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AT&T To Use Phone Geolocation To Prevent Credit Card Fraud

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the so-be-good-for-goodness-sake dept.

Crime 228

jfruh (300774) writes "Imagine you've spent years making credit card purchases in your home state of California, and suddenly a bunch of charges appear the card in Russia. Your bank might move to shut the card down for suspected fraud, which would be great if your account number had been stolen by hackers — but really irritating if you were on vacation in Moscow. AT&T is proposing a service that would allow customers to let their bank track their movements via their cell phone, to confirm that you (or at least your phone) and your credit card are in the same place."

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Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172839)

A lot of people don't travel with their phones to foreign countries because it's too damn expensive.

Re:Stupid (5, Insightful)

ohieaux (2860669) | about 5 months ago | (#47172973)

I absolutely pull out my AT&T sim card before traveling. I've seen too many stories of people getting gouged by US cellphone companies.

This sounds like a disaster for someone trapped overseas. It sounds more like a way for AT&T to force customers into the trap of using their cell phone overseas.

Re:Stupid (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173343)

Exactly. Yet another reason to never do business with AT&T.

Not really (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#47173505)

All the carriers will be doing this soon. Your cell phone will eventually replace your credit cards (the industry is just waiting on Apple to put a NFC in the iPhone, and Apple is just trying to figure out how to charge the CC industry for the privilege :P ).

This is basically the beginning of the end of Credit Card fraud. For all we love to romanticize hacker thiefs the reality is that in 10 years big data + cheap powerful handheld computers + geolocation will make it damn near impossible to commit. The only thing holding it back was that it was cheaper to let the fraud happen. With computing power getting cheaper and more common place that's not true anymore.

Re:Not really (4, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | about 5 months ago | (#47173559)

So what about those of us who refuse a smartphone for various reasons? I wouldn't mind having one but I'm not going to shell out another $20/month for internet on a device that I mainly use in a place where I already pay for the internet.

and $15-$20 a meg data roaming will kill that idea (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47173573)

and $15-$20 a meg data roaming will kill that idea

Re:and $15-$20 a meg data roaming will kill that i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173687)

and $15-$20 a meg data roaming will kill that idea

so buy a local sim card for ~$5 a gig! Oh yeah...I forgot you guys need to get permission from mommy mobile to swap sims

domestically stupid (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#47173521)

nothing in TFA (or the ATT page it links to) say this is **international only**

I did note this in TFA however...

AT&T plans to test a service allowing payment card providers to access the location of a customer's phone to improve the accuracy of fraud prevention systems for transactions made abroad.

this is tracking your phone, all the time, and letting your credit card company access the data

I see this as using fraud to justify spying on you

International roaming might be convenient ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 5 months ago | (#47172977)

A lot of people don't travel with their phones to foreign countries because it's too damn expensive.

AT&T lets you turn international roaming on and off on a monthly basis. Last time I traveled I turned it on for one month.

It may not be as cost effective as getting a local phone or sim but its pretty damn convenient, especially if not using many minutes or MB when traveling. At least for a business trip I made to Europe a few years ago.

Re:International roaming might be convenient ... (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 5 months ago | (#47173165)

T-Mobile has free international data roaming and cheap calls.
ATT is terrible.

Re:International roaming might be convenient ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173233)

Do you think T-Mobile will continue that policy once the Sprint purchase of T-Mobil completes?

Re:International roaming might be convenient ... (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47173291)

Sprint's buying a gas station chain?

Why?

Re:International roaming might be convenient ... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173357)

Vonage Extensions was more convenient. Yeah, I had to find WiFi, but I could talk as long as I wanted for free. Back home or in the country I was in.

Re:Stupid (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 months ago | (#47173073)

A lot of people don't travel with their phones to foreign countries because it's too damn expensive.

I travel to Italy several times a year, I purchased an iPod Touch and loaded Skype on it for making phone calls overseas...

Re:Stupid (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47173359)

Or because they simply don't work over there.

