Multiple Government Agencies Are Keeping Records Of Your Credit Card Transactions

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Were you under the impression that your credit card transactions are private?  If so, I am sorry to burst your bubble.  As you will see below, there are actually multiple government agencies that are gathering and storing records of your credit card transactions.  And in turn, those government agencies share that information with other government agencies that want it.  So if you are making a purchase that you don't want anyone to know about, don't use a credit card. 

This is one of the reasons why the government hates cash so much.  It is just so hard to track.  In this day and age, the federal government seems to be absolutely obsessed with gathering as much information about all of us as it possibly can.  But there is one big problem.  What they are doing directly violates the U.S. Constitution.  For those that are not familiar with it, the following is what the Fourth Amendment actually says:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." 

Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment is essentially dead at this point.  The federal government is investigating all of us and gathering information on all of us all day, every day without end.

Many Americans have never even heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Judicial Watch has discovered that they are spending millions of dollars to collect and analyze our financial transactions...

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with “additional government entities.”

Judicial Watch was able to obtain some absolutely shocking documents thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request that it filed in April.  The following is a summary of some of the things those documents show...

  • Overlapping contracts with multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms to gather, store, and share credit card data as shown in the task list of a contract with Argus Information & Advisory Services LLC worth $2.9 million
  • A provision stipulating that “The contractor recognizes that, in performing this requirement, the Contractor may obtain access to non-public, confidential information, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or proprietary information.”
  • A stipulation that “The Contractor may be required to share credit card data collected from the Banks with additional government entities as directed by the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR).”

How do you feel about the fact that the government has contracts with "multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms to gather, store, and share credit card data"?

How do you feel about the fact that your credit card data and other "non-public, confidential information" may be shared with "additional government entities"?

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton put it very well when he said that this "warrantless collection of the private financial information of millions of Americans is mind-blowing.  Is there anything that this administration thinks it can’t do?"

But of course the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not the only one keeping records of your credit card transactions.

We have also recently learned that the NSA is doing it too.  The following is from a recent Time Magazine article...

Networks are most likely giving the government “metadata.” That is, the credit card issuers could provide the NSA details such as an account or card number, where and when a purchase was made, and for how much. Even though the exact items purchased aren’t revealed, Brian Krebs, who blogs at, says “merchant category codes” in such data give clues about what was bought.


If the NSA is collecting data at the processor level, “at that point the transaction gets cleared and posts to an account, so, yes, you can track it down to a person,” Aufsesser says.


The NSA conceivably could — and probably would — be able get the names of individual account holders from banks issuing credit cards. ”I don’t see how you would anonymize it,” says Al Pascual, senior analyst for security, risk and fraud for Javelin Strategy & Research.

We are rapidly becoming a "Big Brother society" where the government tracks virtually every move that we make.

And don't think that you can escape this by not using credit cards or by staying off of the Internet.  The truth is that we are being tracked in hundreds of different ways.

For example, have you heard of automated license plate readers?

They are being installed on police vehicles all over the nation, and the amount of information that they are gathering on all of us is frightening.

A computer security consultant named Michael Katz-Lacabe asked the city of San Leandro, California for a record of every time that these license plate readers had scanned his vehicle, and what he discovered absolutely stunned him...

The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway.


That photograph, Katz-Lacabe said, made him “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection.” The single patrol car in San Leandro equipped with a plate reader had logged his car once a week on average, photographing his license plate and documenting the time and location.


At a rapid pace, and mostly hidden from the public, police agencies throughout California have been collecting millions of records on drivers and feeding them to intelligence fusion centers operated by local, state and federal law enforcement.

Most Americans do not even know that these devices exist, but they have been "collecting millions of records" and feeding them into law enforcement databases all over the nation.

In San Diego alone, more than 36 million license plate scans have been fed into a regional database just since 2010...

In San Diego, 13 federal and local law enforcement agencies have compiled more than 36 million license-plate scans in a regional database since 2010 with the help of federal homeland security grants. The San Diego Association of Governments maintains the database. Like the Northern California database, the San Diego system retains the data for between one and two years.


“License-plate data is clearly identifiable to specific individuals,” said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “This is like having your barcode tracked.”

Is this the kind of society that we want to become?

Do we really want the police to be taking millions of photographs of us?

Do we really want all of our financial transactions to be fed directly into federal databases?

Do we really want the government to track every phone call we make and every email we send?

As I wrote about recently, it has been documented that literally thousands of companies have been handing over customer data to the NSA.

