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Furry Conned: Credit cards used at Midwest Furfest ATMs get fraud calls

Edited as of 11:05
Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (33 votes)

Multiple reports have been made by furries on social media that cards utilized at ATMs in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel, the main hotel of Midwest Furfest, have had attempts at fraudulent charges in the Chicago area. If you had utilized a card to withdraw money from these machines it is advised to keep an eye for any unusual activities.

This is not the first time financial fraud has effected cards utilized at a furry convention. Biggest Little Furcon attendees of the 2015 received information from the Grand Sierra Resort of a data breach that had occurred during the time frame in which that event occured.

It has been suggested that those attending large conventions bring cash needed with them prior to leaving for the convention. Alternatively, if you do not want to carry a large amount of cash around, you can also bring with you a pre-paid debit card and utilize only that card for convention related purchases, while leaving you credit card for real emergency expenditures only. This would also be useful for furries who find themselves over-indulging and defining a stricter budget to be bound within.


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I never used the ATMs at the hotel, but did purchase stuff in the dealer's den and from outside-the-hotel places (food). I got a fraud notice from my bank and they issued me a new card & number.

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Orrrrr you could just pay attention to what you're putting your card into. It only takes a couple seconds to recognize a skimming device attached to the ATM.

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If you're going to go that route then there are articles on spotting skimmers and such, such as

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Spreading awareness about this kind of thing is good. Doing so in a way that isn't snarky and condescending would be even better.

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You're right, that's on me. Sorry about that.

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This is why I wouldnt use credit or debit cards at cons anymore. There's just too high a risk of having cards compromised at these places. Like Sonious said just carry the cash with you in advance, or use one of those pre-paid debit or gift cards.

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Or you could check the machine and be sensible about it, instead of being paranoid. See the link provided by Sonious above, in a reply to my comment.

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It's a lot more actively paranoid, imo, to tap and poke at every card swiper to see if it's trying to rob you, than just to bring cash in advance, relax, and forget about it. Plus cash makes it easier to stay within a budget.

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On the other hand ... seeing as how I was the dipshit who lost his phone at Anthrocon (and, I mean, a wallet isn't that much harder to lose), well, if you're prone to losing things, a card can be recovered, but cash is gone with the wind.

Or, additional tip, don't keep all your cash in the same place and/or with you at the same time (it's also just not a good idea to be hauling around shit-tons of cash all at once); and I'd say bring the card for emergencies (but maybe keep it in the hotel room stash instead of in your wallet).

Also, don't lose your phone. Just FYI.

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That's okay, you thought you saw an armband. You are forgiven!

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?? Context, if it isn't personal?

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The first fursuit I saw in the cab pulling up to the Anthrocon hotel Thursday night had, hand on my heart, swear to God, a Furry Raider armband, so I thought to myself, "Oh, boy, here we go." That was the only armband I saw all convention, though, so either I was mistaken or security/con-ops/whoever got that shit taken care of, like, quick.

Since I ended up leaving my goddamn cell phone in the cab (and didn't get it back until I was leaving, and only thanks to a heroic effort by the cab driver), Sonious is humorously implying I was distracted by the armband enough to drop my phone and forget it, which is more flattering than my "I'm an idiot" theory, anyway.

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So, uh, sequel on Christmas Eve to the cell phone story; after traveling halfway across the country to a huge urban center, and having the above-mentioned exact same cell phone returned to me heroically, I got it literally pickpocketed from me in rural fucking midwest America. Fuck you, Kansas (but, uh, also ... Merry Christmas?).

I got it back again because the pickpocket got caught, but holy shit, that cell phone is cursed.

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I'd say "send him to jail", but they're presumably already in Kansas, which sounds pretty bad...

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It's not so bad.

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You need to have some cash on you when going to conventions, for tips if anything else.

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I won't argue that cash doesn't make you budget better, but it takes all of two seconds to notice a skimming device. They're pretty obvious protrusions, you just need to know what to look for.

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...Did you actually read the article Sonious linked that you're now advising other people to read?

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I did indeed. Shimmers are less common than regular skimmers, and honestly the only place you're safe from them is actual ATMs inside your bank. Bulky skimmers are easily visible if you know what they look like.

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[comment removed on request]

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The one quoted was the second tweet. Had to go back through timeline to find the first, which was:

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More details, seems to be the downstairs ATM. Also the one using it physically checked for a skimmer and was unsuccessful.

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If you need to use an ATM, locate a bank ATM and check for attached skimmers. Most banks have put in place safety guards around the card slot, and understand if you tug at 'em.

Free-standing ATMs that don't have a bank logo aren't associated with a bank, and may already have been hacked so that the ATM itself is a skimming device.

When in doubt, look up the name on the ATM to see if you can find it's "host" nearby. Bank ATMs in places like grocery stores would have a branch office nearby (maybe not walking distance, but a short drive away).

You may want to also just look up "ATM" in Google Maps, which will show you local ATMs attached to banks nearby. For instance, looking it up around FC's site (the San Jose Convention Center) shows three non-bank ATMs by AFFA and Cardtronics, but if you go up by West San Fernando Street and South Market Street, you got a Bank of America and a Wells Fargo, plus a local Bank of the West and a credit union. It's a short walk in California winter weather, which isn't all that bad.

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