Chris' Corner: If you didn't authorize it, then by all means question it. Immediately!

If you didn't authorize it, then by all means question it. Immediately!

Russel Ray, a great source of information for all things related to home inspections, and a very good photographer, posted this information about credit card charges.  At any time of the year, but especially now, be vigilant about credit card charges... Read on to find out about Russel's exerience and ensure that nothing like this happens to you.

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If you didn't authorize it,
then by all means question it.

Back in 1998 I got hit with identity theft in the form of bank fraud — charges to my bank account that I did not authorize. That was back when I was still getting paper statements, so by the time I knew what was happening, the money was gone.

Fortunately, all it cost me was $50 and the bank covered everything else. However, $50 is $50, and the lost time, the aggravation, and the inconvenience cost me way more than the $50.

When online banking came along and I realized that I could monitor my various accounts minute by minute if I wanted to, I jumped at the opportunity. I don't monitor them by the minute, but I do monitor them daily.

Each morning, around 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time, I log in to my accounts to see what charges are pending and which cleared overnight.

On December 6 there was a charge from Avontuur for $1.01. I haven't charged an insignificant amount like that since probably the late 1970s and I didn't recognize Avontuur. A quick Google search returned several Avontuur pages, but one stuck out specifically:



I didn't recognize any of the Avontuurs as any that I have ever done business with, but Google telling me that that site may be compromised gave me a good idea of what might be going on.

What many criminals do is charge a small amount to your credit card just to see if it will be accepted; if it is, the card's good and they can go on their spending spree.

I called my bank, Union Bank, and told them that the charge was unauthorized. We canceled my card but another charge had already come in:

Fraudulent charge

That charge of $305.84 to Divers Supply has been pending since December 7, and it will be pending until Union Bank's Fraud Division is finished trying to track down the criminal.

If you have even one checking or savings account that has a debit card or credit card, or online bill paying, attached to it, I highly recommend checking your account each day to see what charges cleared overnight and what charges are pending. You just might save yourself a lot of money, time, and aggravation.

Sure it's only $1.01 which too many people won't question, and therein lies the problem. If you didn't authorize it, then by all means question it. Immediately!

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Comment balloon 0 commentsChris Smith • December 09 2011 02:13PM