Credit Card Warning: Watch for Tiny Fraudulent Charges!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by IJ Reilly, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #1
    We're all laying down a lot of plastic this time of year, so we may not pay as much attention to our bills we might otherwise. If you aren't looking very closely, you could easily miss fraudulent charges of the kind which seem to be going around a lot lately.

    I was paying my November business Visa card bill a few days ago, when I noticed a strange $0.13 charge from a company called GFDL in Texas. An 800 number was next to the name. First thing I did was google the phone number -- turns out hundreds if not thousands of people have been charged small sums on their cards from this merchant account. The 800 number does not work, of course. Presumably, these are probing charges. If you don't notice the small charges, the next is a big one. I called the bank and had a new card issued. (This is the second time in a year that this account has been compromised!)

    A couple days later, Discover called to ask me about charges made to my Discover Card. They were big ones, more fraud.

    Anyway, the lesson is, no charge is too small to be serious fraud. Check your statements carefully!
     
  2. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Good advice. I'm so anally careful with mine that it drives the other half to the point of distraction. Despite this, there were a few large unauthorised transactions on my card this year; it was actually the card company who rang and told me the same day. I was really impressed, they overnighted me a new card and sorted everything out, I didn't even have to sign a form or post anything back.

    The chap who rang *strongly* hinted that it was because I had put the card details onto PayPal, apparently they have a history of this due to a very sketchy vetting procedure.

    AppleMatt
     
  3. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #3
    Very good advice right there, I check my bank statement online atleast every other day. It's good practice to do so, makes you far more alert of what money (or lack of) that you have.
     
  4. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #4
    I do not intend on ever having a credit card.
     
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #5
    that means no bank card for you either.

    It is very hard to live in this world with out some type of plasitic. Oh and btw a credit card is much safer than a check card since it puts one more barrier between you and your money.
     
  6. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #6
    ATM cards are apparently vulnerable too, and even more troublesome if they are compromised since they are withdrawing money directly from your account.
     
  7. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

    Joined:
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    #7
    What? Why not?

    Benefits I can think of:
    1) It's free insurance against companies going bust (you get your money back)
    2) Free insurance against companies not delivering what you pay for (you get your money back, usually with one phone call)
    3) Typically 1.5% cashback on everything you buy (which you were buying anyway)
    4) Improves your credit score (everyone needs a house)
    5) At-least a month of not paying for the items you buy (hence, earning interest on the money that's in the bank, which otherwise would be earning interest for Argos/PC World etc).

    I can't see why you wouldn't get one?

    AppleMatt
     
  8. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    Maybe some people know they'd be better off not carrying around a pocketful of instant credit.
     
  9. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    #9
    Yeah I suppose if you're impulsive they're a very, very bad idea.
     
  10. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #10
    I was the victim of identity theft 10 years ago. I can't begin to tell you what a hassle it is. Your creditors treat you like a criminal. It takes hours and hours and hours to deal with.

    In this day and age, you're nuts if you don't take a proactive role in making sure this doesn't happen or to nip it in the bud if it does. There are many tools to deal with it.

    You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually. You can get one from each of the 3 bureaus. Get one every 4 months to keep tabs on what's going on. Of course, you can subscribe to a service that monitors it for you for a fee.

    Your bank likely offers great tools to keep tabs on your credit/debit cards. My bank, Chase, has a service where you can get an email/text/phone call for transactions where you set the limits. A very valuable tool. I also receive daily emails of all transactions on my accounts. As mentioned, you should look at your accounts online on a very regular basis.

    [/soapbox]
     
  11. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #11
    Bingo. I'm a born and bred 21st century consumer. I cannot be trusted with pretend money.
     
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #12
    ah. Personally I would have at least one credit card for emergencies. something can always come up that you might need the fund here an now and if you do not have any in your account you are SOL.

    I treat my credit card as only a places to track everything and I just pay it off in full every month so no interested. But lets say I loose my job. Now I am pulling on limited savings. My credit cards would extent my savings a little longer.

    Now I will admit I have current about 4 months and growing in my savings right now so it not like I am not prepared or emergencies. But it is just an example.
     
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #13
    I can't imagine not having credit cards. I don't use them to borrow as I pay my bills each month but they are indispensable for tracking everything, give you extended warranties on major purchases and offer you protection should there be a problem with the seller.

    Aside of that, how does one rent a car, stay in a hotel, buy airline tickets without a credit card? I know there are ways but who needs the hassle.
     
  14. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #14
    I am like you. I used mine more to track everything and put everything in one spot. I route what ever bills I can to the credit card. Might as well take the free cash back.

