I learned today that I have been incurring fraudulent charges on my credit card since January 2013. Oh, yes. You read that correctly… I have been duped for the past 22 months!
I know that many other “young” adults in my generation (and the generation after mine) are terrible with money. Emphasis on TERRIBLE. I am no different. I’m working to change my ways, and this new journey to financial security/freedom requires a long, cold walk through the depths of my student loan debt and what little credit card debt I have accumulated.
I’m learning just how oblivious I am/was in terms of my own money! Let’s set aside the wasted spending at the gas station and lunches out with friends for another day so we can focus on the topic at hand…
TWENTY-TWO MONTHS of fraudulent charges? I’m embarrassed for a number of reasons:
- I obviously haven’t read a credit card statement in nearly two years.
- I have paid more than $250 in charges I did not incur.
- The fraud continued despite a recent credit card number change.
- The look on HOS’ face when I told him how many charges have hit my account…
I pray that you are all far better at managing your money than me. If not, then I beg you to at least read your credit card and bank statements! Don’t just give away your money like me!
Here are a few tips to avoid being a credit card fraud sucker:
- Request both paper and email statements, so you’ll see at least one version.
- Review all transactions to verify authenticity.
- If a transaction is suspicious, call your credit card company right away! My card card provider, Chase, offers 24-hour customer service.
- If you see a $12.97 charge from *IC FREESHIPPING.COM, cancel your card immediately, and call your fraud department. This is the group that got me!
- Do your research. In my case, a quick Google search shows *IC FREESHIPPING.COM fraud complaints going back as far as 2010! This is a good way to learn more about the vendor when faced with the possibility of fraud.
- Stop buying things online. Ok, so I know this is nearly impossible, but it’s the best way to prevent issues! If you’re going to continue shopping online, vette out retailers you’ve never used before.
Take it from me – the dummy who let an old trick get the best of her for nearly two years – pay closer attention to your money! If you’re not watching your financial back, who will?
One last note and an unsolicited plug – use a trustworthy credit card provider. Chase was awesome on the phone today. They were kind and understanding, while still inquisitive to make sure I truly was experiencing fraud. In the end, they paid me back for all the fraudulent charges and are sending a new card. What would your credit card provider do for you?