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Ma. Luisa C. Segovia

StarMart Iloilo received an official letter from Equitable Card dated August 7, 2002 informing them that their approved T7 transaction dated August 1, 2002 involved a counterfeit card. The sale covered the purchase of 100 pre-paid cellphone cards in the amount of P30,000.00 by one Gilda S. Aldon who used Card No 4921095589589330.

The cashier involved did the routine verification/check on the sameness of signature in both the sales slip and card panel, physical condition, expiry date, bank logo, hologram, etc. The dealer has vouched for the integrity and competence of the cashier, but reports that the cashier may have failed to consider the commonsense question: Why would someone purchase such a big volume of cell cards from StarMart Iloilo which is a retail outlet and not a wholesaler, and therefore does not give a single centavo discount on voluminous purchases.

It is becoming clear that StarMarts may be among the unsuspecting stores targeted by unscrupulous credit-card-using Pinoys because the stores are accredited merchants who take credit-card purchases, and are open to the public 24 hours daily. Although StarMart Iloilo has been paid by Equitable-PCIB for this transaction, it appears that Gilda S. Aldon is not working alone but with a syndicate.

To guard against being duped by credit card scammers, StarMart Iloilo suggests that dealers be aware of the following:

  • Most cards used in a swindle, though approved through the Equitable network T7 after being swiped, are not from Equitable Bank but are cards of other banks.

  • It is important to verify at all times the card number imprinted on the sales slip against that on the terminal.

  • That approval code is not a guarantee that the transaction is legitimate or card presented is authentic. Also, approval code obtained only guarantees that there is an available credit line on the credit card but it does not guarantee that the user is the actual cardholder.

  • For suspicious cards or cardholders, do swipe the card but also call the network authorizer for ‘CODE 10.’

  • Do not allow multiple purchases. Consolidate the transactions into one and use a single approval code for the total amount of the transaction.

  • By sharing information and feedback on a daily basis, cashiers may be able to help spot credit cardholders going in and out of our store premises often.

  • It is always best to develop a SIXTH SENSE for transactions that may go wrong!

By being more vigilant and practicing team work, dealers can limit charge-backs to their stores. Stay alert because these counterfeit cardholders are well-groomed and are not very suspicious- looking at the onset.


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