I am a victim of credit card fraud

Last week, I got a SMS message from my credit card company warning me that someone might have committed credit card fraud to me. When I opened the message on Saturday morning, I found that it was the second alert that they sent me. My first reaction was … [email protected]# . Was it a joke?

Credit card fraud SMS alert message

Credit card fraud SMS alert message




Stay calm

After 10 seconds, I recovered a little bit. The first thing I did was to ask my wife to see if she shopped at H&M and Walgreens on Friday. I didn’t expect a ‘Yes’ answer from her because otherwise, she would have complained to me that the transactions got declined.

After confirming that she didn’t make the purchases, we checked to make sure that the cards are still in our possession. Luckily, we still had the cards in our hand.  So, I guess, someone somehow took our card number and made a fake card for purchases.

Check with the card company

At that stage, we were worried. We didn’t even know if the SMS message was from the authentic source. Instead of responding to the text message, we called the toll free number that was printed at the back of our cards directly. I also turned on my computer and logged into my credit card account. They asked me a few security questions over the phone and the friendly operator reviewed the recent transactions with me.

Damages made

We found that the credit card thief was able to make a few purchases successfully. The first one was a $20 BART ticket (BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit) in Dublin CA. I don’t take public transportation and Dublin is more than an hour from where I live , in San Jose.

Next, the thief charged my card in a Walgreens in San Francisco.  He or she purchased a few dollars of goods there, but the credit card company didn’t catch that either.

I could see that someone was getting more confidence as he/she tried to purchase over $200 dollars of goods in H&M and Walgreens in San Francisco. Luckily, the transactions were declined.

The aftermath

At that moment,  I wasn’t angry at all. I was thankful to my credit card company. They caught the fraud quickly and told me they will take care of the transactions. They also closed the card and issued me a new one. I will be receiving it soon.

We didn’t know how our credit card information got stolen. It could be leaked when we were paying at the restaurants, retail shops or at the online stores. We took a few steps to strength our security.

  • Change all the passwords: Since my online accounts might have been compromised, I changed the password of every single one of them to make sure that no one else can easily hack into them.

 

  • Check my credit reports: We are entitled to check our credit reports for free annually. The only authentic source I trust is  Federal Trade Commission, a government agency that protects American consumers. Through their website (FTC.gov) , I requested the credit reports from the 3 nation wide credit reporting companies. Luckily, I didn’t see any thing suspicious in my credit reports.

 

  • Paperless statements: To eliminate the possibility of someone stealing our credit card information in the mails, I switched to paperless statements.

 

  • Contact information:  I also double checked my contact information listed in my credit card and banking accounts. By keeping it current and accurate, it makes sure that I and only I will be contacted in case of new issues happen in the future.

 

  • Enable 2 factor authentication (2FA): merely having a strong password is not sufficient anymore. Thieves are more sophisticated nowadays. I strongly recommend that we should turn on 2 factor authentication for our online accounts (email, online store, social network, etc.) whenever possible. If you are not familiar with what 2FA is, the quick answer is that it requires additional devices , like your phone, apps or security token, in additional to your password to log in.

 

  • Close the unused accounts: It is also a good idea to close all the less frequently used accounts , whether it is email or credit card accounts. This reduces the chances of someone illegally using them.

 

Final words

I am a victim of credit card fraud, but you don’t need to be. I hope that this article helps you. If you like this article, please forward it to your friends and family. Have a nice day.

 




 

 

 

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