back to article Coinbase, Worldpay, Visa play blame game after dosh vanishes from crypto-fans' pockets

Customers of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase are still virtually in the dark regarding mysterious withdrawals made from their bank accounts that, in some cases, have apparently left some unlucky punters broke and facing overdraft fees. Last week, netizens watched money drain out of bank accounts connected to Coinbase profiles …

  1. Boohoo4u

    Visa “It's everywhere you want to be” if you want to be broke suddenly without spending a dime.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Cryptocurrency exchanges have historically proven themselves to be run by cowboys and incompetents. The chance that this is VISA's fault is... well...

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Whoops

        I forgot to add "or scammers" (not suggesting that the people behind Coinbase are scammers, though.)

  2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    use virtual credit cards, don't use debit cards as credit cards

    Unless you're really sure your bank has a good policy about disputing charges. I want to say it's been a decade or more since I first discovered virtual credit cards (for me it is through Bank of America on two of my VISA cards with them, I have two more VISA cards with Chase but there is no virtual card options there that I am aware of at least).

    Fire up a virtual card, set a credit limit, and give it to the merchant. If you are picky you can set it to the exact amount and they can't over charge a bit. Otherwise I put a bit of a buffer($10-50) in case the cost estimate was wrong. Have had several of these virtual cards stolen only one of which was actually able to be used (because the merchant I gave the card to(hotel reservation) never charged it).

    It does sometimes make purchasing more complicated, e.g. if I purchase from a "marketplace" site and the vendors on the market place are responsible for charging the transactions(Newegg was like this at one point, not sure if they still are but when I order I still split my orders up anyway) then I have to make sure to input separate transactions for each merchant. In the case of buying airline tickets online with United airlines if I opt to buy flight insurance for my trip I do have to use my real CC# as there is no way (that I have seen) to buy insurance separately(as part of their process), and two different merchants charge the card).

    When I buy from bestbuy online I have to set the credit limit to double the actual purchase amount due to how they place holds on the card for the order process(am assuming they haven't fixed that, but haven't tried my luck recently).

    But the protections are well worth the trade offs for me anyway. For some reason it is kind of fun to trace down what merchant was compromised when one of my virtual cards gets nabbed (because only 1 merchant can use the card). Last time I noticed it was a hotel room I booked, the time before that I noticed was my local cable company. Had a good talk with the cable company the manager was really apologetic offered to pay for credit protection and all I told them no problem, there is no risk for me, I was just wanting to notify them that it happened. The hotel company never replied to my attempt to contact them but their payment processor later sent me messages saying they had been compromised.

    When the virtual card was compromised from the hotel reservation the bank asked me to call the merchant that made the bad charge and get it reversed. Something I've never had to do before. They were surprisingly nice and noticed the shipping address was some strange kind of address that is used to relay things overseas, they didn't question me in the slightest as to the validity of my request and apologized and reversed the charge.

    Another hotel chain when I book reservations sometimes wants me to pay up front for the room(first night), but I have seen they do not actually charge the card any more than the auth amount, so while the room may be $120/night or something, if I set a $10 credit limit on the virtual card the website charges $1 or something to the card and that is it. Not always, but sometimes.

    With virtual cards I don't even hesitate to send them over unsecured channels like email. Once the merchant charges the number it cannot be used by anyone else. The only downside perhaps is in the situations where the merchant does not charge the number that leaves it open for use.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: use virtual credit cards, don't use debit cards as credit cards

      Exactly this.

      I use Coinbase but I've only ever used credit cards (which I pay off using my bank account) to purchase anything. So, as far as I know, I haven't been affected. And even if I had been, it's all going to my credit card which I'm more or less protected on.

      But like you say, you shouldn't use a debit card as a credit card.

  3. DCFusor Silver badge

    Another approach for debit cards

    Might not be for everyone but my small town bank is fine with this: I simply created another checking account specifically for online use. I keep more or less a zero balance in this account, and when I'm going to order from any online vendor (Amazon, DigiKey, Ebay, Banggood, McMaster-Carr and so on) I go to the online web interface for the bank, having done all but one step of checkout at the vendor so I know the precise charge to expect, and transfer just that amount from another, "safe" account before clicking the "finalize order" button on the vendor page. Thus, the money isn't in that checking account for more than a few seconds, which makes it kind of hard to hack with success. I had to tell the bank (more than once) to turn off overdraft protection completely - if someone hacks it I get at most a "bad check charge" but usually not even that (small towns are great - we know who the cool people are, it's the good side of good 'ol boy). I keep around $20 in there for fudge, but that's it.

    Bonus for any dispute is this big long record of me doing that - at the bank - they see my pattern and it makes it hard for any bad guy to argue - I put the vendor name in the transfer into the account.

    Having been hacked twice before this - there have been zero since. Almost makes you think the bad guys have a way of knowing how much is there....and twenty bucks ain't worth it.

    1. Joe Werner

      Re: Another approach for debit cards

      In Germany, the safest way is to pay by bank draft (not many offer this, though). This can be reversed easily by contacting your bank - in contrast to credit card payments, money transferred by yourself, etc. Surprised me when I learned this - not that I had to use this so far.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately...

    When you give out your card details, you’re considered at fault. I had a similar problem with AlItalia (yeah - I know it’s my fault). The system crashed so I called and they promised that there was no reservation and I wouldn’t be charged. Guess what?

    The credit card company was understanding, but as I voluntarily gave my details out, they couldn’t help me. Alitalia obviously denied everything, although they couldn’t explain why they didn’t mail a ticket, or provide any services for the money they took.

    Hopefully people take note: Don’t use Alitalia.

    1. Justicesays

      Re: Unfortunately...

      Ok, sure , you cannot claim it was an authorized transaction. On the other hand you are entitled to receive the goods and services you pay for. In the UK, at least, the credit card company is jointly liable for providing that good or service, and if you dispute the transaction on the basis that the good or service was not provided, then they either have to prove it was, or return the money. With the small claims court as the backup if they muck you about too much.

      This is why ebay like to use PayPal and other prepay wallets, they are not credit providers and thus don't have to pay you back and reverse the payment to ebay when the goods are not delivered or as described.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Unfortunately...

        Justicesays,

        To be pedantic, I believe your section 75 rights only come in on purchases by credit card that are above £100. But still, it's useful insurance - and the fact that my credit card is one remove from my actual bank account is why I'd never use a debit card online.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      Interesting. This doesn't seem to be American Express's policy, at least in the US. I had a hotel double-charge my card once and they took care of it, even though I'd given the hotel my card info.

  5. iron Silver badge

    "I have to be late on bills, I have to borrow money,"

    If your finances are that tight you shouldn't have been gambling on ponzicurrency in the first place.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Depends on the circumstances, surely? If you've gotten £5 worth of PonziCoin for the comedy value and then they've gone and cleared your savings account, it's hardly your fault. Gambling a fiver shouldn't ever result in losing more than the fiver.

  6. rickykemp

    Why is it

    that people thought it would be a smart move to use their default, main bank account on a crypto-exchange site, when crypto-exchanges have shown that they aren't secure?

    I'm not one of those big traders, I dabbled in mining and made a few quid but I still straight away though to myself - I best not put my main day to day account details on the site.

    Its just common sense, right?

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Why is it

      Dunno, it certainly seems like a reasonable precaution.

      I'm given to understand that much of the US banking system is a mess, so maybe they have trouble creating additional accounts just to screw around with?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019