Scotiabank Visa`s Personal Credit Agreement Companion support brochure warns: “Don`t dial your date of birth, phone number, license plate, address or any other easy-to-guess combination.” “However, the cardholder is responsible for complying with the cardholder`s agreement, which may contain liability provisions if the cardholder may have contributed to the unauthorized use of the card by not protecting the account,” spokeswoman Carla Hindman said. “While we certainly have similars for each of our customers who are victims of theft or fraud, we are also committed to informing our customers of their security duties, as described in our Personal Credit Agreement Companion Booklet,” said Rick Roth, a scotiabank spokesman, in a statement to Global News. “One of its main tasks is to maintain the confidentiality and retention of their credit card and electronic signature.” She called the police, but first called her credit card companies: MBNA MasterCard, Capital One MasterCard, American Express and Visa Scotiabank. The calls were made in an hour. But it was too late, because in that short range, the thief gave about $3,000. Approximately 1,600 $US were billed on their Scotiabank Visa card. “Choosing your date of birth as a PIN is a direct violation of the terms of your credit agreement. Therefore, we are not prepared to recommend that the bank reimburse you for your loss,” wrote Lise Fraser, Scotiabank Deputy Mediator. Visa`s marketing is clearly written and has no conditions that mention exceptions if an uncertain PIN code is chosen.
“My heart broke. I thought I forgot about the restaurant,” Altomare said. But he wasn`t there, and it soon became clear what was going on. “The manager of the restaurant looked at security footage and showed the real theft. (A woman) put her hand in my purse and took out my wallet,” Altomare told Global News. The bank`s Cardholder Agreement, which is a more detailed document, goes further by warning consumers not to “use an electronic signature selected from your name, date of birth, phone number, bank account number, address or social security number.” Altomare has used part of its date of birth as a PIN code for years – figures that would make the consumer liable for fraud. Zero liability cannot be reinterpreted by individual banks, Visa Canada told Global News. For example, if the Altomare card was stolen or misled in parts of the United States, where chip and pin technology was not used, it would not be on the hook for the loss of 1600 $US. “If someone steals your Visa card number, you pay nothing for your fraudulent activities,” the directive states. Altomare said American Express, MBNA and Capital One were all “sympathetic” and agreed to retract the charges. But Scotiabank would not be because the bank said its PIN code was too easy to break.
“They did blame me for choosing the wrong PIN,” she said.