a victim of credit card swiping

epistolario

Senior Member
Tagalog
I'm not sure if this example happens in your areas or based on the experiences of people you know:

John Doe is a victim of credit card swiping.​

Some people here use this highlighted text with this meaning: John was asked by a friend or colleague if he can let them use his credit card in the meantime to make a purchase somewhere (online or at the shopping mall) and they promise to pay him asap. John agrees but they normally never pay him back, so he is forced to pay their expenses since he owns the card. I think this expression also applies if they do not pay in full or if they pay in small increments for a very long time.

How would you interpret the sentence if you overheard it from a non-native speaker? And how would you normally express the idea?
 
  • Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I'd be confused if I heard this, because 'swiping' is the action one uses when putting a credit card through some kinds of credit card readers.
    Also, 'swiping' is a casual term for 'stealing.' If they took the credit card and didn't give it back, then I would say he's the victim of credit card theft. If they took the credit card, used it, and gave it back, but never reimbursed John for the cost of their purchases, then I'd say they didn't pay him back for the loan of the card. I wouldn't use the construction 'John is a victim of ...' to express that unless I were to say 'In lending his credit card to someone he shouldn't have trusted, John is a victim of his own generosity.'
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In addition to "swipe" meaning "steal", it is also the motion used with credit cards with a magnetic stripe which is still common in the US.

    In general terms, the friend borrowed money from John and didn't pay it back. The fact that he did it by using his credit card rather than his cash money isn't what I would find important about the situation.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    John was asked by a friend or colleague if he can let them use his credit card
    It seems that John will know the "a friend or colleague" and this fraud is not going to be very successful.

    "John Doe is a victim of credit card fraud."
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It seems that John will know the "a friend or colleague" and this fraud is not going to be very successful.

    "John Doe is a victim of credit card fraud."
    Credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of the card. John authorized the use of the card. The agreement that the friend would pay John back is the problem. The credit card part of the transaction was executed "correctly."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I am also of the school that believe that "swiping" is the process of getting information from the magnetic strip.

    I suspect that the wrong word was used. Perhaps "credit card "digital skimming" or just "skimming".

    Hacker shows how easy it is to steal credit card numbers from thin air

    A new breed of digital pickpocket has been discovered lurking in stations and shopping centres.

    They come armed with technology that can effortlessly steal credit and debit card details without so much as touching your wallet.

    Standing just six inches (15cm) away, these criminals use radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers to harvest bank details in a practice known as ‘digital skimming’.



    At some point it may be called "swiping" as the magnetic strip is going to be a thing of the past. My new American Express card has proximity reading capability and magnetic strip and a chip, but has dropped the raised letters and numbers used for imprint readers.

    Imprint technology started in the early 1950s and prevailed late into the 1970s. Magnetic strips were added mid-1960s.

    They seem very slow to abandon old tech, so I don't think "swiping" will be available for many years as a term for fraud. I would stick with the omnibus "fraud" or the "digital skimming" if it applies.
     
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