Posted by Curt on 29 October, 2008 at 12:13 pm. 10 comments already!

The WaPo tackles Obama hard on the credit card scandal regarding his donations. They make the point that Obama and Co. had to deliberately turn off the safegards in order to accept CC donations where the name and address don’t match the CC holder:

Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama’s accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama’s finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The excuse given by the Obama campaign is that they vet the transactions afterwards. Complete and utter idiocy. They would rather pay staff to go through each one individually rather then allowing the safegards put into place by the credit card companies years ago, which would cost them nothing in money and labor?

Come on….

They are allowing these to go through to allow fraud, plain and simple.

Ed Morrissey spoke to some in the credit card industry and one response explains the fraud in detail:

I have over 30 years of experience in investigating Credit Card Fraud and I can tell you, which you may or may not know, that the merchant acquirer that is conducting the collection of credit / debit card for the Obama campaign are responsible for the actions to be taken regarding the Address Verification System responses. The value of the AVS system is that the issuer of the card being used provides back to the merchant acquirer a response based upon the information provided during the authorization process. This response indicates to the merchant acquirer if the card information was validated as to ownership of the account. It is the merchant acquirer that determines what to do when the authorization response is received. In most cases the transaction that comes back with any negative meaning is denied. However, if the merchant acquirer has adjusted their system to accept any response as acceptable the transaction would be completed.

The value of the AVS system is to deny Card Not Present transactions (CNP) which are suspicious. This protects the merchant against charge backs for bad transactions. What is interesting to me is that the merchant acquirer has knowingly violated a basic CNP fraud prevention technique to accommodate a merchant (Obama Campaign). I think that both the Associations (VISA & MasterCard) would be highly interested in looking at the merchant acquirer that was processing these transactions. The value of ignoring the AVS responses is that multiple invalid transactions may be made without fear of being rejected by the authorization systems. This means that the real owner of the credit card account is willing to allow multiple transactions to be made on the account using different names and addresses that under normal conditions would be denied. The merchant acquirer has a complete listing of all transactions done and it would be very interesting to see how many transactions were conducted on the same account number using different names. I would think that this would be a Federal violation under the current campaign funding laws.

Just a sign of the fraud to come if this guy is elected.

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