The Lifestyle Digs

Dealing with Fraudulent Credit Card Charges

Do you know what it feels like dealing with fraudulent credit card charges?

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It’s a real pain in the ass!

It seems like these credit card scammers have the best technology for cracking credit card numbers. They use a machine that rolls off tons of combinations of card numbers and expiry dates. The scammers use these combinations on multiple websites to buy things. Sometimes they get a hit, or they get very close. The card number and expiry date is correct, but now they have to crack the three number security digit on the back of the credit card.

There’s only 999 combinations of that one!

Once they have that hit, then the scammers use that credit card as fast as possible to buy big ticket items before the credit card holder realizes what’s going on and reports the fraudulent charges to their credit card company.

In the past year and a half, my Fido Mastercard and TD Bank Visa have been hit twice.

Twice!!!

Another credit card also got a fraudulent credit card charge around two years ago. This is a card that I keep at home in a fireproof document bag. (Disclosure: I’m an Amazon associate. If you click the link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)

I’m not using the credit cards and no one else has access to them. And my fireproof Engpow document bag is right where it’s supposed to be!

TD BANK VISA

You might recall that I’m not too keen on using any services provided by TD Bank after becoming a victim of a rogue TD employee about 20 years ago.

I still have their Visa, but I work really hard to stay debt-free so I rarely use credit cards.

It was surprising to recently receive a TD Bank Visa statement in the mail. The last time I remember using the credit card was in November, 2020 to renew Shadow’s dog license.

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It’s possible I used it to buy something online and it’s just slipped my mind. Let’s check it out.

I opened the envelope and was surprised to see I was in Sweden in February. Yup, in the middle of a pandemic when health laws are in place and we’re not supposed to be traveling.

In case anyone was wondering, no I don’t have a Spotify account, though I’m vaguely aware that it provides music and podcasts.

HOME DEPOT GOT ME!

A few years ago a fraudster got a charge through on my Home Depot card. Click the picture below to read the story.

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I hadn’t been inside Home Depot in a long time, and I mistook the envelopes holding overdue statements as marketing material and didn’t open them up for a few months.

When I finally realized there was a fraudulent charge and called Home Depot to dispute it, I was informed I missed the cut off to dispute charges, and I’d have to pay it. Sucks to be me.

The amount was under $100 and I paid it. Sometime later, I noticed Home Depot had reported me to the credit bureau. That’s petty of Home Depot, and when I called to ask them to remove it from my credit report, they refused.

Petty!

I reported them to the Better Business Bureau, and then Home Depot did the right thing and got that removed from my credit report. They also refunded the money on the fraudulent charge, even though I hadn’t requested that. I was eating that because it was my fault for not opening the mail faster.

WHO NOTICES A $12.99 CHARGE ON THEIR CREDIT CARD STATEMENT?

A person who whips out their credit card to buy snacks, coffee, meals, groceries, gas, clothes, and so on multiple times a day is unlikely to notice a $12.99 charge on their credit card.

Oh, they might eventually notice that little charge, but in a sea of multiple credit card charges, it could take awhile.

Credit card fraudsters hope to find victims who don’t notice random charges.

After what happened to me with Home Depot, I now open mail from credit card companies in a timely manner, even if I know I haven’t recently purchased anything.

HOW DOES CREDIT CARD FRAUD HAPPEN?

There are some obvious ways your credit card could be used for fraudulent charges. That means something has been charged on your credit card that you didn’t give permission for.

Or did you?

The biggest culprit for unknown charges is that you gave your credit card to another person to use. They wrote down the number, the expiry date, and the three digit security number on the back of the card. They can go shopping on the Internet now!

This scenario comes up frequently on Judge Judy! Usually a woman allowed her love interest to use her credit card – and yow! It’s a mess that Judge Judy is none too happy to figure out, especially when the credit card bill is full of little purchases.

There are thieves who will go through your mailbox before you check your mail and steal credit card statements. It’ll take them a few attempts to get the expiry date right, but they will!

Likewise for your garbage and recycling bin. Thieves will go through those looking for discarded statements or even an old credit card that wasn’t chopped up.

Your credit card company could have been hacked and the thieves are having a massive shopping spree courtesy of thousands of customers.

The unknown credit card charge could be a computer glitch. Maybe a clerical error.

Did anyone recently phone or email claiming to be your credit card company? It’s probably a phishing scam. Don’t give your credit card number to anyone who phones you. Tell them you’ll phone them back and use the number on the back of your credit card or on your latest statement.

Many of us have debt and hate opening up credit card bills. The envelope with the credit card statement arrives in the mail and we don’t want to deal with the bad news inside.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT FRAUDULENT CREDIT CARD CHARGES

Fraudulent credit card charges can be scary, especially depending on how much money was charged. And the unknown – how did it happen? Your credit card never left your possession.

Then there’s the hassle of dealing with the credit card company. Phoning and getting stuck on an automated phone system. Keying in your credit card number. Trying to remember your PIN. Waiting on hold.

Yuck!

Follow these three steps to keep on top of fraudulent credit card charges:

1. Early Detection

As you can see from my experience with Home Depot, the earlier you spot fraudulent credit card charges and report them, the higher the chance you can get the charge reversed. Your credit card company might give you a month from the statement date. Maybe two or three months. Don’t be scared to open your statement. Procrastination might mean being on the hook for charges you didn’t authorize.

2. Pay Attention

You have to pay attention to every transaction on your credit card, no matter how big or small.

Around here we’re always talking about being debt free and avoiding using credit cards if at all possible. Get debt free and incur no further debt!

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If you don’t use your credit cards, oddball charges will really stand out. If you use your credit cards frequently, put all your receipts into an envelope and check them off when your statement comes in.

3. Report the fraudulent credit charge

There’s a phone number on the back of your credit card charge. Phone it and file a fraud claim. Usually you’ll talk to more than one person. The first rep will take your details and then transfer you to the security department. Where you’ll give the details again!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The credit card company might launch an investigation into the fraudulent charges you’re reported. This means they will contact the company and ask for proof of signature that you authorized the charge.

The credit card company will then issue a chargeback to that company. Basically that means the credit card company refuses to pay them for the fraudulent charge.

Your credit card company will cancel your credit card and send you a new card, probably within two weeks. They still want your legitimate business, and for you to keep buying stuff on their card.

Ladies, let’s be smart with our money. We need to pay off those credit cards and stop using them unless it’s an emergency.

Posted by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on April 7, 2021.

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MORE READING:

10 Things to Look at on your Credit Card Statement
Life with Credit Cards
Using Credit Cards for Robbing Peter to pay Paul

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