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Old 01-12-2014, 09:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Protecting Credit / Debit Card Information

So, I've had one heck of a (non-calendar) year so far - I've just had my third significant fraudulent transaction of the past year posted to an account yesterday. I was reviewing my online checking statement today by chance and found a mystery transaction already taken from my account. This follows two bouts of fraudulent activity occurring on my (single) credit account earlier in the year; while they technically took place on the same account, the relevant card numbers and info were of course changed after the first hack. I'm hoping reporting the transaction to my bank tomorrow morning when the hotline opens will yield some easy success and peace of mind...

Now, in the meanwhile, what do you guys do or recommend in regards to account safety? I feel like I take all of the obvious precautions - always shredding relevant statements and receipts, never using the cards at small time / sketchy retailers or websites, never volunteering card information, never entering billing information on a computer that isn't (to my best knowledge) secure, and as of last week I even now carry RFID signal blockers in my wallet. I do perform a fair share of banking functions online (paying my credit card off 1x per month, checking balances on both accounts occasionally), but again, my computer is always up-to-date with generally "good" anti-virus and anti-malware software.

Yet, the fraud keeps on happening. Honestly, as long as the banks have my back and keep protecting me against fraudulent use, I'm okay (knock on wood; hope tomorrow goes well!). However, it is EXTREMELY frustrating and disheartening to keep having to deal with it, ESPECIALLY when I only carry two accounts and only use them for a few transactions a month!

Is there anything else I can do, or anything I'm missing in regards to safeguarding myself and my accounts? Has anyone else had similar experiences? I honestly don't know anyone else who had to deal with this as much as I have in such a short span of time, which is quite shocking as I consider myself an extremely low-risk user compared to how other people utilize and protect their information. It's very irritating, and I'd like to make sure I'm doing as much as I can to protect myself and my information.

EDIT: The most recent "hack" was indeed a harmless mistake, actually - update on post #4. However, the question still remains - what do you guys do to protect your info?

Last edited by Yomillio; 01-13-2014 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 01-12-2014, 11:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While some may be unwise to buy from, the large retailers are being owned quite regularly. The TJ thing a little while back and now Target and Neiman Marcus. If you bought from either then that might be the issue. Otherwise might be something local skimming.

I use paypal online whenever I can. Not only do I get an immediate notification on my cell of every transaction, there's nothing but the transaction ID stored on the sites. Not as easy to use in brick and mortar though. I *hate* sites that store the CC info and always select to NOT store if it's an option.

I agree on the chipped cards. My CC just sent is a pair to replace the old ones. Haven't activated them yet. There's some tutorials online that show how to kill the chip.

There is some new tech coming out that might help. Amex has that new service that makes you approve transactions over a $ amount (or higher risk) from your cell. I'd look at some of those options and see if there's a 2-factor option like that you could use.

Looks like Visa got further with the Rapid Alerts than I thought. Wells Fargo and a couple others are offering it. I would definitely look for a fraud protected card that has that feature.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards/alerts/

In your situation I'd also suggest getting a different low-limit card for online purchases (where you can't paypal). Don't use it locally for anything. Might help shed light on if it's a local problem or an online thing.
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Last edited by MaD; 01-12-2014 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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personally any old cards or any paper work that could give away information i rip up and throw out half on one pick up day then the other half on another. That way they have a much harder time to pick through my stuff. I also burn atleast half of my old cards before canning them.

call me paranoid but its what i do. I also monitor all of my card (credit and debit) on my phone atleast once every two days.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, so this is embarrassing - but after doing some more thinking last night and following up this morning, it turns out to just be an accident. My mother is named on my account as I'm a college student and want someone to be named on my account should something ever happen to me - and she accidentally made a transfer out of my account instead of hers. Normally this would be easy to identify as it's almost always marked "Transfer" on the transaction, but she chooses to make her own memo's for them and all I end up seeing is a debit to my account.

Long story short - crisis averted. But nonetheless, getting my CC info stolen twice in a year is only a bit better than 3 times . Keep the tips coming guys!

I think my favorite idea so far is the text alerts - I'll have to see what I can do on that front.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I shred and burn old CC and papers
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Shredding all old statements is an important practice. However, most credit card fraud seems to originate from the point of sale through skimming by employees on a small scale or hacks of payment processing systems on a large scale. There is very little you can do about the latter, other than not using a card at all. The former can be mitigated by being very choosey about where you use your card. Restaurants and carry out are very high risk since servers will often take your card out of your view to complete the transaction, opening a window to easily skim the card data with a handheld device. This type of skimming can also occur at retailers at which a cashier scans the card behind the counter. Also, be very careful about small "niche" websites selling merchandise. They can be shady at best (substandard merchandise, sneaky upcharges or return policies, etc.), or simply fronts for stealing card data at worst. Do not pay for porn.

My CC information was stolen and a clone card was produced a couple years back and I am 99% sure it was the waiter at a chain restaurant I went to a county over for a friend's birthday. I charged dinner with my card and three days later a bunch of fraudulent charges popped up, including at a gas station in that general vicinity. It is clear they filled up their tank to test the card and then went on a shopping spree when it worked. Skimming does happen.
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