Open Thread Wednesday 1/16/08


Whew! Runnin' late… soundin' great…. 

This week, a few ideas from "No One of Consequence" to get you thinkin':

Gristedes: They're moving everything around on the shelves. It's so confusing. I haven't yet been able to figure out the logic behind the new product locations. Not that the store was very well organized before, but this somehow seems worse. Maybe I'm just getting old and resisting change.

The scaffolding (technically "Sidewalk Bridge") is being removed from Pineapple Walk.

Also — Brooklyn Heights Cinema to expandBrooklyn Heights #2 in parking tickets, Wine Bar opens at 50 Henry Street

…and whatever else is on your mind! 

Flickr photo by digiart2001

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  • GHB

    Hmmm… thanks for the hint, Cranky. I’ll keep it in mind.

  • nabeguy

    Certainly does NOOQ. I know who my bet is on, but the qustion is whether it’s the merchants or their clerks that are involved.

  • B-Ware

    My wife and I have definitley tippled in the past few months.

  • Billy

    This is all crap. i don’t believe it. Neither I, or my wife or anyone we know personally in our building or in the neib has had this happen to their credit card. If it did happen to me I would be on here telling everybody EXACTLY WHERE I thought my card numbers were stolen. You are full of baloney, whiners anonymous.

  • bornhere

    I don’t know, Billy. Baiting people about specifics doesn’t make sense. My sister and two of her friends all made purchase at a liquor store in the Heights. Some time thereafter, my sister was called to verify gas station charges made in Florida the day following the liquor store purchases. Why is this so hard to believe? I seem to have annual or semi-annual debit card issues (“No, I did not authorize purchases at, Sir”), although I connect those inconveniences to online shopping.

  • HDEB

    For me to state a specific store that I think might be the source of the fraudulent use of my cards would be a shot in the dark. I use my card too much to narrow it down.

    I (unfortunately) accept that every year (at least once) a card of mine is used fraudulently and that there’s nothing I can do about it. The bank has always (except once) been very good about quickly and painlessly removing the charges.

    Billy: What would be the motivation to write on this thread that your cc# had been compromised if it hadn’t?

  • Sam

    Which liquor store? There are several in the Heights. I always go to the one on Montague ST. No trouble yet.

  • Jen

    My fiance and I have both had our cc numbers stolen too! His was a Citibank VISA, mine’s a Chase VISA. I had $1100 in fradulent charges right before xmas — all at gas stations and Wal-Marts in West Palm Beach, FL. Chase didn’t alert me until the 16th transaction had gone through.

  • GHB

    Sometimes they pile up the purchases so quickly that it’s not flagged until several transactions have gone through. I had about 10 of them, all on the same day. Each one was for $200 at different Walmart stores. Normally, why would the bank flag a single $200 purchase? By the time Chase got wind of it and closed my account, 10 purchases had been made. Still, they flagged them all on the same day and the purchases will be expunged from my record. I’d say that the bank fraud divisions are doing a pretty good job.

  • Jen

    I honestly don’t think it’s a particular store in the Heights — it’s got to be a crime ring using credit card processing companies, or something bigger. That said, I did use my card for purchases at many places in the Heights. I’ve since stopped using my debit card for anything other than ATM withdrawals and am also checking my statement online daily. I can’t imagine the crazy amounts of money banks lose because of scams like this.

  • nabeguy

    Definitely second the idea that you should check your statements on-line regularly. That’s how I first found out about the fraudulent charge on my wife’s MC. To Amex’s credit, they notified me within a day of the charge and it never made it to my statement, plus I had a replacement card in 2 days. No moss under their feet….

  • JL

    3 cheers for AMEX, same deal as nabeguy. I have always found their customer service to be head and shoulder’s above the rest (especially for disputes). They handle all the paperwork and make it much less stressful than similar situations with Citibank. It is also nice to have AMEX service centers in most major cities so you can get a new card rather quickly.

  • Billy

    Is this one of those things where everyone gets text-messaged at the same time and then they all show up in a certain place, like Grand Central, wearing pajamas or no pants?

  • hoppy

    At the risk of sounding like a shill, I’ll say that I’ve been using my Amex Blue exclusively, as opposed to my Chase Visa, since 2003 (after I kept getting weird random charges on Visa in small amounts ($8-$25) for Fla. car services and software companies in Arizona among other things). Visa gladly eliminated these charges of course, but it was annoying nonetheless. However, since I’ve been using it exclusively for the past five years, I personally have never had any sort of security compromise or misbilling from Amex. Granted the cash reward from Blue doesn’t amount to a windfall–maybe 2%-3% per year overall- but it’s been smooth sailing so far (knock on wood).

  • T

    My first time having fraudulent charges on my debit (MC) card ever happened Jan. 7-8. Thankfully, my bank (USAA – I love them) caught them within a day of the first purchase and only four transactions went through. My bank told me that they were swiped transactions. Three of them were for ~$75 of gas each at an Amoco in FL, the fourth was for a similar amount to “murphy6920@wal-mart”. I only use my card at neighborhood grocery, drug, and liquor stores (I generally pay cash at restaurants).

  • Hannah

    Also my first time w/ fraud on any of my cards and it was also for gas stations in Florida. Citibank called to alert me that there were several charges in Florida made yesterday – I reiterated that I’ve been in NYC and they’re issuing a new card. Fun fun.

  • nancy

    Add me to the list. Chase Visa with $3K worth of charges down in Florida, that started after January 2.

