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Huddersfield, a hotbed of card fraud?

Judging from reports on the newswires and in the Huddersfield Examiner newspaper (where else -Ed) it seems that a card fraud episode may have taken place in the area.

According to the Examiner, a number of cardholders in the area have been hit by card fraudsters in the US.

One local couple appears to have lost 20 grand from their account due to a US card fraud, whilst a couple of Nationwide BS cardholders have had almost three grand lifted from their accounts.

Most of the fraudulent charges appear to come from Wal-Mart stores in the US, suggesting to me that the Huddersfield punters have had their card details lifted at a store in the area, and the fraudsters have colluded with colleagues in the US to created cloned cards.

The fact that the paper reports that a small amount has been spent at a Texas petrol station, followed by by major sales at Wal-Mart stores in the state, suggests to me that the fraudsters are using the petrol station as a test point to check the cards actually work.

This reminds me of the time I went through London Kings Cross station about 15 years ago and used one of the new payphones there. Whilst making my call, I noticed a lot of discarded white mag stripe cards on the floor around the payphones.

I soon realised these were cloned cards which had been discarded because they didn't work on the payphones.

BT payphones accepting plastic cards don't always make authorisation calls (it wouldn't be worth it for 50p) but do download a hot list of stolen cards on a regular basis from the banks.

If a card is on this list, the phone call doesn't go through. And this tells the cloners whether a card will work in a retail store - or not, as the case may be.

I fully expect the Huddersfield card fraud saga to go unreported in the national press. After all, Chip & sPIN is secure, isn't it?...