The first time I experienced credit card fraud was in 1982. I opened my bill to discover that I had charged $1,100 at Pit Number One in Atlantic City. The trouble is that I had never been to Atlantic City.
This was back in the days before the Internet (yes, children, there was such a time) and way before we did on-line shopping. Maybe that’s why I’m not fearful about using my credit card number on-line. I know that these kinds of crimes are as old as the hills.
Thanks to the rapid pace of technology, I didn’t even have to wait for my charge bill to arrive to discover my latest bout of credit card fraud. I use a computer program called Quicken, which enables me to track my expenditures and the value of my assets. I can link up with nearly all of my financial companies and download their data, which then matches up with what I’ve previously entered.
Today, I downloaded the information for my Citibank credit card and discovered that I had apparently spent a night in the Bahamas earlier this week, to the tune of $ 909. Thanks to a quick call to Citibank, my card has been canceled and a new one will be coming via overnight mail.
This experience underscores the need to be vigilant about checking your information. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of financial information that you receive, then I recommend that you simplify your financial life. Reduce the number of credit cards you have, and consolidate your asset accounts. Get in the habit of looking at your statements as soon as they arrive. Maybe even set up a program like Quicken which lets you see your data on your own schedule, rather than waiting for that monthly statement.
I hope my credit card had a nice time in the Bahamas.