I’ll be the first to admit that I have a pretty nice collection of points and mileage-earning credit cards, so it’s no surprise that I religiously log on to check my statements to make sure that bills are paid on time and points have posted correctly.
Well, after working all day yesterday on location, with no chance to even connect to the internet (yes.. I even missed the whole AAdvantage miles/fuel surcharge fiasco), I was surprised to find out that I had somehow went “shopping” according to the information that posted in the “pending transactions” list on my Chase Sapphire Preferred account. I noticed two (hopefully they’re the only 2) transactions that I did not recognize – a $407.95 gift card purchase from Michaels and a $1.00 temporary authorization charge from SurfStitch, an Australian clothing company.
In somewhat of a disbelief, I had to really think to myself – did I buy gift cards and go shopping in my sleep? I then had to tell myself out loud that I am the least crafty person, so I’d be the last person on earth to buy a gift card for arts and crafts supplies. Plus, I won’t exactly have a hot Australian beach body in a few weeks with this growing baby bump. Of course that was a silly thought to think I had possibly made the purchases on my own, but it really did run through my brain before contacting Chase.
While I was on the phone with Chase, I had realized that my card was not in my wallet or my possession – still I wasn’t too alarmed because I have misplaced several credit cards in the past, later finding them in coat pockets, under my car seat, or in other random places around my house. Plus, since the Chase Sapphire Preferred is my “go-to” card, I have that number embedded in my brain so that I could make online purchases without even having the card in my hand.
The first thing I did was scan my statement to find out the last place I used the card at a physical location, which was a restaurant on August 8; that means between then and now, I could have lost the card, but that also could just mean that the card is not lost at all and is just hiding in my clutter somewhere. I mean, the card *is* nice and thick and shiny… it’s not a card you wouldn’t notice if it was lost for a long period of time… Anyway… getting off track here.
Chase informed me that both of these charges were made online, and what’s even more alarming, was that the billing address for both of the transactions matched mine. Now I further believe that the card itself was never lost, instead, the information was scraped somewhere online.
On a positive note, Chase was pretty awesome at handling this for me. They immediately closed and changed the account number and are sending me a replacement card. What’s annoying though is that since this is my primary credit card, I’ll have to update all of my auto-saved info/auto-pay accounts with the merchants I have attached to the card when I get my new account number.
I also laughed a bit when the agent told me to “destroy” my Chase Sapphire Preferred card if I found it. Hello, those things are virtually indestructible!
Here’s What Do You Do if This Happens to You:
- First off, you should be checking your statements as often as possible to help identify suspicious activity (I recommend checking daily if possible).
- If you do find a charge you do not recognize, contact your bank and let them know immediately. You will not be responsible for the charges once they are reported. Your account number will be changed immediately, and you will be sent a new replacement card.
- If possible, contact the merchants where the fraudulent charges were made, so they can stop the order from further processing and possibly provide you with valuable information such as the shipping address, method of delivery etc, to help you pinpoint the criminal.
- Check to see the nature of the purchases – was the card use in a physical store? If so, call the store to see if there is surveillance information or a description of the person who used it. If the transactions were made online, did the billing address match yours? If so, that’s an imperative clue suggesting that your secure information was most-likely hacked.
- Don’t always save your credit card information online – sure, it may be convenient to pay using one click or have auto-pay set up in advance, but really, how safe is your information? Improve your noggin by memorizing your credit card number, expiration date, and security code and enter it manually.
So… my question to you: has this ever happened to you or someone in your family in the past? If so, what kind of “shopping spree” did your criminal go on at your expense? How did you handle the situation? Would love to hear about your stories and experiences.
P.S. – To the credit card thief in Dubuque, Iowa- I know where you live – luckily one of the merchants stopped your order from being shipped and gave me your shipping address and phone number. Good luck not getting your stuff, sucker :-P.