15 August 2010

Nothing gets your blood boiling like Credit Card FRAUD!!!

I’m one of, what I’d like to believe, the most careful people around when it comes to dealing with my confidential information. I use Roboform for all my passwords which means I don’t have a single password that’s either the same, or easy to guess. I have Lifelock for protecting my identity and I check all my accounts weekly when I download them into Quicken for review. I like to think that I’m very careful about these things.

Let me tell you… nothing, and I mean NOTHING kicks your weekend off on a sour note like looking at your credit card transactions in Quicken and seeing nearly $2,000.00 in charges that you didn’t make. That happened to me this weekend.

I found myself staring at four charges on my company credit card. What struck me was not the amount of the charges, or even the number of charges even considering I had not used the card actively in almost 9 months. No, it was the PLACE where the charges originated. The payee was “Lollapalooza”. I thought to myself… what the hell is Lollapalooza???!!! So the first thing I did, after noticing there were three charges to it, was to Google it. A music festival in Chicago? That happened this past week? Huh? I’m from Indianapolis so it was clear to me that this was fraud. On top of that, the was also a charge to T-Mobile which is NOT my cell phone provider. Sadly, I’m on of the schmucks who are stuck with AT&T because I love my iPhone.

It seems that my credit card number was somehow lifted and used. What still confuses me is the fact that I had not used the card in 9 months. The last time I used it, I set it up on file with my dry cleaning service and my limmo service in Boston. That’s it. It’s been in my vault ever since. Of course, being my company credit card, it’s number had been used with multiple other companies and services and all I can think is that one of them was breached and my number was stolen as recently as last weekend.

In any event, I proceeded to logon to my bank’s web site to try and find the number to call in case of fraud. Banks should REALLY get some usability experts to design the web UI. It should be as easy as logging onto my bank web site, clicking on the account in question, and then having a menu option called “Report Fraud”. Yes, yes, I know the bank needs us to call and report it in person, and I’m not saying allow me to do it online, but at least have the link give me the phone number to call. I shouldn’t have to click through multiple customer support pages just to find out what number to call. But that’s just me…

I made the call and got the card cancelled. Thankfully I’m not responsible for the fraudulent charges, but I would like to know where the breach took place. The moral of the story is to watch your accounts closely. These kind of things are, unfortunately, going to happen. The best we can do is respond as quickly as possible. I wish we could do more…


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