Post by Ken Blake Post by Katy Jennison Post by Tony Cooper Post by Ken Blake
Unfortunately, although that way is common in Europe, in my experience
it's never done in the US, although Tony Cooper says it's common;
perhaps it's common in Florida, but not everywhere.
I don't think I used "common". I've seen it, I've been to places that
do it, and I expect to find more that do it. "Common", though? Dunno
These days, I don't think most people here would be happy to let their
credit card out of their sight.
I'm not happy about, but I have no other choice when I eat in a
restaurant (other than paying cash, which I never want to do).
When they want to take the card away with them we follow to the place
they take them to. However, even with that precaution you can still be
cheated if they have a machine for reading all the data on the card.
One time we took some friends to dinner, and a year later my wife
noticed a very strange debit on the bank statement. (Normally we don't
check as thoroughly we should, but on that occasion she wanted to know
if an expected credit had been paid, and by chance the two entries came
one after another.) We didn't recognize the name of the payee and
couldn't make sense of the total, until we converted it to Chilean
pesos and saw that the total in pesos was exactly the same as the
restaurant bill a year earlier. The sum wasn't huge (around 80 euros if
memory serves) and the bank made no difficulty about reimbursing it.
In that case it was fairly obvious how the fraud had been perpetrated,
but I had a worse experience a couple of years later (at least, the
bank did, as I got reimbursed). I was contacted to ask if I'd used my
card to buy a television and a washing machine in Washington DC. I had
no difficulty in convincing the bank that I hadn't been in Washington
DC on the relevant date, and had used the card in Marseilles the same
day. The person I spoke to asked me if I'd been in the USA some months
earlier, and I said yes, and I used my card in Berkeley and Tracy, and
later on in Denver and Boulder. No sane person takes their holidays in
Tracy (unless they have relatives who live there), so although it's not
especially law-abiding it's probably not worth anyone's while setting
up a system to clone foreigner visitors' cards. My guess is that the
cloning was done in Boulder, but who knows. The person at the bank said
that similar things had happened to other people from France who had
been there in the same period as we had.