Not every country has a peering agreement with every other one. Not to mention that frequencies may differ between countries. I, myself, never take my cellphone with me traveling outside of Europe, mostly for those reasons. Instead I simply buy a cheap one when I arrive there.

Re:Stupid (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47173545)

A lot of people don't travel with their phones to foreign countries because it's too damn expensive.

If the default is to allow charges when your cell-phone location is not known, then it should not be a problem. In other words, it only blocks a card charge if the charge is in one location and the active phone in another. The risk still remains they could smash your phone and charge something real quick, but that's not the kind of theft/fraud this is meant to stop.

I wouldn't mind this if it were opt-in.

No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173649)

Seriously, why are we still stuck with the idea of credit card numbers? Ie, give some a number and date and they can draw money from it. It's ridiculous. Each transaction should have a unique id, with a set amount, that can only be used once. This is one of the things I really like about Bitcoin.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173651)

A lot of people don't travel with their phones to foreign countries because it's too damn expensive.

Walk up to SIM vending machine. Insert credit card. Buy prepaid sim with voice&data. Get on with life.

Seriously. The rest of the world uses SIMs like they were meant to be used: fungible and disposable. Here in the US, we're ten years behind the rest of the world regarding phone & internet convenience.

Incoming too? (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 5 months ago | (#47173673)

Are incoming messages expensive too?
In EU, incoming SMS are free wherever you are (home network or roaming).
Us european tend to keep an older phone around. Swap your *home* SIM card into the old phone and put whatever you use when abroad (SIM with plan in target country, prepaid SIM for target country, or just some random sim that is cheap while roaming like XX-Sim).
We're still reachable on the usual number (can get message for free, can also acept calls but that has roaming charges), and have the travelling option on the main phone.

The Banks I've seen simply contact you instead of relying on complex tracking (you receive an SMS: "your credit card has been used in an usual place. Please contact us"). Just call the bank back and either authorise the payment or announce a stolen card/number.
Other banks alternatively use a side-channel confirmation (3DSecure, for example) while shopping online.
It has the advantage of being less invasive and not require an active collaboration of Phone provider. (you only confirm when a flag is raised, you don't need the bank and the phone provider continuously monitoring you).

Or call your credit card company ... (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 5 months ago | (#47172863)

Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (3, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 5 months ago | (#47172933)

>Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.

Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad.
You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 5 months ago | (#47172989)

You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

You've just described every business, not just banks. Well, at least the successful ones. They are all in it for their needs. Your needs only come into play only to the extent it's necessary for them to meet their needs.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47173223)

You've just described every business, not just banks. Well, at least the successful ones. They are all in it for their needs. Your needs only come into play only to the extent it's necessary for them to meet their needs.

And YOU'VE just described what my father explained to me, when I was small, is called "doing bad business". Sadly, many in the U.S. these days have seen these big corrupt corporations, and assumed things were always that way. They weren't. In fact they still aren't, in most cases, that don't involve giant corporations or government.

"Good business" is when both people walk away from a transaction satisfied that they got a fair deal. And ideally, when each thinks they got the better deal.

"Bad business" is gouging customers for services that aren't really what they want. Only one party is happy, and the other is greatly dissatisfied.

Free markets depend on the first kind of business. Many economists say the second kind doesn't exist for long without government collusion.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47173379)

Free market first of all depends on a free market. If you can still find one somewhere, please gimme a call so I know where to go.

The only reason companies can get away with shoddy business practices like this is that the free market is a myth. In a free market, the BUYER would dictate what goods and services are offered simply because he'd only buy those that suit his needs. Now look around you and tell me that this is the case.

Exactly right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173533)

We are sold this myth in the US that we have free markets when the truth is the opposite. We have oligarchies - businesses that have convinced our legislatures that in the "public good", they need to have legislated closed markets.

Whenever a business complains about Government regulations, they are full of shit. Or they don't like them when it harms them but love it when it keeps out competitors.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 5 months ago | (#47173671)

how quaint, you must have been born before the scourge of the MBA took over American business. (i totally agree with you, or your dad .. as it were.)

