Thursday, April 23, 2009


I received a call from my credit card company's fraud alert department today. They wanted to verify some recent charges with me. Turns out my credit card number has been compromised. There was a charge of $1.44 from "NY Times" on 4/19. Nope, don't recognize that one. Then today, there is a charge of $616.85 from an online purchase at, apparently a cycling store. Nope, don't recognize that one either. So yes, a thief has gotten hold of one of my credit cards. The cc company told me the best thing to do is close this credit card number and they will issue me a new one. And they said of course I wouldn't be responsible for the charges. I think it's great that they have a fraud department looking for these things. So, being the curious person that I am, I started researching how this kind of credit card fraud can occur. This particular credit card of mine is one that I seldom use in brick & mortar stores. It is used mainly online. So I think this happened while shopping online. After some research, I've found that this is a frequent method for thieves. Store merchants use many different third-party Visa and Mastercard processing companies. The data could be compromised at any of these third party credit card processing companies. All it takes is a dishonest employee, or hacker who gets into the data. Then the credit card number is sold to thieves. They will first try a very small charge to your credit card, like the $1.44 that I received. Most people don't notice it, or deem it too insignificant to do anything about it. After they've verified that the credit card number works with the small charge, they will start charging bigger things on it, like the $616.85 charge. I found an article about this process at the Washington Post. I also found this good article on how to protect yourself. I am a very careful person. I don't get snail mail credit card statements in the mail anymore. I shred any mail with my name and address on it. When I shop online I always look for the "https" and the secured lock symbol in my browser. I am extremely careful at public places about showing my credit card numbers. Even at gas stations I cover up my credit card until it's time to swipe it. After swiping it I quickly cover the numbers up and stick it back in my pant pocket. I look for suspicious devices at ATM's that thieves install to swipe name and card numbers. When I have to put my pin number in anywhere, I go to the length of covering up the numbers with my other hand, or my entire body, as Sally will attest to on our trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a few years ago. That saved me from thieves who tried to withdraw money from my checking account, because they tried the wrong pin too many times. I'm thinking that if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. And if there are cyber thieves out there, there's not a whole lot I can do from my end to protect myself. However, I am going to sign up to use disposable one-time use credit card numbers to shop online. That way the thieves can steal that number, but it won't work for them because it's ONE-time use only. If anyone has any other good tips, feel free to comment here. Nobody came to work on the house today. The drywall guys will be back tomorrow. I called Eric the foreman this morning to tell him that they did a good job cleaning up the mishap yesterday. Told him I appreciated his responsiveness about it. I also told him I liked the placement of the canned lights in the bathroom ceiling. I don't want to be the kind of person who only provides negative feedback and never positive feedback. I remember some bosses I've had in the past who only told me when I did something wrong, but never praised me for doing the right things. I guess that's just expected. I try to not be like that. I think Eric was a little surprised, LOL. We grilled sausages outside for dinner tonight. Yay for the "kitchen" in the backyard! We had the sausages with salad. Total yummy-ness! :)


  1. I love barbeque. I am sorry about your credit card. I am glad the bank called before it was used too much.

  2. gosh girl thats a bummer. thanks for sharing ur story. i use to buy my digicards at the bank and i stopped so i will keep this in mind. i am glad it is cleared up but i am sure it felt terrible going through this!

  3. Wow - great fraud dept! We have had our cards compromised THREE times - one from the database of a reputable retailer in Florida. We have never been to Florida and this was a chain store where we use out card (happens to be Visa debit) - it wasn't online, but it was hackers :) They also called when uncharacteristic purchases were made...a welder and air compressor - but those really were Kurt's :)

    Now I want a sausage...will grab some for bonfire Saturday :D

  4. Thanks for sharing the credit card information. That recently happened to me as well. What a hassle!

    I've enjoyed seeing your updates with the remodeling.

  5. My gosh Christine, that is HORRIBLE! It's nice to see how much I really didn't know about stuff like that.

  6. Sorry about the cc fraud, but I'm happy they sorted it out. I tries to use PayPal as much as I can on my online shopping, or at least the credit card and not the bank card. With the credit card I at least got the bill afterwards.

    I'm a little jealous at your BBQ. We should have grilled tonight, but Daniel went away on a work trip half around the globe this morning, and it is no fun to grill for one. Oh well, I'll probably have my favorite tacos instead.

  7. Wow your fraud thing. you have a good cc company. just when you think you are being careful. Do you pay with paypal at the online stores?

  8. barbecue is nice but what .... We also want to barbecue on Saturday! Have a nice weekend!

  9. Yay for outdoor kitchens. Nice.

    We're on our third cc# this year. I do use my cc to purchase things online, but typically through large retailers (you know, Amazon, Road Runner Sports, Barnes and Nobel, Target...that kind of thing), but it happens. I think it's just a sign of the times. There are LOTS of ways that those who are so inclined can get our info. It's scary.

    Our cc company is awesome. I think that because we've had so much trouble, our account is flagged, and now whenever there's a large purchase, they give us a call to verify that we made it. Nice.

  10. I´m so sorry for your credit card! And thanks for sharing these important informations with us!

    Love BBQ and the sausages looks very delicious!

    Wish you a wonderful and relaxing weekend

  11. THanks for linking me up to this post, that was good information! I need to find out if we have one time use credit card numbers that I can sign up for. It was a shock but I'm much more vigilant now!


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