My HSBC Credit Card Was Compromised

I received my HSBC card replacement yesterday. I did not expect that they would send the replacement card in a span of three days as the normal turnaround would have been 10-19 banking days.

I realized that my card was compromised when I saw the text message about the OTP that I needed to provide to push through with the transaction. It was early morning when I read it so I called the customer service right away. He verified that there was an attempted transaction that failed because of the need to provide the OTP but unfortunately, an earlier transaction was successful.

He provided me the merchant’s name, it was an organization that’s based abroad. In the end, he suggested blocking the card and advised me to file a dispute.

The only physical store where I use my card is this mall where I buy groceries. In terms of online payment, I use my card to pay for our electric bill. I requested for a CCTV viewing access to the mall to check if there’s anything suspicious at the time when I was doing my payment. Unfortunately, the mall stopped replying to my messages when I insisted for a CCTV viewing access. I’m not saying that the cashier had something to do with it; I just want to be objective and know the answer. Because if it’s not them, then maybe it’s the online payment.

It’s good that I receive text notifications for purchases that are PhP3000 and above. Otherwise, I would risk being robbed of larger amounts without me knowing until my next billing statement. Looking back, I realize that I made the correct decision when I asked HSBC to decrease my credit limit from 6-digit to a manageable 5-digit. Credit card dispute and fraud investigation takes time, I don’t want to stress myself into that.

The lessons that I learned are these: cover the CVV for physical transaction and clear the cache for the online transaction. My friend suggested adding an online credit card account but I have yet to explore it with my credit card company if that’s possible.

Taxi Spray Modus Operandi

I am now convinced that what happened to me in the summer of 2011 was not a product of my imagination. I nearly fell victim to a chemical spray had I did not follow my instincts that something was wrong in me.

It was just one of those rush hours when I chanced upon a white taxi at PWU, Edsa. I asked him to drive me to Roces Avenue through Panay Avenue because that was the route that I was most familiar with. It was supposed to be a 10-minute drive including the minor traffic at that time. When we were nearing the crossing at Quezon Avenue, I felt like I was choking. My throat suddenly went dry and I could feel that I would faint anytime. I looked at the stocky and bald driver who must be in his 40’s and he seemed relaxed. I tried to open the window but it was not working so when the stoplight turned red, I tried to step out. I realized it would be risky to step out of a cab in a busy road so I pretended to be suffering from diarrhea.

With my remaining strength, I told the taxi driver to stop at the 7-11 store because my stomach was aching so bad, I needed to get to the restroom. He panicked at the thought of me messing up his taxi so he obliged. LOL!

Inside the 7-11, I listed down the plate number and asked myself several times if I saved myself from a misfortune. Except for my former boss, most of the people that I shared my story found it hard to believe it because at that time, a taxi chemical spray modus operandi was not yet in the open.

If we foresee or feel that something bad will happen to us, by all means, follow our intuition. That is God’s way of telling us to save ourselves from bad people and unfortunate events.

Beware of

I chanced upon this link about Donald Freeman:

I have a personal story about Donald. I met him through an online dating site in 2008 when I was at the height of being experimental when it comes to finding my true love. We exchanged friendly letters for two weeks in February 2008. According to him, he was born on January 5, 1969 to Dr. Dones Freeman and Monica Barrister. He has two sisters, Clara and Catherine. He works for the IWCA and holds office in USA, UK and Germany.

He offered me a job either in USA or UK for the purpose of “starting our life together” in either country. Whoa! He was not even my online bf yet when he offered that. With much apprehensions, I told him that I am fine living in my home country with my family and we need to establish a relationship first before taking that big step.

He then became uninterested on me. I thought that he got interested on some horny women on the net. (How many poor and innocent women took his bait?)

Donald Freeman, if that is his real name, even sent me his picture. He doesn’t look like a 39-year old man. He looks like somebody in his 50’s. Btw, he claimed to be from Louiseville, Kentucky and is part-Native American.

I hope to hear from the other ladies who encountered him online.

