Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Feedback for American Express....Card Theft Security Suggestion

I recently called American Express about a charge that their account security department questioned. It turned out to be a good charge and simply one I made on a quick trip to NYC this past weekend.

But after that discussion was done, I mentioned something to the card security person I was speaking to, and their response sort of surprised me.

I noted that I thought that AMEX having their card verification number on the front of their card was NOT as secure as say Visa or Mastercard with theirs on the back. I told the security representative that I understood why the number was printed rather than embossed (to keep it off imprint machines) but being on the front with your name, the main card number and the expiration date made all the cards vital information easy pickings for being photographed.....say with a camera phone. (NOTE: For the geeks out there, apparently the security number itself is not all that difficult to generate, with the algorithm listed on this Wiki page)

This could be done fairly easily by the person handling your card at the checkout, but almost as easily by a person standing next to you in the check-out line! Having some of the important information on the back makes it perhaps at least a little more difficult (or obvious) when someone goes to photograph it.

The AMEX person on the phone thought my idea was an excellent one, and they said it was one they had never heard before, and they were eager to pass them onto people in the security department .....YIKES!

Well, I think my thoughts are sort of "obvious", and I would be surprised if no one at AMEX has thought of this issue....but what if they haven't?!

I wasn't going to bother posting anything about this, but a friend of mine suggested it was "blogworthy".....and I guess it instantly struck my that it just might be indeed.

So I might just take the bull by the horns and put a small piece of tape over my four digit security code to keep any roaming eyes (and camera) away from it. The tape can always be peeled back to read it, but that would be one of those "obvious" moves you would probably recognize someone doing.

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Its best to avoid credit cards at all costs.

3:29 PM EDT  

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