Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And I’ve been fooled before: a victim of credit card fraud, over $12,000 was charged to my account in just over six hours. I found out in the most inconvenient fashion; while exiting a parking garage after a rare romantic dinner with my husband, both our credit cards were declined at the checkpoint. Confused and frustrated – though lucky to have carried some cash that day – we arrived home to find two voice messages from VISA, asking us to call their fraud centre immediately.
So, we knew one of our credit cards had been compromised. However, thanks to insurance and card-user safeguards, we wouldn’t be responsible for the fraudulent charges. Still, we were impacted in the following ways:
1) My credit card was immediately cancelled, which meant that for this shopaholic, I had to wait up to 10 business days before a replacement would arrive. As I had holiday shopping to complete, it was highly frustrating.
2) A new card meant a new card number – which required several phone calls to creditors who auto-charge my card monthly. Between the insurance company, the cable company, utilities and various charitable organizations, I reckon I spent hours getting everything updated in their systems.
3) That feeling of being victimized. So, someone got a hold of my financial details and someone went on a shopping spree in San Francisco. But who? And more importantly, HOW?
The truth is, I have no idea how my credit card was compromised. But I immediately realized that there were steps I could take to prevent fraudulent activity; everything from safeguarding my PIN to ensuring that I don’t give thieves access to my personal and banking information – especially via documents that have been carelessly thrown away. Think about it – when was the last time you tossed a credit card statement in the trash? You could have tossed a thief everything he needs to steal your identification.
March is Fraud Prevention Month. According to Sylvain Patry, senior vice president of ProtectionPower.ca and identity theft expert, “shredding documents isn’t just for businesses and people with something to hide. Canadian households are full of documents that contain potentially compromising information.” (more…)