis who did this flew all the way from CA to RI to pull this caper off.
Well.... there's this thing called cash. And another thing called checks. They're kind of old fashioned, but they work.
Use the envelope system and a budget. It worked for Dave Ramsey.
My debit card turned up missing with a $350 hit at a local walmart.......I had the money back in my account within days. Could have messed up a mortgage payment or something, but it didn’t. We were lucky.
For good service, 20%, which is pretty easy to figure in your head.
For bad service, 0%, which is even easier to figure.
Or if you’re really bad at figuring in your head, $1 per person if the meals are around $5 each, or $2 a person if they’re around $10 each. And another $1 per person for every $5 per meal (’per meal’ includes drinks and desert).
Wow, thanks! I’ve shopped at the local “Stop & Shop”, had no idea they could rig those machines for fraud. I guess cash is the only 100% safe way, unless you get mugged...
I guess you are one of those dinosaurs that whips out their checkbook and cause the checkout lanes to back up at the grocery store? Everytime I see a checkbook I roll my eyes that they still exist.
What about the voices in my head? Won't they steal it? ;^)
Then you would guess wrong - I use a credit card or cash. I would guess that you're one of those belligerant douche bags on fr that's too dull to understand a position and immediately starts to flame someone rather than figure out what's going on.
Occasionally I will treat someone else to a meal. What brings a wry smile to me is when I put in an overtip, and the person who I treated berates me for the tip. I think to myself: "What the hell do you care ya duck. You just ate for free and it's not like it's YOUR money!"
That's why I always leave cash tips and draw a big slash on the tip column of the bill.
Also, the waiter gets the full tip, instead of having to give 3% of it to the credit card company.
The servers prefer you to leave cash as well, b/c it’s not automatically declared like the CC receipts are.
Fridays in Addison, TX is using this new format from Micros. It’s actually a pretty cool deal for the customer and the server. Each server had a hand-micros, ear-piece, and microphone. It cuts down the time the server is away from your table, especially if he/she is busy, and allows him to radio for help if he gets in the weeds. I was impressed by it.
10% of $36.24 is $3.60 (ignore the pennies)
Half of $3.60 is $1.80 (you can divide by 2, can't you?)
$3.60 + $1.80 = $5.40
$36.24 + $5.40 = $41.64, which is pretty darn close to the calculator-derived total of $41.68.
And no, I've never been accused of being a boring dinner companion.
What scares me is a restaurant full of the sort of people who worry about calculating tips to the third decimal...
Starting with $36.24..Calculate 10 % real quickly, can you do that? Thats about $3.60, just move the decimal over one.. not hard, is it? Now half that is $1.80. Still easy, right? Now add them.. $ 5.40 Easy, wasn’t it? Not exactly rocket science, is it?
Last month, I used my debit card in Kamiah, Idaho, to buy and ID fishing license. A few days later, in Elk City, ID, I tried to buy a t-shirt. It was denied. Ditto at the town’s only gas station a few minutes later. Went back to the cabin and called my bank in Florida. The lady asked me if I was in NYC. When I said no, I’m in the back country in Idaho, she asked me if my wife was in NYC. I told her no, she’s sitting right across the table from me. Some weasel had taken $802 out of my account in South Florida. The money was restored within 48 hours, but I couldn’t get a new card until we returned to Florida. The next day at the bank, the manager told me that mine was the sixth case that week from that same branch.