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Thread: I don't understand...

  1. #21
    mike
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    I would rather take my chances on the very unlikely event that some lazy scum steals my card and spends my $7 than pay some lazy scum even more than this each month in interest fees. Either way I am getting stolen from, it might as well be the lower and rarer amount. Credit cards may be convenient in emergencies, but this whole spending money you don't have shit is a VERY bad and dangerous idea in my opinion. The average American college student graduating this year will come out of school with a $19,000 debt. The average household's debts are about 85% of their combined income. Laugh at me now, but it's all just going to collapse one day.

  2. #22
    JB
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    You're right Mike. People who charge a million $ worth of useless junk that they can't pay off should never own credit cards. But I like to beat the banking SOB's at their own game. Get an interest generating checking account and link it to a savings and IRA account. Maintain the minimum balance (if they are all linked it's easier than trying to keep the minimum in one acct.) that gives you free checking and no fees. Then get a credit card that has a airline rewards program for any airline (I use Wells Fargo) and charge all your routine daily expenses instead of using cash or checks (gas, groceries, hairdresser, etc.). Then pay it off every month on time so you don't pay interest or late penalties. This results in a free plane ticket to Russia! I get great satisfaction that I can use their money for free and get paid in free airline tickets!
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    ...This results in a free plane ticket to Russia! I get great satisfaction that I can use their money for free and get paid in free airline tickets!
    You are using the money of those people who get caught on this trick. They eventually take a credit and pay interest. Plus, the bank gets a fee from each transaction made by you with a credit card. I bet the bank doesn't loose a cent because of you.
    ~ Мастерадминов Мастерадмин Мастерадминович ~

  4. #24
    JB
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    But I don't pay them a dime. I also will pay the same price to a store for a purchase whether I pay cash or credit so if that store pays a fee to Visa out of my credit card payment it doesn't have any affect on me. And people who get "caught on this trick" don't comprehend how to wisely use credit and should cut up all their cards or lock them up untill they learn how to control their conspicuous consumption. The people who pay interest and/or late fees choose to buy what they can't afford and choose to keep using the cards even though they haven't paid off what they already owe. They had to sign a contract that spells out the credit company's terms so they know they are paying a business for a service. I get sick of people whining that they were the victims of the credit card industry when it was their own greed that got them into financial trouble.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  5. #25
    mike
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    That's a really good idea, but many of those credit card companies are less than honest with their frequent flyer mile-type programs. You seem to have completely lucked out by finding one that doesn't have 400 lines of small print about when and where those miles can be used. My uncle had an American Express like that for his business travelling. One year he could only use them for domestic flights excluding Hawaii and Alaska, and his wife couldn't come with him unless she bought a first class ticket even though he was in economy, another time he wasn't even receiving the amount he was supposed to be getting, and yet another time AMEX decided to change their policy and his 26000 miles he had saved up rolled over on New Year's Eve and became 0 miles.

    And yes, I don't think a bank sees having to give you a free plane ticket as a threat to their corporation. Your plan is a lot more elaborate than mine, I'll admit. I just ignore all of my smaller debts because I know they aren't going to take me to small claims court over a $40 charge, and simply don't talk on the phone with any of the bigger billers. If they can't contact me, how do they know for sure I'm refusing to pay the bill? For all they know I'm in a coma or something It's funny that almost every person in America has to eventually learn how to say, "The check's not there??? That's really weird, because uh...you know, I sent it to you guys a few weeks ago. Well, I'll give it a few more days...and send it again," then hurry up and mail a payment with last month's date on it.

  6. #26
    JB
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    It took me a while and a few mistakes to find this credit card program. I started out with an AT&T card that promised free airmiles then ended up sending me a T-shirt and umbrella with their logo on it. OH BOY WHAT A FASHION STATEMENT! Needless to say that card ended up in the shredder. Now I sit down and spend time carefully reading the disclosure statement of any card I am considering.
    And while it's true I'm no threat to the banking business just think of all the money they would lose if the majority of card holders just bought what they could afford and pay off monthly. But those companies know human nature and are in no danger of losing any money.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  7. #27
    Kim
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    mike - I'm no IT whizz, but I've had IT whizzes who've explained to me how secure sites work. The encryption these sites use is such that they CAN'T be hacked into, but if the encrypted information IS gotten hold of, it'd take the hacker years (depending on the level on encryption) to get your credit card details out of it...

    ...just because a site says its secure, however, doesn't mean they are. You have to check out the details of their encryption level first to ensure that they're up to scratch.

    As you implied, credit card details are swiped from sites that aren't really secure:
    All it takes is for some poor schlub running his online business on a Windows NT machine with a lazy administrator and he might as well hand the database over to Oleg upfront.
    There are many sites out there that are truly secure, and the day a hacker figures out how to get by that level of encryption is the day online shopping will screech to a halt.

  8. #28
    tcc
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    Being "a secure site" normally refers to security of the communication (internet traffic) between you and the store. Instead of using http://, they use https://, and the lock symbol shows up in your browser, telling you that now, no one can "sniff" your traffic and steal the credit card number during the transaction. Encryption and certificates are the primary way this is done; and yes, it would take years to break this code.

    However, once your credit card info gets securely to the store, someone could steal it from there, which is the point Mike was making (i think). At that point, other types of security are needed to safegaurd your data from hackers (firewalls, intrusion detection, controlled access, etc.). This second layer of protection should certainly try keep the site "secure" from break-ins, but it's not part of what's commonly called a "secure site".

    Sorry for the mumbo-jumbo, I'm just feeling a little insecure.

  9. #29
    mike
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    All right, Kim, but these guys stealing the cards aren't going up against the 128-bit SSL encryption schemes of the web interface. They're exploiting software bugs on the server that the administrator hasn't patched which could either potentially allow them to control/crash the computer, or just allow them to execute a program at a higher authorization level. It is possible--regardless of how secure a site may seem--because that platform is still vulnerable to third-party software that runs at an elevated level (or in the case of Microsoft products, the platform itself is so sloppy and insecure that one doesn't need to try very hard). Every server that is running on the planet right now that is connected to the Internet is vulnerable to some form of attack. You can build all the steel walls and tiger pits and spotlights you want, but if you leave the backdoor wide open it doesn't do you any good.

    You're right, the data you transmit back and forth over the web IS encrypted, but this isn't where the theft is occurring. Businesses that save your credit card information on their machines usually don't bother to encrypt it in the database--otherwise it would be inconvenient for them to devote that much processing time for every single database query from a customer. So in the databases the credit card and personal information are in plaintext (or sometimes might be a hash, which isn't really encryption but takes longer to convert back to plaintext). Say there's an overflow bug in IIS that allows you to root the machine, and, like Microsoft usually does, they wait 3 weeks to acknowledge it exists then wait another 2 to offer a fix for it. In that 5 weeks time the bug is already widely known and successfully tried on probably a few hundred sites. And unless it's like tens of thousands of dollars in damage, the FBI most likely won't even bother devoting any manpower towards investigating it.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Just look online to see if anyone's written any complaints about them. Usually there are special websites for consumer grievances against companies they've had trouble with.
    Thank you
    Does anybody know some of such sites?

  11. #31
    mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by marina
    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Just look online to see if anyone's written any complaints about them. Usually there are special websites for consumer grievances against companies they've had trouble with.
    Thank you
    Does anybody know some of such sites?
    Try
    www.complaints.com
    www.baddealings.com

    Oh, if it's a Russian company then I don't know how helpful (probably not at all) they will be. Try searching for the company's name and a keyword like +complaints or +scams or things like that.

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