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 months ago | (#47172999)

Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad. You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

I bank with B of A, and travel a few times a year to far away places. I've never had this issue. Perhaps you need to look into a different bank?

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173123)

On the otherhand, if you use BofA's shopsafe for overseas online purchases [bankofamerica.com] - which requires you to login and generate a new single-use CC# each time - they will still shutdown your card every single time. You have to call them to re-enable it and prove your identity by telling them information that is available to anyone who can log in to the shopsafe system.

And they also give you that obnoxious line about how it is for your protection when in fact it is all about them protecting themselves at your inconvenience.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 5 months ago | (#47173155)

I have a BofA credit card in California.
I went to Seattle for the weekend and BofA blocked my credit card.
BofA is terrible.
I'm going to Europe in a few days. I called them to tell them I'm traveling. I don't have high expectations that they won't block my card again. I have other cards.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 5 months ago | (#47173253)

I have a BofA credit card in California. I went to Seattle for the weekend and BofA blocked my credit card. BofA is terrible. I'm going to Europe in a few days. I called them to tell them I'm traveling. I don't have high expectations that they won't block my card again. I have other cards.

Don't know if it matters but I called the fraud related number on the statement ... good luck

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173495)

I know that in the past, the problem with B of A is that they would not stop any charges to your cards. One day after my card info was stolen, charges appeared in Great Britain and somewhere in the Asian Pacific islands on the same day. And even though I had never even traveled outside of my home country at that point in my life, they saw no reason to question those charges.

I was treated like a criminal and had to sign multiple notarized statements before they would "consider" the charges as fraudulent. I have had no accounts of any kind with B of A since.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47173007)

They do.

Yours may not, or you talked to the wrong person, but its fairly common. Bank of America certainly does, as does Capital One. BoA emailed informing me I would be cut off within 24 hours if I didn't respond or answer when called, then called me once while in Vegas blowing money, after confirming with them that I was legitimately spending my money, I asked if I could avoid the problem in the future, so they don't cut me off if I DON'T get the call/email in time. The answer was simple, call us before going out of town at the number on the card, inform them of the trip and time period and they'll change their processing (but not stop it) so you won't be left stranded.

AT&T does the same thing for phone calls, tell them you're leaving the country and don't want to be considered suspicious they'll note the time of the trip and give you a pass for that time, they also suggested I sign up for the 'world' plan for roaming for that month as it was something like $5, which was basically the cost of the per minute rate in that country for AT&T roaming if I wasn't on the plan but $1 or so on the plan. Just remember to cancel at the end of the trip.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173377)

I use my credit cards all the time to buy stuff online from merchants all over the world. I've never had a problem with a bank thinking I was in another part of the world and freezing my account. I've never had a problem with actual travel either.

Besides, my upcoming travel plans are none of my bank's business. You never now when an unscrupulous employee might use such knowledge to plan a burglary of your vacant home.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 5 months ago | (#47173039)

>Or call your credit card company before you leave and say you will be traveling in country X on these days.

Tried that. They still blocked the card after my first transaction abroad. You are making the mistake of thinking banks have processes that meet your needs, rather than their needs.

They need you to use your credit card to make the real money in fees, so their needs and your needs are aligned in this respect. Sounds more like a run of the mill screwup.

FWIW I called the **fraud related** number on my statement a few days before the trip. Maybe that increases the chance of success.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173409)

I had my main VISA card block me on Black Friday because "I was buying too much at once and it didn't fit my pattern." And I didn't answer my home phone number when they tried to call.

And UNLIKE most people, I cancelled my card as soon as I got home and switched to another one. I put them on a 10-year ban. They went bankrupt and got bought by somebody else.

I had another one block me from the Home Depot by my house where I spend at least $100 every 2 weeks or so (home ownership, ugh). They said, "We've had a lot of fraud at Home Depots." That might mean something if it were in Peoria or somewhere, but it's 2 blocks from my house and I got there every 2 weeks. How lame are your programmers? I cancelled them too.

