DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — A suburban family's story is yet another reminder that you can never be too careful when it comes to your money and financial fraud.
On Monday, the Dunlaps found a strange charge from Portillo's on their Visa bill — $68.94 for food they never got to enjoy.
"As soon as I saw the weird charge, before we called the bank, we both checked our wallets to see if we had our actual physical cards with us and we both did," Amy Dunlap said.
So then she called her bank, which cancelled her card and erased the charge. Chase told Amy her card had been swiped right in front of the cashier at Portillo's. The chip never used, and the crime wasn’t committed online.
"Professor Fraud" Bill Kresse from Governors State University said software from the dark web was used to place the Dunlaps' stolen credit card data right onto the criminal's own card.
"So what you have then is a credit card with a bad guy's name and signature on the back, but the account information encoded in magnetic stripe is the stolen information," Kresse said.
The key to catching the crook? Seeing if the credit card number on the card matches the number on the display.
Amy’s husband Lloyd takes this one step further. He wonders how the thieves got around the new-ish technology of the credit card chip.
"On occasion, I’ll use the swipe when the chip doesn’t work. I would imagine that is a work around that other people can use even when it's not their own card," Lloyd said.
"Or, make purchases at retailers that only use the stripe and not the chip," Kresse said.
Portillo's doesn't accept credit card chips. They aren’t spending the money to convert until they have to. Now, it could cost them.
Kresse said for the past four years, almost all retailers are now on the hook for losses if they don’t buy into the chip technology specifically designed to prevent it.
As for the Dunlaps, they realize things could have been a lot worse for them financially. They were one of the lucky ones. A little inconvenience, over a lot of fraudulent french fries and dogs.
"We’ll probs have a heightened sense of alert in our house now as a result of this, Lloyds said.
The Dunlaps from Downers Grove were likely victims of what cybersecurity experts call a "credit card dump."
Amy and Lloyd, like most people who’ve been victims of credit card fraud, have no idea how their account information was stolen in the first place.
Kresse said the best security combo these days when it comes to your credit card: the chip and pin. It combines what you have — the chip on your credit card — with what you know — the pin number in your head.