CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

CONSTANT VIGILANCE
I’ve been telling people for years that the safest payment method to use online is credit cards. There are plenty of advocates for PayPal and direct debit, but in both of those cases, if someone uses your account fraudulently you’re going to have a much harder time recovering the funds. And today, I’ve actually gotten to experience this MYSELF!

I am a personal finance nerd these days. I’ve blogged before about the software I use to track our expenses. Every few days I log into our Internet banking just to check the new charges that have come through. Yesterday I noticed a new transaction: “POS purchase at AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS” for around $29. Hm. I didn’t order anything from Amazon. I logged into my account and verified there were no orders in there. I contacted the Snook and he confirmed he didn’t order anything either. We both checked our inboxes and spam folders for invoices but couldn’t find anything. I could tell from my exhaustive record-keeping that I had similar transactions in the past, but in each of those cases I was able to relate it to something I’d ordered from Amazon. This was looking dodgier and dodgier. I have to say, getting customer support at Amazon wasn’t easy. Eventually I figured out how to launch a live chat with a CSR, and a nice guy named Pradeep helped me out. I could tell Pradeep was working from a script, but even then it quickly became obvious that he recognised the seriousness of my issue. He referred me to an account specialist via email and suggested I call them as well. This morning I awoke to an email from the specialist confirming that the charges were fraudulent. Someone had used my credit card to set up a new Amazon account and make a purchase. (That’s why I didn’t get any invoice.) Amazon cancelled the account and the order; and they suggested I contact my bank immediately.

So that was the next step. I called up Heritage as soon as they opened this morning and they were very helpful. The CSR was able to email us all the forms we needed to cancel the old card, request a new one, and dispute the fraudulent transactions. He even looked through our recent transactions to see if anything else looked dodgy, but I told him that I’d already checked. It seems not everyone is as vigilant as I am. That’s why the charge was so small; the thieves were testing the waters to see if I’d notice the transaction. If I hadn’t, he said, they would’ve run up a lot more.

So ultimately this hasn’t cost me anything other than some hassle and phone calls. I’ve got to get a form notarised to post back to Heritage, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for my new card to arrive and for the charges to be reversed. Fortunately Rodd and I have separate cards, so we can use his in the meantime. I’ve also had to contact any services that bill my card on a recurring basis to change it over to his. Still, this whole situation could’ve been a LOT worse. I’ve got no idea how the thieves got my card details, but I’m guessing that some site I’ve ordered from in the past was hacked. The best thing you can do in these situations is to keep an eye on your account and report anything suspicious as soon as you see it!

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  1. I’ve had multiple amounts of $30ish stolen from a very old card, and more recently about $600 or so. I have always contacted the bank directly and they deal with it directly. Awesome customer service from them every time. (CBA if you’re curious)

  2. Someone used my card once to put an expensive ad on carsales/com/au -which immediately rang alarm bells for me because I’ve never owned a car! ANZ were great about it. It’s a relief when the banks handle something like this so smoothly!

  3. I onc had my bank call me about 5 minutes after I made a transaction online to verify it – it had set off their fraud filters!

    I always check my credit card statement online regularly, it’s the only way to ensure its still ok.

  4. Im just as careful and I still got stung once. I was away for a few days and didnt have internet access but my bank (IMB who are awesome) noticed a charge and called me on my mobile asking me if the $150 charge from a grocery store in China was legitimite? My response was hell no and thankyou. Thankfully it was a friday afternoon and there was a IMB in the town I was staying in so all it took was five minute visit to fill in the form and I had the money back in my account a few days later.

  5. Sorry this happened, but glad you found it. We’ve been making bookings for things in Europe in anticipation of our trip (did I mention that we’re going to be in EUROPE for 8 weeks?) After the first batch Sandra had an urgent call from the bank, checking that it was kosher. (CBA) We were very happy about that. On an earlier trip another bank cancelled my credit card without contacting me, even though a cursory glance at my transactions would have shown up a flight booked on that card to the country in question. Nothing like being left in another country with a functioning credit card. I think they’ve all upped their game a bit since then.

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