  • Kate

    I read this thread on Wednesday, and the following Wednesday Citibank called me to alert me to suspicious activity on my debitcard…..7 authorizations in Melbourne and Kissimee for $1.00 which have since turned into $100 each. AND…it was the murphy/walmart piece that came up for 4 of them! This is pretty eerie, and i want to do something about it! Citibank is taking care of things for me personally, but the fact remains that people in our community are getting scammed. I would be willing to detail all of the places i have used my card…it’s pretty regular and just requires going through statements.


  • Susan and Eddie

    We too have had 1 credit card (Discover) and 2 bank cards, Citibank and Chase
    compromised in the last 2 months. Charges also made in Florida. Gas stations, Walmart/Sams Club,Winne Dixie, Blockbuster video.
    I have only used my debit/bank card at only one local merchant. In response to the Liquor store: They do not take Discover card, so as far as I’m concerned that rules them out for us.
    Someone here suggested that we contact the proper authorities; my husband contacted the local precinct and was told that they will look into it but that the crime was committed in another state, therefore it is out of their jurisdiction. That doesn’t make sense to me since the copy of the card was made here… just goes to show how much the police around here care about these things.
    Oh, Citibank advised me to look out for any merchant that “double swipes your card.” (ie: “Sorry, your card didn’t go through. I need to swipe it again”)

  • theft

    3 different cards taken since December, most recent three weeks ago. We need to see where we all go in the hood. I have used all 3 cards in the liquor store but will not accuse anyone because I have no proof and do shop in other stores in the neighborhood. By the way, all the purchases were in Florida gas stations and Bestbuy in Florida. What should we all do?

  • poohster

    I commented on this a while back, but in November, my card was duplicated and used at a gas station called Racetrac, in Ft. Meyers, FL. The sum wasn’t huge and the bank contacted me immediately, cancelling the card and saving me from what I can only presume would be larger charges down the road. A few friends in the neighborhood have had the same problem and we’ve found what we think may be a ‘common denominator.’ Okay – this could be coincidence or it could be something. Naming names? No, I don’t want to do that in this type of forum – not unless we have a Town Hall kind of meeting. And from what I’ve been hearing and reading over the past two months, we’d have to hold it at Madison Square Garden.

  • Publius

    Poohster: That’s a good idea to hold a public gathering. Perhaps at a local watering hole on a weekend to maximize participation of those who want to compare notes and try to bring something concrete to law enforcement.

    I’m in the debit card business, and I can tell you that local law enforcement does not pursue card fraud unless the amount is over $20k. Perhaps if you can all get together and show that your collective losses are over that amount, you can get a local detective on the case and provide that detective with some of your research.

  • theft

    Ok, how do we get a neighborhood meeting about this. I have a feeling this will not end anytime soon. Like I said the last card was comprimised 3 weeks ago and used in Florida. Post signs in the neighborhood etc…? Also Poohster…is there anyway to contact you to discuess my common shopping with yours and your friends, not to accuse anyone but to be more careful when I am shopping in the neighborhood. Thank you.

  • cranberry

    My debit card was used to make purchases at 5 different walmarts in florida over thanksgiving. 2 weeks later the same thing happened to my friend who lives in park slope. Just yesterday I was in Texas at my fiances parents house. His mom opened her chase bill at the breakfast table and almost fell off her chair. There were $27,000 in fraudulent charges, almost all of them at walmarts in florida and some in georgia. She may have used her card here in brooklyn while visiting some time, but I think this kind of thing is happening all over. I will say however that I have personally had my card swiped twice at Gristedes, once in the regular computer and then a second time in a small device kept on the side. The clerk said she had to do this because the first one doesn’t work right or something. I remember thinking it was suspicious because it happened right after I had discovered the fraudulent charges on my card. I went home and mentioned it to my fiance and he was just like “yeah they always do that”. This was before I knew about the skimmer devices being used to steal numbers, which I just found out yesterday. Now I am extremely suspicious of them and almost want to go down their right now and see if they swipe my card twice.

  • anon

    Anytime I have had an issue with fraudulent charges on my card it has been after a visit to our favorite neighborhood grocer. Gristedes. If anyone else has experienced this please post here. If there are enough of us then we know the culprit.

  • Tim N.

    Count us in, too… my wife had over $400 in charges from Winn-Dixie and gas stations around Hialeah, Florida. Interesting about the Gristedes lead… we’ll check that out.

    Is it Visas and MC’s mostly?

  • Anthony

    I too was a victim of credit card fraud. Someone duplicated my debit card number and made fraudulent charges in Austin, Texas just before Christmas of this year. They spent money at a place called “La Hacienda”, Hess gas stations and a diamond store. I live in the Hotel St. George and another 2 residents my friends have had smiliar problems this year as well with credit card numbers being stolen and used in Florida at a gas stations. We too all thought about where we used our cards and come to the conclusion of a few places including this below mentioned “liquor store” in BK Heights! What the hell is going on, I am uising cash for on now!

  • Anthony

    Ah they spent money at a Macy’s in Austin, Texas as well! I would love to have a community meeting to all discuss this issue it seems to be hitting a lot of people. My friend thinks the news should be involved and I agree, any thoughts?

  • Swiper

    This is a nationwide issue not a BH one. Perhaps you should call AG Cuomo.

  • cranberry

    update: talked to my fiance’s mother today and the only place she used her card when she visited us a few months ago was….gristedes