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Having A Monday? How About Some Credit Card Fraud?

If you have ever seen the movie Office Space, you will know of which I speak. “Having a case of the Monday’s” is even in the Urban Dictionary as: “symptoms of a useless or horrible Monday morning after returning from the weekend, used in the movie Office Space”.

Well, I am not one to complain, so I won’t. However, let me tell you how I have had (count them) 2 Mondays which have not set well with me…and top top it off, both of them have happened here in Shreveport/Bossier City exactly 6 months apart.

I moved here 7 months ago and around Thanksgiving, I was checking my bank statement and noticed some discrepancies, so I called my bank and lo-and-behold, I learned that my credit card number had been stolen and someone charged up $725. So I  did myown research and handed it over to the Bossier City police, (where were awesome, BTW) They came over took a report and followed it through to the point where it is now, in the hands of the Shreveport Police. I get updates every so often from them asking me questions and that seems to have narrowed things down, from what they say.

Well, today, I had had almost deja vu. This time, however, I received a call from my bank asking me if I had been shopping in Louisville, KY!!!!! And of course I had not.

Seems as though someone was in Louisville, KY and made 3 separate purchases that were just over $200 at Wal-Mart and then decided on some McDonalds for lunch and made another $200 purchase at a Target in Louisville, as well.

So my bank cancelled yet another Debit card of mine, then took care of the fraud charges, issued me a new bank card and said that I needed to make another report to the police, which I will be doing tonight.

As I was talking with the bank Fraud Officer, I asked him why is this happening so much since I moved to Louisiana, I mean after all, I lived in Phoenix and that is the hot-bed of stolen identities. His response, it his happening more and more in the past year or 2.

So how do you combat credit card fraud? The FTC has a whole page dedicated to this. On it, you will find the Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
  • Carry your cards separately from your wallet, in a zippered compartment, a business card holder, or another small pouch.
  • Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
  • Keep an eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
  • Void incorrect receipts.
  • Destroy carbons.
  • Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
  • Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
  • Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
  • Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.

Don’t:

  • Lend your card(s) to anyone.
  • Leave cards or receipts lying around.
  • Sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
  • Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
  • Give out your account number over the phone unless you’re making the call to a company you know is reputable. If you have questions about a company, check it out with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau

A few other things that I have found will help make it harder for criminals to get hold of your credit cards and debit cards:

  • Use cash, as much as possible and leave  your credit cards in a lock box at home. Sure you can get robbed, but that isn’t as likely as someone copying your credit card info. Everyone accepts it and it is also a deterrent to spending too much (a nice side benefit).
  • Invest in credit card fraud protection. I have a couple of companies monitoring my credit, as well as my bank and they have notified my each and every time someone looks out of order.
  • If you leave town, call your credit card company and tell them where you are going, the route you are taking and the dates of your departure and return.
  • Change your passwords every 30 days. Then write them down in a secret place (maybe a fireproof lock box in the house.)
  • Lock down your social media pages and turn off your Social Media locating services. Also ask  your bank for a card with no RFID chip. This one surprised me a bit. Seems as though, there are RFID chips in a lot of credit cards. RFID chips are for some places where you can just swipe your credit card in front of a machine and not not have it actually touch the machine. Looks like there are  some unscrupulous people have developed computer programs that can “sweep” an area for these cards and they will grab, not only the card number, but a lot of information about you, including the security code on the back. Here is a nice article that explains it all. You can also deactivate it with info here.  And here are some logos to look for on the back of the card

Thank goodness I have a nice bank and they are looking our for my best interest, but not all will and even fewer will do anything for you, if you don’t pay that Fraud Protection they offer, so do yourself a favor and protect yourself. From what my bank is telling me, it is going to get worse and they (the banks) are sure when it will or if it will get better.

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