18 August 2005

The importance of being earnest

It is vital to always check your credit card transactions regularly. I have online access to all my accounts and every few days confirm what is going through them. The other day I noticed a transaction I didn't recognise. The company name was there with a 1800 number so I called and discovered someone had used my credit card details - and had my correct address and phone number, but had used a temporary email address. The company quickly cancelled the transaction. I then cancelled the card and had it re-issued.
Many times credit card thieves will try a small transaction to see if it goes through. If it does, then they can keep using the card often as a free credit source.
They could have gotten my credit card details from many places - restaurants, gas/petrol stations, small shops. Then with the name and card details, they look up the internet for address details and they have enough information to get the charge through.
The only way to guard against this is vigilance. Make sure you have internet access to all of your accounts and check the transactions often. Not just when the statement arrives but regularly during the month. Compare it to your records - either matching the receipts or your Quicken or accounts records.
I just suffered the inconvenience of a replacement credit card. If I had waited for my statement, I may have missed the transaction and had a lot more charges put through before I caught on.
I just thought I would pass on the warning.

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