If a bank blocks you from your money, find another one.

A lot of people are starting to put their money in bitcoin so they can actually have some control over it for once.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (2)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 5 months ago | (#47173563)

This. And when I managed to call, the agent said my prior call and travel notice were in the activity log . . . but somehow hadn't taken effect. The only funny part - the dinky little car rental agency had Skype set up for me to make the US call before I finished asking how I was going to do it. They wanted to make me happy and do business, unlike the banks who figure you have to do business with them whether you're happy or not.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172967)

But then AT&T can't monetize the data they are already tracking. This isn't about responding to consumer demand. It is about AT&T generating a revenue stream.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (3, Insightful)

DrPeper (249585) | about 5 months ago | (#47173229)

THANK YOU! Somebody FINALY got what's really going on here. This isn't about helping customers (at all) it's about AT&T attempting to find an "EXCUSE" to keep and monetize location information. This is a VERY bad idea for consumers.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (4, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | about 5 months ago | (#47172983)

A text whenever your credit card was used saying "Card with number ending in xxxx was used in location yyyy, if this was a fraudulent charge reply to this text" would work just as well without the privacy issue of tracking locations.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47173387)

You understood the problem, but not how that problem is the feature from the AT&T perspective...

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#47173597)

Except that is a great segue into a scam.

- The last four digits of your card are pretty easy to get - they are typically printed out on paper / transmitted in the clear.
- If they have your email (not hard), and they can get you to respond to your message, then they try to have you give them the rest of the card number (for security) and, for even more 'security' your PIN number and
- Profit!

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about 5 months ago | (#47173041)

True story...

About 8 years ago I was going to Europe, so the day before I leave I call up my credit card company to let them know to expect to see a lot of charges from abroad. The account rep tells me that I would not be able to use my card because they had just sent me a new card and the old card had been deactivated. I was to expect the new card to arrive in 3 or 4 days. "Well great," I sez, "but I'm going to be in Europe, so I won't have the new card. Why did you deactivate the old card and send me a new one?" The Answer: they were just replacing people's cards for the hell of it. Credit card companies suck.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 5 months ago | (#47173187)

About 8 years ... they were just replacing people's cards for the hell of it ...

Did the number change? I got an unexpected card replacement around then too and noticed the number had changed. I assumed there was a security breach somewhere and it was being handled quietly,

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (3, Informative)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173431)

ALWAYS have 3 credit cards from 3 different banks. (Preferably VISA, MC and either Discover or AMEX). Diversification is the only way to win.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (0)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 5 months ago | (#47173121)

I'm surprised no one is mentioning the elephant in the room on this: Retailers in foreign countries can't (or won't) handle our low-tech credit cards anyway, so it doesn't really matter - when travelling abroad I'm using cash anyway, and not really by choice.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 months ago | (#47173241)

Oh really?

I've never had that problem ever.

Just like at home, I only handle cash when I absolutely have to. Otherwise I use the plastic.

Merchants want your money. Doesn't matter where they are.

Who knew?

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47173395)

Merchants don't want the hassle of dealing with credit card fraud, though. They will probably not mind doing business with you face to face with your insecure CC, as long as you have some kind of ID that proves that you're you, but don't count on them doing any kind of business with you via internet.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 5 months ago | (#47173287)

Yep... lots of ways to transmit "Uh, I'm in motion!" and as long as the devises that usually move with you move, they know uh... he didn't go from Moscow to LA that fast... one of these charges must be bogus!

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173445)

But that could simply mean that, for instance, you bought a DLL from a developer in Moscow and he used his credit card system to process it. I got a charge like that once and the company was absolutely SHOCKED when I told them it was legit. They kept trying to get me to say it wasn't.

Re:Or call your credit card company ... (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 5 months ago | (#47173607)

Miswired cared system then... "I've got the customer online!" translated into "I've got the customer with me!" That's separate modes on all credit card networks for exactly this situation!

Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172867)

How about they just require a live video feed from our phones to confirm every transaction?

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173303)

it would be better if the banks could implant an anal probe to confirm identity

Well that creates new problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172885)

What if, sitting in my chair in Kansas City MO, surfing happily over my Google Fiber connection, I decided to order an authentic Vladimir Putin Rocks! t-shirt from Moscow? Would it get rejected?

I don't ever travel overseas. I would much prefer the ability to put a restriction on my credit card to U.S. purchases only without confirmation. I suspect that would solve 90+% of the problems.

Precisely the last thing you should ever do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172905)

Never trust a bank.

online purchases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172909)

Uhhmmm, there are lot's of times that you and your credit card and your phone are in one place and you use your credit card to make a transaction in another place (online, automated, phone, etc), so how exactly is this supposed to work?

Why cant you pick by regions on a map (2)

Marrow (195242) | about 5 months ago | (#47172913)

Everybody has a website these days. Just let us pick the regions where we will allow transactions to take place. If we are going on vacation, we can light up Russia or Antartica. Then we can turn it off again as soon as we get back. Seems like it would take very little effort on their part to setup.

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173013)

Great, now the card number thieves have another Website to attack. The can use your number to find and set Russia, or wherever, to "accepted".

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47173031)

They don't take credit in Antartica, only a specific debt card at the research stations and the military debt card at the military bases.

Are you sure? (5, Funny)

Marrow (195242) | about 5 months ago | (#47173133)

Maybe your credit was.....frozen....at the time.

Sorry bout that, couldn't resist.

Re:Are you sure? (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 5 months ago | (#47173231)

(insert obligatory "Frozen ASSets" comment here)

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 5 months ago | (#47173295)

They don't take credit in Antartica, only a specific debt card at the research stations and the military debt card at the military bases.

Did you hear about the Slashdot commenter who didn't get the joke?

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173247)

Um yah ... my Bank had this service for YEARS, decades even. They JUST discontinued it in the last 30 days.

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 5 months ago | (#47173297)

Too many ways to contact sound fun... and if your parents hit a button on an interface you said "I don't use that screen!" uh, oh... fraud charge!

Re:Why cant you pick by regions on a map (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 5 months ago | (#47173331)

Knowing financial companies, this would most likely be a Java heavy widget that breaks every time Oracle sneezes.

As it is, people are too lazy to think ahead and call their CC to let them know about their travel plans (a 2 minute phone call from personal experience). Do you honestly think those same people will pry their heads out of their asses long enough to go to a website?

Buying a new phone (4, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 5 months ago | (#47172919)

You're screwed if you break your phone and then go to the store to buy a replacement.

Re:Buying a new phone (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 5 months ago | (#47173201)

How does that follow? It's the same SIM; they'll know who you are.

Re:Buying a new phone (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 5 months ago | (#47173361)

Not quite... if you charge the phone to the same account the bill goes to... they notice "Old phone offline... same card purchased a new one, let's follow that move!"

My wife borrowed my phone today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47172941)

Now I can't buy anything

Re:My wife borrowed my phone today (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | about 5 months ago | (#47173309)

That's a feature, not a bug :P

Re:My wife borrowed my phone today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173595)

It is a bug if my wife borrows my phone. It is a feature if I borrow hers.

That is why I don't give my bank my cell phone # (1)

charles05663 (675485) | about 5 months ago | (#47172947)

Way too easy for them to put everything together.

Doesn't Protect the Consumer (1)

unixcorn (120825) | about 5 months ago | (#47173009)

This is for the banks and only the banks. Since most offer some sort of fraud protection, this protects them from loss. I get it but I am unwilling to let my phone company connect with my credit card bank for any reason. It's a tenuous relationship as it is with me and vendor advertising partnerships. I can't imagine what fine print would be part of that privacy agreement.

