So Someone Tried To Use My Credit Card To Buy A Laptop…

It was a particularly dull morning, the excitement of spring watered down by the constant downpour dampening everyone’s spirits… when my trusted Nokia rang.

It was an automated message.

I was about to hang up when I caught my bank’s name and it was from the fraud department notifying me of some activities on a credit card I rarely use! The message directed me to call a number. I quickly grabbed a pen and noted down the number.

But I didn’t call back that number. Instead I called my bank. Why? The number may or may not be legit! Years of working on a related field made this response almost instinctive!

credit card theft moneycone

Sure enough someone had used my card to help himself/herself (hey I’m an equal opportunity blogger!) to a Lenovo! There were some more charges all made the same day. The bank quickly shutdown the card and promised to send me another one advising me to shred the card.

The last time I used the card was to order something online from outside the US. Not saying that online outfit is the culprit, but a possibility. Luckily, the damage was minimal and was caught in time.
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What Can You Do To Minimize Credit Card Fraud?

  • Shop from known retailers as much as possible. Even though the company I used was a well known company, I had never shopped with them before
  • If the site is based outside the US, be extra cautious! The site I was shopping at was based in the Middle East. I was simply trying to cash out my expiring miles from an airline I had used a while ago!
  • Always setup alerts on your credit card. This is one type of spam you should read! I usually setup alerts on all cards, ATM and credit cards, but skipped this step for this card since I hardly use this card
  • If you must shop from an unknown retailer, or at a non domestic site, use disposable credit card numbers. I know Discover provides this. Check with your card company. Disposable card numbers are generated online for one time use.
  • If you get a call from your bank asking you to call back on a number, don’t! Always call the number at the back of your card. In my case it was a legitimate call, but calling unknown numbers is just asking for trouble!
  • Never enter any sensitive information, not just credit card info. on sites that doesn’t begin with https! http is not secure! The ‘s’ in https stands for secure!
  • If feasible, avoid storing your credit card information with the retailer.

Ironically, when I was ordering from this site, I kept telling myself that I should be using a disposable credit card number and not this card! Why didn’t I? Laziness! It was one extra step to login, generate and note the number!

11.1 million people fall victim to identity theft each year and fraudulent credit card use account for nearly half a billion dollars worth of loss each year!

Don’t become another statistic.

(Here’s another great post on how to protect yourself from Id theft)

30 thoughts on “So Someone Tried To Use My Credit Card To Buy A Laptop…

  1. Well, that sucks. It’s a good thing you caught the activity before it got out too out of hand.

  2. [...] Someone Used My Credit Card To Buy A Laptop! @ MoneyCone [...]

  3. I like when credit card companies call me when there is a suspicious activity. This also happens to me but it wasn’t suspicious as I am the one who purchase the item. I have not used one of my credit card for quite some time so I made big purchase on it. The credit card company called me to validate the purchase and I told them that it was from me and I thank them for letting me know.

    At least I know that they are doing this instead of knowing the suspicious activity after I received the account statement.

  4. I always use the official number to call the financial companies. I have received spam that looks like it came from paypal and other phishing scan so I’m on the lookout for those.
    Hope you get your account straighten out.

  5. Sorry to hear about that. Credit card fraudsters and identity thieves make me so mad. I’m pretty paranoid about shopping online and try to get a new credit card number every year. I also avoid using plastic at hole in the wall shops and restaurants b/c those type of places are also more likely to sell credit card numbers to the black market. I need to get better at checking my credit report for errors more frequently because I’ve been lazy about that. That’s a great tip about disposable numbers. I’ll have to check if my bank does that. -Sydney

  6. Its happened to me but I’ve caught it myself by going over my credit card bill.
    You gave some really good pointers.

    • The last time this happened was a few years ago and I had to catch it after looking at the statement as well. After that experience, I always look at my statement before paying off a card.

      This is one item I never put on auto pay.

  7. Glad u didnt get scammed! I always write “SEE ID” in the back of my card to help.

    Online stuff… I donno though. They can charge away, but it will always be removed if I call my card. They better.. I have a large line of credit!

  8. That really does suck! I had the same thing happen to me a couple years ago. I got a random call from a number I had never seen before at like 11pm. It was my bank, and so I called the number on the back of my card, and they told me there were some charges pending from Croatia! I’m in California! They immediately canceled and reissued me a new card.

    @Financial Samurai – Honestly, working in retail, “See ID” is pointless. Most stores have agreements with the credit card processors that don’t require ID checks, and as a result, they ask their cashiers to NOT ask for ID ever.

  9. Setting up alerts is a good idea, I get an email the instant any transaction goes through.

  10. You should check ALL your accounts make sure it wasn’t your personal computer that was hacked.

  11. Glad it turned out OK. We had a similar occurrence with my wife’s debit card. Don’t know how they got the number, but we had two separate $700 charges. BofA handled it well, though. Good points on the precautions to take.

  12. Excellent advice. This has happened to us several times and the credit card always notifies us quickly. We have never been liable for any charges. Thanks for the info about the disposable cards (it does seem like a bit of a hassle).

  13. This happened to me when I was traveling on business. Someone took my number and bought things online. The company canceled and replaced the card. It is always good to have another card so you won’t be inconvenienced.

    • True KC! I don’t carry too many cards, so I was glad my primary card wasn’t the one that was compromised.

  14. I like the idea of having the alerts set up on your card. It’s a great way to keep track. Btw, do you know if Chase offers disposable card numbers? I know Bofa did when I was with them but I’m not sure if Chase does. That’s prob the best way to avoid fraud from buying online.

  15. Credit cards are often easy access to fraud activities, the loss comes down as a shock if neglected even slightly. Thanks for sharing your experience and smart tips to stop ourselves from being cheated.

  16. Sorry to hear about your ordeal! At least by using a credit card for online purchases you have more security and support than using a debit card! A lot of people don’t realise the difference…

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