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Another North American Visa card authorisation fraud surfaces

Hard on the heels of a similar scam in Canada, a Californian woman has been arrested and charged with doctoring a Visa debit card so that bank staff, when they ring up for authorisation on a cash advance, ended up talking to the fraudster's accomplice, rather than a transaction authorisation line.

Kenyetta Norwood, aged 33, of Sacramento, is reported to have pleaded guilty (opens in new tab)to bank fraud last Friday in a Californian court.

Court officials say that she told bank staff to call the number on the back of the debit card to confirm that she had enough money in her account to cover the cash advance.

As with the Canadian scam (opens in new tab) I reported on recently, the number had been doctored and connected the staffer to one of Norwood's pals who pretended to be a Visa representative.

Doing the cash withdrawal scam many times over is reported to have allowed Ms Norwood to draw down between $80,000 and $90,000 on the card account.

What's interesting about the case is that it's clear that US banks don't have a central Visa cash withdrawal database to check on transactions with, as is the case in the UK.

Instead, the banking networking in the US appears to be so fragmented that staff are forced to call the numbers on the back of the credit or debit card for `authorisation.'

Which, unless I'm much mistaken, is a bloody great flaw in the Visa transaction authorisation system in North America...