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Fraud Alert: Did Someone Try to Use Our Credit Card?

The credit card company called me with questions about fraudulent activity on the joint credit card my husband and I use for just about everything. My card hadn’t been stolen. When I opened my wallet it was sitting in the first pocket just as it always is, so I checked my husband’s wallet and yes his was still there too.

I wondered if the call itself was a scam. When I first called the phone number left in the voice mail message I was asked for my 16 digit credit card information. Rather than take a chance on providing information to a potential scammer I hung up and decided to ring the number on the back of my card.

My husband and I have received fraud alerts many times over the last few years. It seems whenever we travel out of state our card is flagged for fraud and we have to go through the hassle of calling the issuing company to assure them that we’re just on vacation. Interestingly, in all these years we’ve never encountered an actual issue. In fact, in spite of the pain of declined cards we’ve always been thankful that someone is watching out for us.

This time it seems the activity was indeed fraudulent. Someone attempted to use our credit card number to purchase $200 worth of items from a drugstore in Florida. According to the issuing company the name and security code on the back of the card did not match the information in their system, so they called us to verify the purchase.

The representative noted that it may have been a processing error. He said it’s possible that someone typed the numbers incorrectly when processing the order. In other words it’s not clear whether an individual was trying to commit fraud or if it was an accident.

Either way the company said it was best to close the account and open a new one. According to the representative the credit bureaus will be notified of the issue so that our credit score is not impacted.

The credit card company let us know they would ship new cards to us, but that it would take a few days for them to be issued. It’s a good thing we have another credit and debit card available. We are still on vacation and would have been in big trouble if we didn’t have alternative payment forms available to us.

While 99.9% of the fraud alerts we receive are false alarms it feels great to know that the credit card company was able to catch an issue so quickly. The $200 drugstore charge was declined and I was informed that any other transactions would also be denied from that point forward.

Anonymous

Sunday 4th of September 2011

This has happened to us two times in the last year. Here in Tucson, thieves put card readers at gas station pumps, ATM machines, etc., which record the account number and PIN number. Both times the bank caught on before we did and we were reimbursed. It usually takes up to a week for a new card, however, which is inconvenient.

FrugalVibe

Saturday 3rd of September 2011

This has become more frequent as the criminals are getting more sophisticated. In Australia the federal police issued warnings to credit card holders to be alert to receiving calls from the credit card companies. They advised as you did One Frugal Girl to hang up and call the credit card company directly using the number on the back of the card. Also never letting your card out of your sight like Michelle Parker is great advice. Skimming devices are being used a lot here in Australia. Though the banks here have good investigation units that use sophisticated software to detect unauthorised transactions.

Michelle Parker

Friday 2nd of September 2011

That's good that it was caught. Me and my BF have this happen to us ALL the time. Waitresses, waiters and so on keep on stealing our numbers, so now me and the BF are on a continuous cycle of cancelling our cards every MONTH just so that no one has our number. It gets very aggravating because it usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for the card to arrive. The banks and police don't know why it keeps happening. We've resorted to using cash more, but I don't like to carry cash around all of the time.

And I no longer let the waitress/waiter take the card out of my view. If I know it's a place where they have to take it, I will give them cash.