Recently my shop credit card was used for fraudulent charges. This card is only used for shop related expenses, and of course, mostly merchandise for resale. This was not one of those large corporate data breaches, this was a person who somehow got all of my relevant credit card information to make several purchases.
Initially, an in-store, zero dollar purchase was made in a national shoe store chain by someone who had access to that store’s credit card terminal for manual entry. One can only assume this was done to test that the stolen information was good to make some on-line fraudulent charges.
Luckily, I quickly spotted the fraudulent charges online and had a new card issued, although it was about a week before I had the replacement. During my conversations with vendors while giving them the new credit card information, I learned that other shops call regularly with new credit cards because of credit card compromise.
While it is virtually impossible for us to protect ourselves from the large corporate data breaches, we can protect ourselves from this sort of theft. I have started to ask wholesalers to not keep my credit card information “on file” but rather allow me to pay invoices via Paypal, Square or Intuit, all secured transactions. New NFC technology and Apple Pay seem like future options for our industry as well.
There are certainly dishonest people, who may be disgruntled employees or have an illness that causes him or her to steal from others. Fortunately, there are far more honest, hard-working individuals in our industry.
Can we all start working together? Besides using other instant payment options mentioned above, as an industry, we need to stop keeping credit card information “on-file”. I understand the systems used by some wholesalers limit their options. My hope is those wholesalers who do require credit card information to be kept on file - keep that information secure and control who has access to that information. I will not be responsible for the fraudulent charges in this case, but the hassle of changing credit card numbers was not fun.
Beth Elliott owns Green Planet Yarns in San Jose, CA. She started knitting as a young child and learned crochet as a teenager. She got her start in the needlearts business at her mother's boutique yarn shop in North Carolina.