I was almost the victim of identify theft.
On the evening of Dec 23, I received a call from the Chase Freedom Visa Card Fraud Protection alerting me that someone had tried to buy almost $500 worth of goods from a Macy’s in California. Because I live in Michigan, the purchase was quickly red-flagged and denied. Fortunately, I was spared.
The phone call with Chase was quick and painless. They asked me which transactions I’d like to dispute, closed my old account, and told me I’d have a new card with a new number within a matter of days.
Thank You Chase Freedom Card:
I’d like to give a sincere “Thank You” to Chase for protecting my family and I from this fraudulent attempt. I am not sure how other credit cards handle this situation (since this has never happened to me before), but I’ve got to say they have some pretty high standards to live up to.
I’ve been a Chase Freedom Visa card member since 2009. I originally sought them out after seeing a $100 sign-up promotion plus knowing that they had a pretty generous 5% cash back rewards program. At last check, they have raised the sign-up promotion to $200.
Identity Theft Prevention:
I’m not sure how this scammer got a hold of my credit card info. It just goes to show you that you always have to be on your toes no matter how careful you are. However, there are a few precautions you can take to make sure you don’t make yourself as vulnerable as possible:
• Don’t give your info out on the phone. When I first got the phone call from Chase, I actually hung up the phone and called them back using the number on the back of my card. This is my defense mechanism for letting me know that I am talking to the legitimate source. Just like the computer virus that poses as anti-virus software, scammers like to call people posing to be credit card officials and try to get your personal information. No matter what their story is, never give out your information unless you have complete confidence that you are talking to the real company.
• Check your statements regularly. Go online and check your purchases once a week. If anything looks funny or stands out, question it.
• Get a free credit report. Sometimes scammers get your information and open accounts without you even knowing. Requesting a free credit report is the best way to check which accounts are in your name and what activity they have. Again, if you don’t recognize something, take action! [link Equafax]
• Keep that PC clean. Regularly scan your computer for viruses or Trojan worms. These are the back-door programs that hackers use to steal the information you enter online; even if it was entered into a legitimate site. I use a freeware program called Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware to regularly scan my computer.
• Use common sense. Don’t enter your credit card (or any other personal info) into a website you don’t recognize. It doesn’t matter if the sale appears to be a good deal. Stick to known and reputable merchants. Remember that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t real.
Photo credit: Rosie O’Beirne, Flickr
1) Easy Money – Update – Now Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with the Chase Freedom Visa Credit Card
2) Get $150 with a New Discover Card
3) Easy Money – Cash Back on Gas and Groceries with the “Blue Cash Everyday” Card by American Express