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At some point in your electronic lives, most, if not all, of you have received e-mail from an entity which claimed to be your credit card company, but which turned out to be fraudulent.  3CM is no exception, and one recent message looked suspicious that way.  It said that I was to be issued a new credit card soon, with a new account number.  I couldn't imagine why, so I thought of forwarding that to my credit card firm's e-mail address for reporting spam.  However, being a lazy loser, I didn't do so.

That turned out just as well, because when I later logged into my cc account, I saw a new account number that matched the apparent spam message.  Later on, there was a phone message that sounded like a generic taped message which mentioned "possible credit card compromise at an undisclosed merchant", or words to that effect, but where both the old and new account #'s jibed.  The penny finally dropped after I finally connected the dots, more or less, after reading a local newspaper headline (on-line).  More below the flip....

For whatever reasons resembling discretion or some such thing, my cc company chose not to "name names" regarding the "undisclosed merchant".  However, once I finally got it, it took no time to realize that the undisclosed merchant in question is this business.  Local coverage in the Post-Dispatch began almost 4 weeks ago, and has kept pace in subsequent weeks, with the P-D's Georgina Guston doing a very good job of keeping on the story.  You can read her key articles from the following links:

1. Gustin, 3/28/13
2. Gustin, 3/29/13
3. Kavita Kumar and Georgina Gustin, 3/31/13
4. Gustin, 4/7/13
5. Gustin, 4/9/13
6. Gustin, 4/10/13
7. Gustin, 4/15/13 (1st article of the day)
8. Gustin, 4/15/03 (2nd article of the day)

It's obviously very serious to learn that up to 2.4M credit and debit cards might have been compromised at the various Schnucks locations over a period of several months.  Schnucks also earned a lot of wrath from customers over the perceived slow response to the security breach, leading to a lawsuit (of course), as noted by Gustin in her 4/10/13 article.

In an academic sense, it is interesting to read how hackers target supermarket chains compared to other shopping firms, as noted in Gustin's 3/29/13 article:

"'Supermarkets are one of those industries with very thin margins,' [Gary Palgon of Liaison Technologies] said. 'They don't have a lot of money to spend, and they haven't spent a lot of time and money to improve security as the should or could.'

The situation strikes some analysts as unfair and burdensome to retailers at large, and to grocery chains specifically.

'The banks have stacked the system. They're [sic] shifted the cost to retailers, and it's not right for retailers to take the hit,' said Avivah Litan, a security analyst with Gartner Inc., a technology research and advisory firm. 'It's very frustrating for grocery chains because their margins are so thin.'"

For all the brickbats aimed at Schnucks for the inadequacies of their response, it might be easy to forget who the real villains are here, namely the hackers themselves.  Gustin noted in her 4/7/13 article:
"As the data security industry tries to keep pace with hackers, working in China or Eastern Europe or the next state over, they're losing. The bad guys of cyber crime appear to be a step ahead."
Corporations may be, and often are, stupid in their reactions to situations like this.  But in this case, it bears remembering Schnucks did not commit these defraudings of their customers.  The hackers did that.  Of course, it's almost impossible to lash out at the hackers, since we don't know who they are.  So it's easier to slam the big corporation here, even though, for once, it is a victim of crime rather than a perpetrator.  (Yes, Kossacks, such a thing is possible.)

I'm not really here to render any sort of harsh judgment on Schnucks, as readers have already done so in the comment sections in the articles.  This is because I was very, very late in becoming aware of this story, much later than I should probably admit.  Having then caught up on this story, I went back and looked at my recent credit card statements to see if there were any invalid charges that I missed.  I lucked out, at least so far.  Still, I'll have to peruse upcoming statements more carefully for a while now.  Plus, by happenstance, I've started to use cash a bit more often at Schnucks recently, even while I wasn't aware of the credit card breach situation.  (If nothing else, it's convenient for getting change from using $20's.)

So the morals of the story, such as they are, are old ones in the credit card age:

(a) Hacking is wrong, and;
(b) Always be careful in how you use your credit card, because of losers who perpetrate (a).

Time will tell if 3CM proves to be one of the unfortunate 2.4M.  With that, time for the usual SNLC protocol below, namely your loser stories of the week, which may or may not involve credit cards.  

One final note:  I am not here to monitor tonight's SNLC, but Richard Cranium has kindly offered to blogsit in my absence.  So be nice to him :) .  Others are welcome to help with blogsitting also.....

Originally posted to chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:00:08 PM PDT

  •  As a matter of fact (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, cfk, Youffraita, shari

    my Bank sent me a letter yesterday that they would be issuing  me a new debit card because of the Schnucks debacle.  I've been checking my account daily and nothing has happened but I was getting tired of doing it and thinking of asking for a new card anyway.  

    Then today I got a letter that I was being issued a new Visa for the same reason.  I don't remember ever using that (or any card other than my debit card) at Schnucks, but that's ok.  I'll take the new card so I don't have to worry.

