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I was a victim of credit card fraud, here’s what I did.

Picture this: You are enjoying your weekend. You are watching the raptors game. The raptors are breaking down New York Knicks’ defence with ease. Go Kyle Lowry. You are happy. Additionally, you have a bag of Miss Vickie’s chips (Jalapeno). Gosh, you are beaming as you can’t stop munching your chips. During the half-time break, you check your voicemail. ICK. There is a voicemail for you from TD Fraud Alert department – “We have detected unauthorized transactions on your credit card. Please call us back if you didn’t authorize the transactions. If you did, please ignore the call.” You quickly login into your EasyWeb and you find this.

Fuck, you are a victim of credit card fraud. You hope they suffered from food poisoning.

K, I can’t bite my tongue anymore. The above person is me. It really made my jaw drop. This happened to me on November 10, 2018 while I was having a relaxed Saturday.

The next step for me was to call the number they left on my voicemail, which I did right away. This is important because reporting an unauthorized transaction late may result in you not getting the full amount back in some cases. I was on hold forever like it always is when you call your banks and cell phone companies. I continued to watch the raptors game and they were winning which made the hold less gloomy. “Please hold while your call is being transferred to the next available agent” This went on and on and on. I was on hold for 50 minutes and the entire call lasted for an hour and 6 minutes. Depending on what kind of credit card you possess, I have heard some credit card customer service lines are fast. Clearly, not in my case but the agent on the phone was super nice and asked me a couple of questions. Plus, she apologized for the long wait time. She said TD will investigate the incident and most likely, the charge should be reversed in 7-14 days.

The charge was reversed in 10 days. Plus, my new card arrived in about 2 weeks. I have a feeling it would have arrived much earlier if not for Canada Post’s rotating strikes. 

Additionally, I checked my credit report with Equifax and TransUnion to find out if anything else was going on. My ask for everyone would be to do the same. It took me less than 5 minutes to get my credit report via TransUnion’s website. I got my credit report for Equifax via Borrowell‘s site as I already had an account there. This took me less than 2 minutes. Both for free. Nothing suspicious showed up.

Now, how do you protect yourself from fraud? I firmly believe there’s no way you can fully protect yourself from fraud in today’s world. Scammers are getting smarter everyday. That’s why I grumble when some of my pals say things like “Oh, I will never be a victim of financial fraud”. Perhaps you are shaking your head right now.

Again, you will never be able to fully protect yourself from fraud but can you do your due diligence to prevent it.

According to Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), here are some tips to keep in mind in order to prevent fraud:

  1. Cover the keypad with your hand or body when entering your PIN so no one can see it
  2. Destroy old credit cards that are no longer valid by cutting them up
  3. Use only trusted and secure websites when sharing personal information or buying something online
  4. Avoid using public computers at libraries or Internet cafés to do your banking or online shopping
  5. Clear the history and cache of the computer when you finish your session if you’re using a public computer
  6. Checking your credit report at least once a year for errors

My plea would be to check your financial transactions every week, if not every day. That way, if you see anything suspicious, you can make the call to your bank or credit card issuer right away. I usually check my EasyWeb at least once a day. This takes me a minute or so to do it. When I am bored, I check my online bank account 5-6 times a day. Clearly, you can tell how exciting my life is.

Going back to that Saturday night, I was upset the scammers got my credit card information.

Terrible.

Fortunately, the raptors won the game that night 128-112. Unfortunately, I ate the entire bag of Miss Vickie’s chips.

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