Friday, February 13, 2015

To combat fraud, you want Visa to track your smartphone

A couple of years ago, I got into my office, sat down at my desk and the phone rang. It was my bank. The conversation went something like this:

Bank: Mr. Fraser, it's * from [my bank branch]. Do you have your bank card with you?

Me: Yes, it's right here [I pulled it out of my wallet].

Bank: Did you use your card to withdraw $400 from a no-name ABM at 2:00am this morning?

Me: No. I was asleep. Where was the ABM?

Bank: We think it was at a strip club.

Me: Yeah, that wasn't me.

Bank: We've cancelled your card and we'll put the $400 back in your account. Can you come by the branch to pick up a new card and choose a new PIN?

Me: Yup.

To me, this was a great example of how a company can use your personal information to protect you. Obviously, I was not in the habit of withdrawing cash at last call in strip joints so my bank's algorithms knew it was not me.

Now Visa is planning to roll out a new opt-in feature that will use the location of your mobile phone to combat fraud. If your phone is in New York but a transaction on your card is in Thailand, it is much less likely to be you. But if you really are in Thailand, you probably do not want Visa to disable your transactions as a precaution. This is a great feature that uses your personal information to protect you, and will not be used for secondary purposes/

From the Associated Press: To combat fraud, Visa wants to track your smartphone - Yahoo Finance:

(I'd suggest the title to the AP article should be "To combat fraud, you want Visa to track your smartphone.")

1 comment:

Jacquilynne said...

I'd just want to be very certain that VISA wouldn't draw the opposite conclusion on opposite data before I signed up for this. When my card number was compromised, it was used mostly around Toronto, which is also where my smart phone would have been located, had I had a smart phone at the time. Maybe they're doing more finely grained tracking than that, or maybe they're only looking at serious mismatches, but I'd be concerned that I might be given pushback over charges I didn't make if the data happened to match up.