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Credit Card Compromised

In 2009, 2011, and now 2012, the sole credit card I used was compromised with an inappropriate charge as shown on my credit card's transactions web site. This time a subscription charge of $19.95 from Experian (for credit reports yada) had been billed to my credit card. That the problem may involve Experian seems ironic.
In each of these instances since 2009, my credit card company and I agreed to cancel the credit card and have a new one issued. The credit card company (which is also my bank) credited back to me without argument the amounts of the disputed transactions. The merchants were also more-than-cooperative.
My credit card company said the best means of prevention, in today's high tech world of wireless scanners and similar, remains to check credit card transactions regularly.
I put in my financial notes the steps I need to take each time I have to cancel my credit card due to an ID theft situation. I work in cash or with my debit card (which I otherwise never use) until the new credit card arrives.
Reply to
Elle
It appears that fraudulent Experian charges are a bit of an epidemic right now - see
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Having the charges reversed now is fine, but it is only treating the symptoms, not the disease. People can still request your credit report from Experian, which is how they gain access.
To actually prevent this from happening in the future, you might want to "freeze" your credit at all three credit agencies. See
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Reply to
bo peep
- see
not the disease. People can still request your credit report from Experian, which is how they gain access.
"freeze" your credit at all three credit agencies. See
I was wondering whether others were seeing this problem with "Experian" charges. My google search on this earlier today obviously was not thorough. Thank you for the research.
I am going to hold off freezing for a while and just check my new credit card daily for the immediate future.
Reply to
Elle
Do you use the annualcreditcheck free reporting site which redirects you to experion? I mean the one the govt makes them provide you to detect fraud. They at times have been very very sneaky in additionally signing you up for pay credit reports unless you notice the hidden button to bypass that. I think it got more civilized in last go around. I get mixed up between the three cos, which i alternate free annual checks every four months... never finding anything but cc closed for years of inactivity.
Reply to
dumbstruck
--- Do you use the annualcreditcheck free reporting site which redirects you to experion? I mean the one the govt makes them provide you to detect fraud. They at times have been very very sneaky in additionally signing you up for pay credit reports unless you notice the hidden button to bypass that. I think it got more civilized in last go around. I get mixed up between the three cos, which i alternate free annual checks every four months... never finding anything but cc closed for years of inactivity.
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Hi, no I am pretty sure I have not been on any of the three sites for
anything, including the free annual report, since well before early
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Reply to
Elle
You have to be careful to use the *official* site which is sponsored by the three credit agencies. It does not trick you into signing up for paid services. There are a couple of other sites with very similar names that should be avoided (like the one you suggested!). The "good" site is
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Reply to
bo peep
I strongly recommend at least two credit cards for just this situation (or a lost card which needs to be canceled). Cash or a debit card are not substitutes, especially if you need to, say, rent a car.
There's no downside - most cards have no annual fee nowadays anyway.
BTW, I highly recommend Fidelity's Amex - 2% cash back (which in my case gets deposited directly into my kids 529 plans, but which could go into any Fidelity account). No fee, no limits on the cash back, no "you have to spend $X before you get the full 2%", no fuss.
I also generally recommend at least one visa/mc and one amex. There are places which take one but not the other (and vice versa).
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David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
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Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
A few years ago, when I had the first situation of credit card info theft and a fraudulent charge, I did indeed arrange for a second credit card. I put it in storage, to be used when there was a problem with the first credit card, like fraudulent use resulting in the need to cancel the first credit card. Since I never used the second credit card, the provider (who happened to be Fidelity), cancelled it, unbeknownst to me until I happened to check on it online a year or so later.
The debit card has a limit of the amount in my checking account. I keep my checking account low, transferring money from my two brokerages as needed. Takes a day or so to transfer the money between accounts via the internet.
Hopefully my debit card won't be cancelled for lack of use.
This is just my experience. Maybe others are comfortable using two credit cards with regularity.
Reply to
Elle
three credit agencies. It does not trick you into signing up for paid services. There are a couple of other sites with very similar names that should be avoided (like the one you suggested!). The "good" site is
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I do use the correct site and get the appropriate free results... I was not posting a URL but just a description from memory. Also the resultant diversion site absolutely has at times resulted in sneaky signup dialogs, where it takes close attention to opt out. You may not have seen this because it has been so outrageous that they probably were soon urged to tone it down. I never got into a dialog where it asked for my cc, but I just thought this thread might be evidence they use cc info they already have. I forget which of 3 companies were the most brazen, but they are less so now. In the early days one company required registration, and still spams me with email.
Reply to
dumbstruck
David S Meyers CFP writes:
If it matters (and maybe it doesn't), Fido has told me this isn't a "real" Amex card. Rather, it is a FIA Card Services card that (under license) is branded as Amex. At least that's what they told me in 2011.
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Rich Carreiro                            rlc-news@rlcarr.com
Reply to
Rich Carreiro