Is this the kind of legacy that we want to leave for our children and our grandchildren?

Fortunately, it appears that at least some Americans are waking up to all of this.

According to a brand new Rasmussen survey, 56 percent of likely voters in the United States now believe that the federal government is a threat to individual rights...

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters now consider the federal government a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights. That’s up 10 points from 46% in December.


While 54% of liberal voters consider the feds to be a protector of individual rights, 78% of conservatives and 49% of moderates see the government as a threat.


Overall, only 30% believe the feds today are a protector of individual rights. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

If the American people do not stand up and demand change, the people that are constantly violating our privacy are going to continue to do so.

Sadly, the vast majority of the politicians in both major political parties seem to think that there is nothing wrong with the status quo.  So I wouldn't expect any major changes in the short-term.  But hopefully government surveillance will start to become such a major issue with the American people that the politicians will be forced to start addressing it.

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10mm's picture

Well im ready to default,they keeping track of that.Fuckin DICK HEADS.

DaddyO's picture

Looks like the rabbit hole has turned into a wormhole...

How deep it runs is anybody's guess, we'll know in the fullness of time.


nmewn's picture

Well we know where this particular worm (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) came from.


Never let a crisis go to waste.

jbvtme's picture

TD...this shit is getting depressing.  can't you post some stories about turtles or dolphins or enviros pushing some beached whales back out to sea?

Chupacabra-322's picture

Keep your chip up & take the fight to them. Add this disclaimer to all transmissions:

WARNING: The National Security Agency is likely recording and storing this communication as part of its Criminal unlawful spying programs on all Americans … and people worldwide. The people who created the NSA spying program say that this communication – and any responses – can and will be used against the American people at any time in the future should folks in government decide to go after us for political reasons. And private information in digital communications may be given to big companies by the government.

Clint Liquor's picture

"What they are doing directly violates the U.S. Constitution."

Isn't that cute? He still believes the US has a Constitution.

sunaJ's picture

The goal is to track everybody, everywhere, at all times and to be able to have whatever current or historical information they need to neutralize you.  We have a few primates deciding what billions of other primates are threats to their control.  This will lead to complete neutralization or destruction of those that do not applaud the system and demonstrate their loyalty to it (the proverbial snake eating its tail).

Nothing that should fail will be allowed to fail if it threatens the downfall of their system.  Dissent to the system itself - or even suspicion of it - will be openly enforced by the surveillance state.  They want to be able to neutralize you at a moment's notice for whatever actions they decide you will take against them.  Those advancing their purposes and proving themselves the most loyal to the system will be given the best scraps from the table. Those that do not applaud the system, are in the way, or fall under suspicion will be neutralized in whatever manner they decide.  That is their plan.   Perfect surveillance with as few primate brains as possible making policy decisions.  It is the ultimate expression of the statist mindset, and  for most, perfect adulation of it will become a fear-driven means of survival.

Skateboarder's picture

At first it won't be a "zero-tolerance" policy, i.e. you will get a couple of strikes before you're out. Eventually it will be zero-tolerance and even negative-tolerance. Enjoy the good times with your friends and family while they still last.

Drink every Sierra Nevada Pale Ale like it's your goddamn last. :)

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Here are a some practical techniques to slow them down.  Like the English guy wrote here at ZH the other night, we can't beat them, buy we can make ourselves more of a pain-in-the-ass and/or oterwise fly a bit more under the radar:

1) Never pay for booze, cigarrettes, etc with a credit or debit card.

2) Take pictures of cop cars that annoy (those who speed for example), document that, mail that in anonymlously...

3) Find out addresses of any .gov types who annoy you, learn about them...

4) Act stupid when caught for anything, really dumb, slow 'em down...

5) I look forward to hearing more such suggestions here at Club ZH...

The Thunder Child's picture

As always the main stream media is not reporting on the most damning part of the NSA spy story. It’s even much MUCH worse then most are reporting...

Russ Tice an NSA whistle blower has revealed for the first time how the NSA has been targeting and wiretapping US politicians, supreme court judges and high ranking military officials since 2001.

In an interview entitled “NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Alleges NSA  Wiretapped Barack Obama as Senate Candidate” Russ Tice recently  explained to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds the real purpose of the NSA’s illegal spying on Americans: To collect blackmail material and other information that can be used to control influential citizens.

