Personal Finance

Credit Card Fraud


A couple of years ago I upgraded my favorite credit card to an annual fee option ($190 a year, totally worth it, topic for another day). The moment I did it, I started having terrible luck with getting my card number stolen. In the summer of 2011 it happened twice! After the first incident I was issued a new card and within a month that one was misused again. Thankfully I wasn’t liable for any of the fraudulent charges, but having to update all preauthorized payments is a pain. Do it twice in 2 months, and you might think about canceling the card completely!

Fast forward to January 15th of this year. I called Mastercard requesting a new statement closing date – wanted to change it from the 9th of the month to the 1st of the month. (The dates are sort of important here, please bear with me for a couple more paragraphs.) Instead of doing a short month and then starting on February 1st, they let the billing cycle run for 7 weeks, and closed the statement on March 1st. That meant I hadn’t looked at the account closely for nearly 2 months.

If you were to look at my statement, you’d see 1) on average 150-200 charges every month 2) In December my statement was in the 5 figures because of the end-of-the-year business spending 3) AND, I pay off the balance in round numbers, like, $3,000 or $5,000 etc. You might easily conclude I’m a bimbo who doesn’t check the statement line by line.

This morning I discovered a fraudulent charge for $160 or so. The date of that charge is January 16th.

In 2011 they ran up thousands of dollars overnight and the card was blocked within hours. This time it’s a single charge.

Based on the fact that every freaking time I call the company to request a change to my account, I have problems with theft, I’m now firmly convinced that it’s someone, or rather, someones, within the company who are involved in this. Their modes vary, obviously. Some try to slip in a charge unnoticed, others go the whole hog and siphon as much as they can. It’s ridiculous, but I’m almost afraid to call the company out of fear of drawing attention.

As long as they continue protecting me from these fraudulent charges, I’ll continue dealing with it as needed. It’s a hassle, no doubt (arghhh), but I’m getting pretty good perks with it.

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