I have a similar card. FIA, but Mastercard. It's limited to $1500/yr which means $75K in spending gets the 2%. For most, this is no limit, really. The kid's 529, funded with just this card, is currently just over $12,000. It's paid in full each month. There's a strong contingent of folk (led by The David) who are so anti-card, they won't consider this. My daughter is 13, 5 years away from freshman year. I'm thinking this account will fund a semester's tuition. That would be cool. (note - my wife and I are both W2 employees, and each month have as much as a few thousand in fully reimbursed business expenses. We haven't gone through $600K on our own)
Reply to
JoeTaxpayer
responding to
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Ditto to that!
About a month ago I also had to close a card over a $19.95 charge from Experian. In my case I am 100% sure the card was not on file at Experian because I hardly used it for anything at all and definitely not for checking my credit history.
What I don't quite get is what kind of a game they were playing? I think it's quite clear that Experian themselves would not generate the charge for no reason, so it must have been someone running *their* credit check using a stolen credit card info? How stupid would that be considering you need to provide all the SSN/DOB/address info etc. about themselves. Or were they running a credit check for someone else, potentially another victim of ID theft? Else, am I a potential target for further ID theft actions if they used my card? Anyone has an insight on how this situation may develop?
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Reply to
DA
I thought the FIA MA was limited to 1.5% and that the amex version could go higher because they charge higher fees to businesses. Oh, these cards usually have rotating quarterly periods where, say, grocery stores (or travel, or restaurants) give you 5% rebates if you sign up for it online. Annoying because you don't get the rebate if getting groceries at a store that also sells nongroceries.
Back to Experian charges... one scary scenario is that a relative or someone knowing your SS# and some life history could be getting on your
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. Then there is no escape by locking or even closing your cc... they can monitor you forever and strike at will.
Reply to
dumbstruck
higher because they charge higher fees to businesses. Oh, these cards usually have rotating quarterly periods where, say, grocery stores (or travel, or restaurants) give you 5% rebates if you sign up for it online. Annoying because you don't get the rebate if getting groceries at a store that also sells nongroceries.
Sorry, Elle, forgive the ongoing tangents. My FIA MC is grandfathered. The new full 2% deal is only FIA Amex, I believe. Fixed 2%, no rotating categories.
Reply to
JoeTaxpayer
Your debit card almost certainly wont' get cancelled for lack of use, so long as your checking account is still active.
But as I said, it's not a substitite for a credit card. Not only do you not get the same protections, but it also just doesn't work well for certain things (as I said, like renting a car or holding a hotel room - they want to put a huge hold on it, which may not be possible. Even gas stations often put a sizeable hold on the cards).
I do make charges occasionally on each of my active cards, since I don't want them shut down, but that's really pretty trivially easy.
--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
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Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
As far as I can tell, it's no less "real" - it is accepted anywhere Amex is accepted, and the transaction runs through Amex's network. The only difference is the bank at the back end, but that seems not to make any difference at all other than who I have to pay when I pay the bill.
I suppose Amex might have told you that, in the hopes that you'd keep a card directly with them, but it doesn't really sound like any kind of strong reasoning. If FIA wants to give me 2% while Amex only wants to give me, say, 1 mile for every $2 charged (for their free card - to get more than that you have to pay an annual fee), I'll take the FIA card every time.
I do, actually, keep an Amex Delta skymiles card (the free one which I mention above) for one reason - I have a load of Delta miles and can't remember the last time I flew Delta, but as long as I periodically get new miles (via the card), I won't lose all the old ones. So I have one small monthly charge automatically go on my Delta card both to keep the spare Amex active, and to keep the miles alive. (and of course, that gets paid in full via automatic payment from my bank account to Amex).
--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
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Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
David S Meyers CFP writes:
Amex didn't tell me that. A Fidelity phone rep did.
I have a "real" Amex card via a Fidelity Amex card offer from years ago (the one where purchases come right out of your brokerage account and your credit limit is your margin withdrawal power).
That has always given me the willies and so the card just sits in the safe deposit box. So last year I asked them about their current "Amex" offer (hoping to score a fee-free Amex card that was not directly tied to a brokerage account). Fidelity then told me it was a branded Amex actually issued and run by FIA and that it wouldn't qualify for various Amex perks like early access to tickets, etc., couldn't be accessed via americanexpress.com, etc. whereas the "tied" Amex gold card I have through Fidelity can do all those things.
Like I said, for most things I'm sure it doesn't matter, but there are apparently some actual differences and I was told that by Fido and not Amex.
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Rich Carreiro                            rlc-news@rlcarr.com
Reply to
Rich Carreiro
I see what you mean now - yeah, like any bank-issued credit card, there may be perks associated with the bank from which it's issued. American Express (the bank) has different perks than FIA does. But they are both using American Express (the network) so at least transaction-wise, they are identical (ie. where they are accepted, etc).
The old Amex-branded direct-from-your-brokerage account card was an odd hybrid - like a debit card in how it actually operated, but issued and handled through Amex (the bank), I guess.
Perks, I guess. I've rarely used much in the way of any of my various cards perks - things like the concierge services, etc - never seemed to add much value. Cash, however, is cash...
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David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
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Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
In the wandering spirit of this frugal thread, I believe delta miles have recently been declared immortal and a better refreshment target may be AA. BTW I seem to keep my least used cards alive with one yearly use.
Reply to
dumbstruck

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