Worse yet, Tice’s revelations raise even more troubling issues. Tice and his NSA whistleblower colleagues revealed that the NSA’s massive, illegal spy-on Americans program began in February, 2001 – seven months BEFORE the 9/11 attacks! As Andrew Harris reported for Bloomberg in July, 2006:

“The US National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court… ‘The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,’ plaintiff’s lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. ‘This undermines that assertion.”’

The Bottom Line?

The entire US government has been subverted through the use of blackmail and extortion.

Zer0head's picture

"Were you under the impression that your credit card transactions are private?"


WTF what kind of tard would think that?


The peron who processes it in the store,

Your neighbor who gets your mail by mistake

The outsourced operator who reminds you about the $1899 charge at Geddy's 6 weeks ago

Equifax and your next employer who is interested in your purchases from ABC fine Liquors, Spirits and Wine


You would have to be a total dumb fck to think the sht you put on your card is in any way private. 

(that's why cash is king and why .gov and their corporate masters want to go cashless)


Oh regional Indian's picture

Eminent domain bitches. Eminent domain. Our minds, our bodies are all eminent domain. The master owns the sLave.

When black's law dictionary defines a human being as a "Sea Monster", you know we've got problems.

Chattle, Cattle, not much difference there.

Here is your Bill of Wrongs. The Man is actually a person. A person is a fiction.

The lie with-in a lie. Corpse-o-ration is king, king-maker, king-disposer.

Dead men walking, talking, laughing as the world turns, burns, churns. Eyes wide-shut, but, but.... we are free, the land is free, we are the new world, the first world....the beacon of in-sanity, we are locked, we are loaded, surely we will win. Again.

As if you won the first time, or even the second or the third.

Time to wake the fuck up.


kralizec's picture

Some may wake up when the shooting starts...maybe...

Lore's picture

Re: "WTF what kind of tard would think that?"

Yah -- Exactly -- Like the morons who post intimate details of their lives on social media. Psychopaths are going to exploit you, folks.

The solution is simple: CASH. CASH. CASH.  If you can't calculate change in your head, type the numbers into that stupid smartphone hanging beside your crotch. 

It's a desperate government that feels motivated to track all credit card transactions. Can you imagine anything more boring?  There will be red flags for weird stuff, but the vast majority of commercie is TRIVIAL...  Until it isn't.  I was reading today about currency instability manifesting as shortages in certain consumer goods.  Picture a society where you get a warning if you surpass your monthly allocation of bread, et cetera.  In a totalitarian state predisposed toward control and away from markets, that may be precisely the idea.

Acet's picture

+1 This

Keep in mind that anything that goes into a database will in practice be stored forever and will sooner or later (if not immediatelly) be shared with someone else.

And this is not just Governments: private companies are in the game too and have been for many years (personal information is routinelly traded).

Another thing to keep in mind is that, even if the information is not yet linked (for example, VISA has an entry for a credit card payment at a store which has your name and the store has an entry for what was bought but no name), it will sooner or later be brought under the same roof and cross-linked. I hope your pattern of purchasing toiled paper (or whatever) doesn't make you a suspect terrorist.

The point is to avoid anything which will be automatically processed and can be linked to you name: credit card payments, store customer cards, anywhere where you have to give your SSN (or equivalent). Also remember that if you use a personal identifiable payment method to pay for an anonymous pay as you go anything (for example, topping up a pre-paid public transport card or phone card with your credit card) it will make the later not anonymous anymore

[PS: for example, you can get an Oyster card to use public transport in London anonymously (by paying in cash). This is pre-paid and can be topped up. It is actually just an electronic token (touch card with a short-range wireless microchip) to a central system which keeps track of all the trips that are taken on public transport including in and out times and locations. If you EVER top one of these up with a debit or credit card, all that travel history is now linked to you by name]

seek's picture

6) Pull the battery of your cell phone, leave it at home, etc.

7) Carpool with friends after doing that. That license plate scanner won't mean shit if it's for someone else's car

8) encrypt your communications wherever possible. Since they're listening anyway, might as well keep them awake at night.


(Decoding tip! It's base64, and it's a one-time pad generated from a random number source using radioactive decay of Cs 137. Good luck with that, my snoopy friends!)


Acet's picture

The problem with encryption using one-time pads is that the key is as long as the message and has to be passed to the recipient using a secure channel (usually physical delivery).

Also the key cannot be reused, ever. That's where the "one-time" part of the name comes from.

Somehow I suspect your CS 137 decay random key has been reused often - unless you and you alone have access to a source of CS 137 decay data and never used it before.


