Help! My credit card has been compromised!

Credit card fraud

It seems like just yesterday that I had to have a new credit card issued because of the Home Depot data breach.  And now my new replacement card has been compromised as well.  Only a month after I finished changing all of my auto-billed payments to the new card, I have to do it all over again.  In the greater scheme of things, I really can’t complain.  I’m still a little stunned by the number of things that went right in my recent credit card fiasco.

The first thing that went right is that I was using a credit card rather than a debit card.  Credit cards offer greater protection against fraud than debit cards.  If this had been a debit card, the money in my checking account could have been tied up while the issue is being resolved.  Because it was a credit card, I can’t be held liable for more than $50 in fraudulent charges.  And I’m extra fortunate because my credit card provider is refunding all of the fraudulent charges.

The second thing that went right is that my credit card provider recognized that an unusual charge had been made and contacted me right away.  Wednesday night I received a text message from Chase asking if I had made a charge for $50 at a grocery store in New Jersey.  I had not.  I called Chase and we went through all of the recent charges, and found (thankfully) a total of only two charges, $108 combined, that were fraudulent.  Chase then shut down that card immediately so no further charges could be made on that account.

The third thing that went right is that I’m very aware of my credit card activity and I monitor it online almost daily.  I had looked through my charges the morning before the fraud occurred, which saved a lot of time on the phone with Chase.  I was able to just say, “Everything through yesterday was my activity,” and we only had to review one day’s charges.

The fourth thing that went right is that I have other credit cards.  I use my Chase card instead of cash most of the time in favor of reaping the reward points.  I like the convenience of using plastic instead of cash.  And when my card was shut down, that could have left me at a loss for a couple of days until my new card arrived.  Luckily, I have another rewards card that I generally only use at stores that don’t accept Visa.  I was able to just use that until my new Chase Visa was delivered.  A backup plan is a very good thing.  I also have another card that I do not keep in my wallet…just in case my wallet is ever stolen.  I always want to be prepared.

I don’t know exactly how my card info was stolen.  My card itself is still in my possession.  I figure it must have been either a skimmer that I didn’t notice when I swiped my card (though I always try to look for those), or it may have been a less than honest employee at a restaurant or convenience store who skimmed the card when it was out of my sight.  Regardless, the result is the same.  I feel somewhat violated because someone stole my credit card information.  But I have experienced no financial loss…only a minor inconvenience.  A lot of things went right for me in a situation that could have been much, much worse.

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