    •  of course, the fun comes with..... (0+ / 0-)

      .....going to all the sites where I have the old cc # as saved info, deleting that, and then adding the new one.

      BTW, have your OTSL subscription yet?

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:44:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Totally OT, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, cfk, Youffraita, shari

    I was half expecting another Met Opera simulcast topic tonight.
    Did any go to it?  What did you think?  I had to leave after the first act because I was ill.  

    Help me out with baroque opera....

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:28:18 PM PDT

    •  I saw the whole HD. Very long. Hey--it's Handel. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, Radiowalla, shari, suka

      The singers were game for a heck of a lot of physical activity whilst singing extremely difficult music. I did s close my eyes once in awhile. Started at 9 am PDT.

      •  I thought the staging was superb. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shari, suka, Youffraita

        It was a very visually elegant opera.  I loved some of the singing, particularly of Cornelia and Sextus.  Dessaye is always a joy to behold.

        However....I hated the contra tenor role of Caesar.  So disorienting in this day and age to hear a man trilling away.  I think in Handel's time, this role would have been sung by a castrati.  Admittedly, I don't know much about baroque opera.

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:44:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in Handel's time, that would have been..... (0+ / 0-)

          .....the case, yes, about a castrato singing the role of Cesare.  Later, of course, mezzos and contraltos took on those parts after the days of castrati had passed (thank dog for that).  But if you're not used to a countertenor, it can be disconcerting at first.  In some fairness to OTSL, over the years, featuring countertenors seems to be no big deal.

          But with baroque opera, for me, the sheer repetition of the trills and ornamentation get at me.  I kind of want the action, such as it is, to get on with it, even if opera is never really about the plot.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:01:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  so presumably it was Natalie D. in the role.... (0+ / 0-)

        .....of Cleopatra, rather than Danielle de Niese stepping in to "save the day".  More long shots than usual, perhaps, to capture the Bollywood-isms?

        "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

        by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:51:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I love that opera but must admit I've only (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, chingchongchinaman

      seen one version, the Glyndebourne one with Sara Connolly as Cesare and Danielle De Niese as Cleopatra. It is opera meets bollywood. I use it as a DVD exercise tape while I ride my bike.

      Gorgeous music, great comedy, perfect Baroque.

      Wish I'd known about the Dessay showing tonight. It is very long and I usually break it into two separate days of viewing.

      •  there's normally an encore presentation, but.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        suka

        ......I'm not sure of the date, as I can't find it on the Met's site just now.  Eventually, though, a cleaned up version will make its way to TV, and eventually DVD.

        "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

        by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:09:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I did mention that a while back, but..... (0+ / 0-)

      .....it would have been a long shot for someone to take it, I'll admit.  I actually saw this Giulio Cesare at Lyric Opera of Chicago several years back, with Emmanuelle Haim as conductor from the harpsichord, the first female conductor ever at Lyric.  Her energy at the keyboard didn't make the opera seem shorter ;) .

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:46:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  paypal (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Youffraita, oculus, shari, suka

    My loser story is not about a credit card, exactly, but paypal.  When I was living and working in China, I used paypal to occasionally send money back home.  Then I received one of those suspicious emails that didn't look quite right to me. What did I do?  I sent a copy of said suspicious email to paypal and asked if it was actually from them.  What did paypal do?  They froze my account. I was never able to use paypal again. This was 6 or 7 years ago. When I returned stateside I tried by phone to get through to somebody who might be able to straighten it out. Could not be done.

  •  hi (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, oculus, shari

    Best wishes to ccc and to all here!!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:04:14 PM PDT

    •  hi, cfk! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk, oculus, shari, suka

      How are you? How are the grandbabies?

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:36:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doing pretty well (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oculus, Youffraita, shari, suka

        Another birthday party next weekend for a grandbaby who turns nine so my daughter and her family will be here overnight and then the next Wed. another party for another one who turns nine.

        They were born a week a apart.  :)  May is a busy time.

        I hope all is well with you!!

        Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

        by cfk on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:43:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  hi back, very late (0+ / 0-)

      Typical loser, that 3CM (in more ways than usual).  Sorry I've missed posting in BF the last few times, but it's just that I hadn't started reading any books, so it didn't feel right to post anything.  Gave your diaries rec's, of course.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:11:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where is the announced blog sitter? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, shari, suka
  •  well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, suka, Youffraita

    at one point, i think i announced to this group i lost my po box key

    good news is that i found it!

    yay!

    in my little bag that i take to ballet class

    i have no idea why i placed it in there

    boggles my mind

    bad news is i'm taking  break from (beginner's) ballet because my good knee is now giving me problems, swells after i take class. not a  good thing.

    so i'm glad i found the key before taking my break

  •  That's actually funny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita

    How much of a schnook do you have to be to shop at a place called Schnucks???

    That's like trusting your money to a guy named Madoff

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:00:39 PM PDT

    •  well, that family has had a supermarket.... (0+ / 0-)

      .....chain for decades, so whatever one may think of the name, it has some permanence here.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:20:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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