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$605K bid made with stolen credit card

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Friday, May 3, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

It seems a cup of joe with Apple's CEO is worth stealing a credit card for.

A $605,000 bid for coffee with Tim Cook in an online charity auction -- the highest offer so far -- was pulled after CharityBuzz discovered it was made on a stolen credit card number. The Internet fundraiser organizer set the highest bid back to $600,000 after the discovery. The auction, which is being run on behalf of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, sunsets in 11 days.

The attempted credit card fraud underscores how hard it is to make large purchases on stolen cards.

Issuers generally monitor accounts, flag any unusual purchases and verify the transactions with the cardholder immediately. That's why your credit card may get declined abroad if you forgot to inform your issuer of your travel plans. Even giving your issuer a heads up may not be enough if the overseas purchase is big enough.

Large purchases also could exceed your maximum credit limit, which probably is what happened in the charity case. It's not every day a credit card has a limit of more than a half-million dollars. Capital One said it doesn't offer limits that high or won't approve a transaction of that size. Chase said limits vary according to the cardholder's credit. Other issuers didn't respond to requests.

Issuers go through the trouble of scrutinizing purchases because they are on the hook for the losses from unauthorized use, not you. Consumers are only liable for up to $50 in fraud losses on a credit card under federal law. (That's not the case for debit cards, so keep a good hold on them.) So, it's in the issuer's best interest to catch fraud as quickly as possible.

However, you should be on the lookout, too. Credit card fraud could lead to or indicate identity theft. That's why you should verify every transaction on your monthly statement and pull your credit reports once a year to check for any odd, new accounts under your name. You can get your credit reports free every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

If you find something suspicious on your billing statement or credit report, contact the lender and the credit bureaus to report fraud.

Has anyone stolen your credit card?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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1 Comment
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