(PS: Base64 is not an encryption mechanism, it's just a very common way by which binary data is encoded so that can be represented as human readable text, used in things like sending files as attachments in e-mails. The actual "encryption" is most likelly just XOR between the bytes of the message and those of the one-time pad key)

(PPS: There are other sources of true random data which can be used - for example, most electronic components will have some noise at very small levels which can be amplified and used as a source of random data. In fact, many of the things in nature which can be sampled digitally - for example, the sound of a stream - will, if you only use the lowest value bit, be a great source of randomness)


Bearwagon's picture

All correct - but if (big if) the one-time pad is delivered through a secure channel and is only used once, it cannot be decrypted. (This being the sole reason one-time pads aren't replacable.)

seek's picture

Another nice feature of one-time pads (due to the above) is that if you delete the key, the message is irretrievably lost for all eternity.


seek's picture

I have my own Cs 137 source (along with the requisite decay detectors) for key generation, and the base64 comment was just to provide the encoding (not encryption) discussion. I use it for low-bit-rate QRNG, I have thermal noise sources for higher bit rate generation but went with the gold standard for this example.

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

@ D.C.R.B.

Suggestion # 9 : Tyler....How about starting ZeroHedge T.V. News...? Look at all the help and resources that we could investigate and report on...most of us already research and provide links...? MDB could be counted on for comedy and someone you could throw eggs at...

Overflow-admin's picture

6. See what they do, not what they say.

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ sunaJ,

I have a couple of neutralizers myself.  One is an M4 the other a .45acp. 

sunaJ's picture

Yes, well, I figure that as long as it is obvious that they are planning for some sort of national emergency as the next annihilator of liberty, I can only strive to be Minute-Man prepared as well.

draug's picture

This is why we need bitcoin.

TuesdayBen's picture

The groundwork has been laid for the USA to go overtly full-tilt TOTALITARIAN upon occurence of a major 'crisis' which shan't be 'wasted'...

Plan accordingly, regardless of nationality/citizenship.

Vendetta's picture

I already thought it was totalitarian ... my bad

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I missed that one Chupacabra, I will be getting lots more AK ammo and 9 mm in the coming days now that prices have come down some and availability is up.


+ 1

Chupacabra-322's picture

Or here.

Check out Federal JHP 124grain. Best JHP on the market. Criminal FBI approved.

snr-moment's picture

One wonders how hard would it be to put a tiny transmitter, mixed in with the powder of every, say thousandth round of 7.62 and then plot wherever 2 or 3 transmitters become adjacent.


That's what I would do.


11)   Start lending phones and computers to your friends and their friends.  Sort of like "here, seriously, use mine".  If everyone did that......

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Peru seems to have gotten over its leftist nonsense after so many years of suffering.  Ecuador has not been far emough down that trail yet.

Go Tribe's picture

So the head of the NSA is going to track me everwhere all the time, eh? Just wait'll I start fucking his wife, then we'll see how he likes reading those emails.

redwater's picture

Once the final pretense that the Constitution is still valid, finally fades - then the empire will figure out that it was the one wall, the one contract that would have kept them from the nooses.



HelluvaEngineer's picture

I agree with you.  It's time that everyone comes to terms with an era without rule of law.

PTR's picture

There will be rule of law- for the ruled.

fleur de lis's picture

Jim Stone says they're looking at more than that. His 6/26 & 27 posts say that they can monitor conversations in your car, remote control a car with antilock brakes, and he suggests covering your computer webcam when not in use.

The NSA has turned into a gaggle of gossipy washer women hags on crack.


jbvtme's picture

can they see me choking poultry in my lounge chair?

Clayton Bigsby's picture

That's why I taped over my webcam with tape a long time ago - and there it stays. I got enough shit to deal with - I don't need any wank video out there flyin around cyberspace...

Bollixed's picture

"I don't need any wank video out there flyin around cyberspace..."

Oh c'mon, look at the bright side... at least then you'd have a shot at becoming Mayor of New York City...

snr-moment's picture

Screw that.  Buy a panasonic chinese made microwave and run it.  They leak so much microwave, it renders all routers nearby useless.  Almost the same frequency.


So don't stand near them.

Moe Howard's picture

Yes, and they asked me to tell you to stop doing that because Obamao care won't pay for hair removal from your palms.

whosetosay's picture

I am all for this and logged in (usually a lurker) just for this... can we tweak it a bit with you don't have my permission?

MsCreant's picture

I would not be allowed to run that message on my main email account. We are not allowed to use our email account for anything considered "political" or we could lose our jobs. 

Zer0head's picture

where would you draw the line?