We recently received a call from our credit card provider asking to confirm some recent transactions. This has happened a few times already and the only reason I can think of is that we used the credit card once at Winners last Fall (As you may recall, credit and debit card information was stolen from the parent company of Winners and HomeSense in 2006). Until now, the calls have been a mere annoyance and we were actually responsible for the transactions and the credit card provider was simply twitchy about certain orders made over the Internet.

This time though, someone tried to order discount airline tickets in Europe using our credit card number and the transaction was denied. As soon as I let them know that we did not order those tickets, the provider simply cancelled our card and promised to send new cards. Fortunately, the fraud attempt was already unsuccessful and there was no further action needed on our part. To prevent fraud or worse identity theft, be sure to take at least basic precautions:

  1. Check your credit card and bank statements every month and watch out for suspicious transactions, especially if you shopped at Winners or HomeSense during the period from mid-May to December 2006.
  2. Shred all your receipts and bills that you are throwing away.
  3. Order your credit reports once every year.

More fraud prevention tips, including what to do if you suspect that you are a victim of fraud can be found on the Ottawa Police website.

This article has 11 comments

  1. Pingback:   Fraud Prevention Tips by travel.ZapiZapi.com

  2. These details show why along with fraudsters courts should prosecute banks too for not implementing fraud deterring ID KEY system.

    Banks have option to reduce card, cheque, mail order and identity fraud to VIRTUALLY ZERO permanently simply by implementing ID KEY system described on website http://www.xwave.co.uk

    Fake documents have made signature system unreliable but ID stickers will enable us to personalise them like passports to make these signatures reliable again.

    Skimmers and pin-hole cameras have made ATM transactions unreliable but use of Card Key Code stored on ID KEY to activate ATMs will make ATM transactions reliable again. This system will make use of stolen and skimmed cards meaningless.

    This shows that if banks implement ID KEY system we will not have to prosecute organisations for failing to protect our personal and card details since these details will not get misused.

  3. Approximately 246,000 cases of identity theft were filed between January, 2004 and December, 2004 – a staggering increase of 52% since 2002.

    “Shred all your receipts and bills that you are throwing away.” Absolutely…

    Thank you for sharing a helpful information.

  4. I personally always use my credit card for all my purchase. While not being the safest way against fraud, there is now more fraud committed on debit cards than credit cards. Other technique such as chips on cards are being tested right now. Unfortunately, this is only a matter of time before somebody hack them.
    Thank you for the reminder, we are never too careful.

  5. Many years ago, I’ve had someone make a copy of my credit card and so I was simultaneously making transactions on both ends of the greater Toronto area. The fraudsters racked up about $12K on my credit card which was just over my maximum before my card pooched out.

    So, one method I’ve employed to detect fraudulent activity is to call up my credit card and move my credit limit LOWER to the point where I’m unlikely spend that much on a monthly basis. If I do need to make an unusually large transaction, I pick up my cell phone and call them to raise the credit limit to where I need it to be. After the transaction goes through and is paid up, then I call again to lower my credit limit back down to my usual spending level.

    In that way, the most that a fraudster may potentially get out of my card in the future would be one maybe two thousand dollars before they’re detected (by hitting the limit on the card), depending upon when they decide to strike.

    Anyways, I thought that might be a useful tip to your other readers!

  6. The biggest hassle about this is that you then have to inform every company that does automatic deductions from your credit card of the new number. When this happened to me, some automatic deductions were denied, of course, because of the timing of the cancellations. Then I was slapped with card rejection penalty fees by some vendors and had to call and explain and try to get those reversed.

    By the way, they don’t always catch these unauthorized charges, I once had my card fraudulently charged in Zimbabwe, Paris, NY, etc all in the same month over a few weeks and it took me receiving my monthly statement and calling VISA to report the fraudulent charges before the card was cancelled.

  7. We had our debit card “skimmed” at a major movie theater. To pay for our tickets my wife swiped her debit card at the self service stand. Apparently, there was a card reader on top of the device that captured our card number and pin number.

    PC bank called us the next day to validate some huge withdrawals from our bank account. The withdrawals were unsuccessful and the card was canceled.

    Until the banks use Smart Card Technology we’ll no longer use self service machines. They’re just too risky.

  8. Canadian Capitalist

    I use my credit card for every purchase. I don’t know if it offers us more protection but with a debit card, I am always worried that someone can have access to our bank accounts.

    Fortunately, I didn’t have any pre-authorized bill payments on the canceled card. It would have been a real hassle having to call every utility to make new arrangements.

  9. Shredding receipts and bank statements is a lot of work. I took them out to the beach and had a bonfire instead.

  10. If you ever wonder what thieves (Ie. global theft networks) do with stolen credit cards check out the NBC “To Catch an ID thief” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17805134/ Video is at the bottom right.

    I thought I knew what was done, but it’s far more sophisticated. Stolen CC is used to order expensive goods online through less-than trustworthy US merchants and shipped to a deceived 3rd party in the US who is deceived into shipping the goods to Africa (Benin west of Nigeria) and sold on the street for any amount since $0 was paid for it.
    Pretty incredible!

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