    But you can always get a check card. Acts like a credit card just pulls the money straight from your account.
     
  15. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #15
    I don't have a credit card, but when I signed up for the *free* account of Rhapsody, they started charging me $13 a month. Fortunately they gave me a refund, but their practices stink.

    Stay away from Rhapsody. Avert your eyes. Hear no evil. iTunes rocks.

    Ahem.. That being said, I got my first credit card approved last year, and they opened me at $4k, and a bit later jumped it to $6k. I closed the account after realizing you don't need a credit card to establish a credit history. Don't get one if you can at all avoid it - I watched my parents deal with credit debt so much I'm sick of it. As the OP says, there's other risks involved as well..
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Just like there are risks involved in using cash and bank debit cards.
     
  17. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    I also pay the balance in full every month on every card, so using cards is like getting a free loan. Running a credit card balance is economic suicide. Maintaining a balance is also a good way to miss fraudulent charges. Some of the banks actually make this frighteningly easy -- by allowing you to automatically make the minimum payment due every month. No need to look at your statement at all! I have yet to see a bank that allows you to set your automatic payment as the full balance due.
     
  18. sangosimo Guest

    sangosimo

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #18
    nail. head. A credit card provides me with more safety than cash. A credit card only becomes a problem is you start spending money you don't have.
     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #19
    My Mastercard bank, Bank of Montreal, does the full amount as a PAD every month.

    AMEX however is even worse than banks. They have yet to offer a PAD service, that I am aware of.

    They hope, nay pray, that you forgot. A$$holes.
     
  20. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    Aug 25, 2007
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    Oregon
    #20
    Wow you mean financial companies are dishonest?!:eek:

    Who would have known.

    Seriously its a part time job just to keep people from stealing from you these days.
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    How are they dishonest if they don't allow this?

    They make money when people don't pay their bills. If you don't pay, it's not their fault, or problem. They're not trying to trick you. They're just making it your responsibility to pay your loan. In return, what you're getting is a free loan. I see no problem with how credit card companies do business. You don't just "get" a credit card. You apply. If you get a credit card and use it, but don't have any way to pay it, it's the user's fault, not the credit card company's.

    This loan even comes with benefits such as an instant 1-2% cashback, extended warranty on purchases, etc. How dishonest of them.
     
  22. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #22
    I agree, but one of my cards did have a rather deceptive pay-amount feature that automatically entered the minimum due, which you could miss if you clicked through quickly. You had to look up the balance and enter it manually. I think that was MBNA, which is now part of B of A. Now you can click on "pay balance," but I still don't see a way of paying it automatically.
     
  23. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #23
    I waved goodbye to AMEX this year after some peculiar activity on my account. That, and somebody managing to successfully change the address on my account to something else. I'd heard a lot of stores about AMEX being a veritable minefield for fraud, but the gold card was sooo pretty :(

    Anyway, after that I started a subscription with Equifax (you could do the same with any credit reference agency offering such a service) that monitors my credit file. I'm emailed immediately if any change is detected, such as a new application for credit, a change of address on existing credit, or any other potential problem. It even picks up changes in credit limit.

    There's a small monthly fee, but IMHO it's a small price to pay for helping protect this abstract digital record that's so easy to screw up and so difficult to fix.

    Thanks OP for the warning about small transactions - definitely sage advice. Also, when shopping out in the real world be sure your plastic never leaves your sight; don't let waiting staff take your card away to process a charge, you're massively increasing the risk of it being 'skimmed' and then cloned for fraudulent use. Don't keep your PIN number with your card (if applicable) and ensure your credit limits are set reasonably so they only accommodate your regular spending. Don't let your credit card company raise them too high!

    Do always use credit cards and not debit cards, though. With a debit card you leave yourself open to the simplest of things, such as a company double-authorising a transaction. While the charge may only come off once, that double authorisation could leave you out of pocket for over a week! Also bear in mind that fraud on a credit card is fraud you haven't had to pay for yet and, hopefully, will never have to. Fraud on a debit card is your problem right now - you'll have to fight to get your money back, and your bills, and credit file, may suffer in the mean time.

    Merry Christmas!
     
  24. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #24
    Picky, picky. I think breathing is an unnecessary risk also. So many airborne diseases!

    What I mean is for some people having a credit card is an unwarranted, unnecessary & trivial risk that they can go without. For others it's not.
     
  25. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Palookaville
    #25
    How do you manage this at a restaurant -- by following your waiter back to the kitchen?
     

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