If you are a business man, a blogger or an entrepreneur, you are most likely to have several bank accounts. Whether you have 1 account or several, no one wants to be a victim of credit card scam.
Before I talk about my recent personal experience, I would like to ask you, yes you my friend, a question. How many times do you actually check your bank accounts? Let me rephrase that. How often do you monitor your online banking activity? If the answer is everyday then my friend, you have some serious issues OR I will assume that you are rich and addicted to see the big numbers on the screen.
However, on the serious note: Not that many people actively monitor online banking activity. I am not saying that you have to log in to your account every day. Monitoring online banking account is pretty simple and you must do it. Why you ask? Well read on…
Couple of months ago, I registered with stamps.com. I paid $9.99 and received their trial package including the digital scale. I was excited since I just started my offline marketing business. However, I was so busy with other projects that I had to pause the offline stuff for sometimes. What I didn’t know was that after the trial period, I was billed $15.99 every month for 2 months until I logged into my account and saw these charges. What if I didn’t log in for a year? I would have never known stamps.com was charging my card.
Stamps.com sends you a nice looking package with an installation CD and free trial offer. I have not seen them mention about the charges anywhere in the package. Since I was into offline stuff, I wanted to check them out so I installed their software. Then I was asked to register an account with them so I did. After that, I couldn’t resist to pay only $9.99 for the digital balance and the free stamps so I did and that’s where they got me, bamm!
It is really not cool to make a HUGE text that reads “FREE STAMPS and DIGITAL SCALE” and then have a tiny faint looking text far away somewhere in the corner reading “15.99 per month after trial”. Do you guys get what I mean? It really sucks and this kind of tactic falls under unethical marketing and I definitely do not practice that Just Google about stamps.com and their unauthorized charges and see how many unhappy results you get on the first page.
I am not here to bash stamps.com but to give you an example of what happens when you do not research in depth before making a purchase and/or do not keep an eye on your banking activities.
The second case I would like to talk about is the “EXPERIAN FREECREDSCR 877 3002507 * CA” scam. I have no idea how they got a hold of my credit card details. One day I just happen to log in to my account and see 3 charges which totaled over $45. I was seriously mad because I clearly knew I didn’t order any credit report. The interesting part was that, my card was pretty new and I have not used it anywhere else except Amazon, discover and 2 other companies I can’t recall. Do you think these companies share your personal details including your credit cards, score and history? I love Amazon so I can vouch for them but I really don’t know about others.
Just Google “EXPERIAN FREECREDSCR 877 3002507 * CA” and see what comes up. One good source would be by complaintwire.org
So, in both cases, I managed to get my money back. Easy it was? Well not really. I had to call them and then listen to some of their B/S etc.
So my friends, I am sure now you know why it is important to monitor your online banking activities. You do not have to login every day. Let me provide a simple solution that is a no brainer.
Prevent Unauthorized Charges on your Credit Card
All bank accounts have an “Alert” option. When you log in to your account, you will see an alert tab either on top or on the left side (some banks may have it on different locations). Go to the “Alert” tab and activate the different alerts. You can either get alerts through email or SMS. This is very easy and I recommend that you do it now. Today, whenever my credit cards are charged or if an online transaction takes place that involves my bank account, I receive an email right away on my phone.
This way I do not have to regularly monitor my bank accounts since all the activities will be directly sent to my phone . This is the simplest thing you can do to keep your records straight.
This technique doesn’t prevent your account from getting hacked or scammed; however, imagine this for a second: what if someone hacks your account and uses your credit card to purchase something. You immediately receive a notification about the charge and thus able to take action quickly. I hope you get the point.
Resources: Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
I have given you the most important tip which is to setup email and mobile alert for your banking accounts. Do this and you won’t lose any money. There are several other related topics that I wanted to cover such as preventing your banking details from getting hacked, prevent credit card fraud etc. However, I found several useful resources which talk about similar issues. There is no reason for me to re-write the stuff that is already present on the world wide web so check them out below.
- Credit Card Fraud: 21 Tips to Protect Yourself
- Could online hackers steal your cash?
- Protecting Your Online Brokerage Accounts and Bank Accounts
- How to keep the money in your bank account safe
- Secure Your Accounts and Banking Activities
I hope you take this simple action. Precaution is better than cure my friend. Another useful tip: please use good antivirus software like malwarebytes to clean/remove Trojans from your system before ever logging into your bank accounts. Were you a victim of credit card scam? What other methods would you suggest that will help minimize credit card frauds and unauthorized charges?