Why It Pays To Check Your Credit Card

February 14, 2020

Why It pays to check

How often do you check your credit card transactions? It is it daily, weekly, monthly, annually or not at all?  

The less you check where and how your money is being spent, the more likely the fraudulent crooks will be living off your income without you knowing it. Enjoying a lifestyle at your expense.  I am referring to unauthorised automatic deductions from credit cards. 

With my recent experience all I can say is lucky I monitor my card on a monthly basis. More so now I am a self-funded retiree who loves buying clothes.  

My story

I was going through my transactions using my online bank tool Money Tracker. It has commodity codes attached to items I have purchased. It provides me with a wonderful means to monitor my itemised and collective expenditure i.e. medical expenses, dining out, fitness, insurances, travel, groceries and more. While I would like to add some extra codes the good thing is I can change the automatic allocation e.g.  if the banks default code was allocated to a car expense because of its name ‘Fuel Yourself’ and the actual spend was at a restaurant I have the ability to replace this code with the Dining Out code. 

It is fabulous. It was also how I detected the pattern of unauthorised automatic transactions being deducted from my credit card throughout January. 

I discovered regular amounts of $7.99 from iTunes, some twice in one day, and some with higher values. They were nibbling away at my account, maybe testing me out as at the end of the month $479 was taken from Telstra Online Shop and I am not with Telstra nor have I shopped with them.

At first I questioned myself on whether I had purchased something ad-hoc and reviewed my actions over the last few weeks. I definitely had not been buying any new music, Apps nor any other large purchase. 

I was not a happy girl when I realised I had been subjected to more scumbags living off my hard earned money. To make matters worse I had to wait a whole weekend before I could speak to someone about it.  Needless to say I was on the phone to my bank first thing Monday morning.

Until my recent experience I didn’t realise how common it is and in conversation discovered many people I know who have been subjected to fraud. Before you jump up and down saying “well don’t have automatic payment deductions”, the world has changed. It is convenient and it can still happen anyway if you pay by credit card and don’t have automatic deductions applied. 

In conversation with the bank they advised that the credit card fraud business is a global billion- dollar industry.

Statistics: 

  • Merchants in the United States are losing approximately $190 billion a year to credit card fraud – much of it online, according to a 2009 Lexis Nexis study –  The True Cost of Fraud. Banks lose $11 billion and customers loses about 4.8 billion, so merchants lose almost twenty times as much as banks. 
  • Telecommunications is a commodity; it is wide open to online fraud. Crooks have thousands of credit card numbers and are trying all the time to do something, like set up hundreds of Skype accounts with credits for say a hundred dollars, that they can then go and sell out on the streets. These losses are scary, and present a deep systemic problem. 
  • Most commonly committed types of fraud include: cheques with insufficient funds, internet sales, website miss-directions, charities fraud, work-from-home scams, pyramid schemes, identity theft, credit card fraud, debt elimination, insurance fraud. 
  • For the banks and credit card company’s fraud is a big problem but for the rest of us it is humongous – those costs are passed on to us one way or another  
  • In the U.S., card issuers lost $4.91 billion and merchants lost $2.95 billion. Those losses do not include related costs issuers and merchants incur. In 2020, global card fraud will exceed $35.54 billion. Aug 4, 2015. Financial identity theft is the most common form of identity theft-when someone uses another person’s information for financial gain. For instance, a fraudster may use your bank account or credit card numbers to steal money or make purchases, or use your Social Security number to open a new credit card. 
  • An estimated 126,300 persons in Australia were victims of identity theft (or 0.7% of the population aged 15 and over). The majority of persons who experienced identity theft experienced a single incident (103,400 or 82%).Apr 20, 2016.

Outcome:

The bank was extremely helpful. On the same day of contact their fraud section compiled and emailed their report for my sign off. 

Within four days, my replacement credit cards were received by post. 

The illegal iTunes deductions were refunded with the larger Telstra one to come. 

The difficult part was not having a card to use. I needed to physically go into my bank and with licence ID, withdraw cash to cover me for the rest of the week. Lucky I wasn’t overseas.

The time consuming part for me was to update my details with my many direct debit merchants. There were a few hiccups as I have only visited some of their web sites once or twice so there were issues logging in. 

The redeeming part in dealing with my stress factor, I had recorded all my merchants on a spreadsheet and knew who to update.  

Future

The idea in our fast paced electronic computerised industry is to know how to monitor and manage your money in the best way possible. Things are not going back to how they were whether we want them to or not. It has come down to recognising the new ways scammers work, doing our best to make it more difficult for them and to regularly check your accounts.  

Acknowledgments:

www.forbes.com

www.legaldictionary.net/fraud

www.businesswire.com

 

www.equifax.com › personal › education › types-of-identity-theft 

www.abs.gov.au › ausstats