Re:Doesn't Protect the Consumer (1)

taustin (171655) | about 5 months ago | (#47173433)

It is to the benefit of the card holder in that you're less likely (assuming it works the way they say it does) that your card will be frozen while you are travelling in another country (or another state).

And once they've got millions of people signed up, then they change the privacy policy to "we will sell anything we feel like to the highest bidder, because those millions were the entire point anyway."

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173015)

suddenly a bunch of charges appear the card in Russia

Is that even english?

Fine Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173035)

.. what could possibly go wrong?

Obligatory (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47173037)

In Soviet Russia, credit card charge YOU!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173249)

Came for the "Soviet Russia" comments, wasn't disappointed.

nice idea but radio waves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173125)

but what if I am in an underground shopping mall or a building with lots of metal and reinforced concrete? oh wait, maybe the phone will connect to a public wifi hotspot.. I guess the bank or credit card company could call your cell phone to verify the purchase but what if there is no hotspot around like in the middle of a rural place in the U.S.A. I think there are some places that don't have 2G let alone 3G cell phone coverage.

Re:nice idea but radio waves (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 5 months ago | (#47173307)

Well, even if you left your phone at home, there's ways to tell that you moved from A to B successfully. This is why transit records, even if they show up too late to alert a cashier, can be called up and say "You didn't do that, we'll figure out who did!"

Ummm... no. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173127)

Not a chance, AT&T (or any other carrier).

I like to be somewhat amorphous (or at least difficult to pin down). I use AT&T, but I have a pre-paid phone that is not associated with my name in any way. I pay anonymously at the kiosk to avoid state taxes. I dislike tracking profoundly, and as a result, I have an Internet setup that lets me surf the Internet at large while appearing to be a guy in the Netherleands. This has been successful for years. I test it every so often to see what can be learned about me. So far, so good. I don't even have a credit card, so this little plan is futile for people like me who like to pay cash to avoid transaction histories and profile building. Marketers and ad companies hate people like me, because I deny them their stupid data they have no business collecting anyway.

The time is coming where one's purchases will affect one's insurance premiums, overal suitability for certain purcahses, credit ratings, etc. No, thank you. I'll continue to do my best to stay under the radar of the capitalist theives.

Re:Ummm... no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173631)

The time is coming where one's purchases will affect one's insurance premiums, overal suitability for certain purcahses, credit ratings, etc. No, thank you. I'll continue to do my best to stay under the radar of the capitalist theives.

What do you mean coming?

Its been that way for a long time.

Re:Ummm... no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173637)

hey, this sounds really cool. can I try out your Netherlands internet guy setup? just leave the ip address and login info here. thx

Insensitive Clods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173213)

I don't have AT&T you insensitive clods!

This is how it starts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173235)

Soon AT&T will be selling your location to anyone else with money.

This has already happend to me (2)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 5 months ago | (#47173237)

BOA did this to me a few years ago.. I'd make some purchases before traveling abroad only to have my card shut off when I was in Ukraine.. You have to warn them of your travel plans, as there is a very real chance you will be cut off from your funds. This happened to my wife, and it happened to me. It pays to call customer service. BOA has been pretty draconian to us in the past.. It once even shut off my card because I bought too much food at my local supermarket.. Card service providers mentioned that it was above my normal trend for supermarket purchases ( I have excellent credit, and am not sure why they were so skittish; I have no history of fraudulent transactions) ... We had a screaming infant with us at the time, and had to call customer service with a large basket of food we couldn't walk out with, who would have otherwise been fine if we didn't have to wait so long on the phone..

These days I'm careful to carry around more than one credit card in case I run into a similar issue..

Re:This has already happend to me (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 months ago | (#47173293)

BOA did this to me a few years ago.. I'd make some purchases before traveling abroad only to have my card shut off when I was in Ukraine.

Well, Mr. Putin - maybe NEXT TIME you'll think before you invade another country!

Re:This has already happend to me (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173457)

Why don't you just get a different credit card and drop the people who are treating you badly?

