Fraud Alert

by James & Miel on August 27, 2008 · 0 comments

When fraud hits, it is normally a bit surprising. I’ve just been hit with fraud, but it seems that I’ve gotten off rather lucky this time.

A third party fraud alert company called James, since his number is listed as my primary contact point, and left an automated message that said fraud was suspected on my debit card. James let me know and I gave the number a call.

I was of course a bit suspicious of calling, but was on guard for them asking for any information. They only asked me for my phone number as confirmation, and never mentioned the name of the bank. As I logged onto my ING account, while we were speaking, it was quite clear that they had correctly identified fraudulent activities.

There were three consecutive charges for $205.30 at a Wal-Mart in Naples, Florida.

Considering that I’m currently in Afghanistan, have never been to Naples, Florida, and don’t shop at Wal-Mart – there was no question about whether it was fraud.

I’m still a bit confused how someone manages to walk into Wal-Mart and make a purchase on a debit card that I have in my wallet here. I’d understand if it were an online purchase, but you’d think something would give with the physical card. It’s still a mystery to me as to how they got my numbers and what I can do to prevent this from happening in the future.

I’m also thinking to myself, “Now if you want to commit fraud, does it make sense to buy three purchases for the same amount right in a row? And, more importantly, don’t you have higher sites than something cheap at Wal-Mart?”

Back in college a friend had her credit card stolen from the campus library and someone was stupid enough to head straight to the store that they worked for, Fred Meyer, and try to buy a camcorder. It didn’t help that it was a guy purchasing the item on a card with a female name. He was recognized by a co-worker and denied the purchase. Then he went immediately to the nearest Fred Meyer and tried to make the same purchase again. Busted!

I’m very lucky that the fraud alert company noticed it though. Living in Afghanistan, I only use my debit card maybe once or twice a month. Thus, I rarely check it either. I would have noticed eventually, as there is very little spending going on here, but it feels better to have sorted it out early.

Now I’ve filled out some paperwork and hopefully everything will be sorted out quickly.

As you can imagine, being in Afghanistan without a way to access cash doesn’t feel so fabulous. Hopefully it will be here in the next several weeks, but I may have to start eating on credit at our place and eating out less!

Fraud alert systems aren’t always right, but they do a good job of picking up on abnormalities. A couple of years back James & went shopping, as he was in need of some goods like shoes, sweaters, and a haircut. After spending a whopping $250 in one day he got a call about abnormal activity on his card. Since I regularly purchase large items for work purposes my credit card only notices when I’ve suddenly disappeared in Dubai with no charges.

Glad they noticed the fraud before I did! Keep your wallet safe!

Best,

Miel

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