by Megan Geuss
Last week a man was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, FL when his two credit cards were declined after he spent $600 on bottle service at a nightclub.
The story wouldn't be all that interesting were it not for the fact that the man, Don Marcani, had not reached his credit limit that night. In fact, he was able to pay his $1,000 bail the next morning using one of the credit cards that was declined earlier.
As Marcani told NBC 6 South Florida, he and his friend used a Wells Fargo credit card to buy $80-worth of drinks at the bar of Cyn Nightclub. Then they decided to move into the VIP section, costing them $600. The waitress took Marcani's credit card, but when she tried to run the credit card later that night, it was declined. Marcani then provided a Capital One credit card, which was also declined.
As Marcani told NBC, “The club manager called my bank and gave me the phone to talk to the bank and that’s when the cop interfered and I think he said, ‘I’m tired of this shit. We even told them, 'walk us, escort us to the ATM machine.'” According to Marcani, the officer arrived at the scene at 3:49am. A few minutes later, at 3:57am, Marcani reportedly received an e-mail from Capital One asking him to verify the charge, but he wasn't able to check the e-mail because he was already handcuffed and the police confiscated his phone.
The next morning Broward County Jail successfully charged $1,000 to Marcani's credit card for bail.
With heightened and more visible instances of credit card hacking, banks have tried to prevent fraud on increasingly fraud-prone magnetic stripe cards, but those measures can make using credit cards unreliable and inconvenient. Europe faced a similarly fraud-fraught market a decade ago, but since its move to embedded chip cards, instances of foul play have dropped. (Although chip-and-pin cards are by no means immune to hacking, they are still considered more secure than the many-decades-old magnetic stripe cards common in the US.) Marcani's experience was just an extreme example, but regular credit card users have also been hit with more mundane inconveniences at the hands of credit card issuers. JP Morgan, Chase, and Capital One have begun reissuing credit cards that were caught in the latest Home Depot attack, and banks like Air Academy Federal Credit Union have “caught roughly $20,000 worth of attempted fraudulent transactions tied to cards that were exposed from the Home Depot breach,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ars contacted Capital One about Marcani's case and the bank told us, “Capital One strives to balance protecting customer accounts and avoiding disruptions in service. We offer two-way e-mail and text alerts that enable customers to immediately clear a fraud concern by responding to the alert.” Ars also contacted Wells Fargo, Cyn Nightclub, and Marcani's lawyer, but we have not yet received a response.