Tracked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173259)

Why does AT&T have to 'track you' couldn't they just send you a text that says, 'open our app to verify your location for 10 seconds?' Talk about overkill.

Re:Tracked? (1)

taustin (171655) | about 5 months ago | (#47173411)

Do you really want to be behind the guy in line at the cash register waiting for that kind of confirmation?

Hang on a sec ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173271)

If AT&T creates an interface to let third parties track a cell phone how can we be sure AT&T won't start offering that interface to everyone? Imagine getting a text about some great sale at the store just around the corner, and every other store within 1 mile, or getting put on some watch list because you attended (or were just near) a demonstration.
 
I would be willing to bet that AT&T already has the tracking interface software ready, Hells, the NSA has likely been using it for years. This announcement to "help consumers avoid credit fraud" is just make real-time tracking of individuals sound like it is a "Good Thing" (TM).
 
What was that line about the camel's nose? Once you let it in the tent the rest of the camel will follow.
 
If your worried about your bank freezing your card while abroad all you have to do is let your bank know before you leave that your going to be in such and such between this and this date. been doing that my entire life and never had problems.

There may be some problems (1)

alva_edison (630431) | about 5 months ago | (#47173289)

Shopping on the Internet is quick and convenient, and international. Using a credit card, charges appear as if you had made a purchase from wherever their merchant account lists as their address. In general, your location (as provided by your IP address) is not taken into account. This has already caused me problems with an overzealous bank that doesn't believe I would be shopping in Germany or Japan. Now if they can see that I'm obviously still in the US (via my cellphone), well then.

Re:There may be some problems (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47173485)

All the more reason why bitcoin will succeed. Because it's international and anonymous by design.

Yeah...cuz I trust AT&T. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173305)

I mean, why not voluntarily hand over more info to a company who clearly respects our privacy [wikipedia.org] ?

If someone steals your credit card, you're liable up to $50 [nolo.com] . The bank is responsible for the rest-- and they don't put in place potential security systems [wikipedia.org] standard in other countries.

So yeah, nothing says "privacy dream team" like ATT+the banking system.

ATT asking for your personal private information would do more to protect the bank's bottom line- not to protect you.

...or just fix the system. (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#47173333)

This seems really dumb to me. Having your bank track your whereabouts seems like a bad trade-off. How about we just fix the credit card system instead?

Like how about we use a private key encryption scheme instead of a credit card number in order to pay? If you want to have cell phones involved, they would make an easy method of storing and accessing the key, providing a digital signature when needed. Doing that would actually provide a huge improvement in security, and do so without having my bank constantly tracking my whereabouts.

Re:...or just fix the system. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47173421)

You're still working under the assumption that anyone wants to make CCs more secure, not get more information about you to sell.

This benefits them (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 5 months ago | (#47173399)

not us. Sorry CC companies, guess you will have to keep up proper diligence.

Push payments? (3, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 5 months ago | (#47173455)

If they're going to track your cel phone, that means they're assuming you have your cel phone on you. So why not send the authorization code to your cel phone and let you give it to the merchant? That way it doesn't matter if the card's stolen, the merchant can't get an auth code if you aren't present with your phone. Or better yet, have an app that'll let you punch in the merchant's ID and transaction number and initiate the payment from your end, rather than having the merchant handle your card? That makes stealing the card pointless, because just having the card isn't enough to let you make a charge.

Dumb (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47173555)

I have never understood this problem. Let me opt in and out of purchases outside my country... or even my state. The code would be trivial. Let me log into my CC admin page and check off where I can use the card. It's that simple.

Wouldn't it be easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173625)

... to just tell your bank you're going abroad, they send you a confirmation letter with a code, you then phone the bank with the code, to confirm you received it, and requested they prepare for you to be using your card abroad? It isn't rocket science, is it...

I called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47173675)

I'm on vacation right now (Israel). I come here often to visit my family and I found out that renting a car here trips up their fraud detection and my card gets deactivated. So before I go I call and give them the dates by using a little known feature of today's smart phones: Making phone calls!

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