Prepaid Card Modus Operandi

Don’t fall prey! If someone who claims to be your friend asks for prepaid card or cellphone load, be wary! He/she could not be your friend he/she is projecting to be.

My friend’s YM was hacked several months ago and I didn’t receive her warning about the fake one who’s asking prepaid load from the people in her YM list. The fake one chats with whoever is online and pretends very well that she is the real one. The fake one knows that the real one is abroad and has a wide circle of friends in the Philippines that includes me.

The fake one chatted with a common friend who’s based in Singapore, but was on vacation leave in the Philippines, to ask a favor. The fake one requested our common friend to send her 50 pieces of Globe prepaid card worth PhP500.00. Fortunately, our common friend was in a tight budget due to his wedding preparation. But unfortunately, our common friend referred me to the fake one thinking that she was the real one.

Our common friend texted me and gave me the fake one’s roaming number. I was in the middle of a trip but I texted that number since our common friend said that it was urgent and important. The fake one replied and asked for 50 pieces of Globe prepaid cards worth Php500.00 and she would pay me through my bank account the next day. I didn’t read the text message clear enough and thinking that it was only one piece, me and my companion rushed to the Globe prepaid card outlet to buy one. Just when the salesgirl was about to hand me over the card, I re-read the fake one’s message and realized that she was asking for 50 and not a piece of prepaid card. I only had PhP3,000 in my wallet at that time and the additional PhP23,000 was impossible to produce for the following reasons:

1. it was holiday in the Philippines on December 26 and the banks were close

2. I was on a tight financial budget to be able to give her that amount of Globe loads

But since she was a dear friend, a friend from wayback primary school and also my mother’s friend, I asked her if I could give her 20 pieces of Globe load instead. She said that it was fine but I had to speed up since her customers in her area were asking for Globe load. Like a friend’s intuition, I wondered when she started having an eye for business? She was never the type who would push a friend to give her favors, too. I wondered why she didn’t greet me “Merry Christmas” just the way she always did in the past. I decided to call Globe Customer Service hotline to check whether the number is roaming or not. It was not registered to be a roaming number but the number was unreachable when I tried to make a call.

It was a Friday when that incident happened and I promised the fake one that she’ll receive the Globe cards on Monday. What made her believable was she knew the real one’s YM ID and even asked me to have a chat with her. But her ignorance of the real one’s MSN ID was a give-away that she was not really the real one. At this time, me and my companion were playing games with the devil.

Sunday afternoon, I tried to contact the real one’s mother’s contact number but her mother replied the following day. She was surprised to know that the fake one is still actively pursuing for preys and she was glad that I didn’t fall into the fake one’s trap.

That same afternoon, I received a sort of follow up text from the fake one to verify if the cards can be delivered to her on Monday. I affirmed and asked her how her lovelife with ASG is going. ASG was recently married to our common friend and I expected her to react. But instead, the fake one said that I received the news about her and ASG very fast!

The following day, after a series of follow up text messages from the fake one, I told her that I only got 15 pieces of prepaid card and I was on the way to their house. This time, she said that I should not bother going to her house since she’s abroad. I acted surprised and told her that I could still go so that I could visit her mother.She said that since it was urgent, I should send her the cards’ PIN before going to their house. I replied naughtily,”You expect me to send all those 15 PIN’s? It would be easier for me to just give the cards to your mother and have her send the PIN’s to you.” She asked for my bank account number and I told her that she could send it thru Western Union.

After three hours, the fake one asked me if I could send the PIN thru text message. I told her that I gave the cards to her surprised mother. The fake one did not text anymore up to this day. She must have realized that I knew she was a fake.

My realizations:

  1. That we should not open malicious links that could give the hackers our important passwords.
  2. That we should be careful when using public computer terminal and remember to log out everytime we’re done.
  3. That it is alright to delay a favor if it means saving ourself from the hassles and pains of being duped.
  4. That we should trust our intuitions:if something seems not right, it probably is really not right.