Right before I left for India last week, I was going through all my Credit Cards Statements and making sure all my bills had been paid.
I am at the tail end of my App-O-Rama and have been feverishly “spending” thousands of dollars on a whole host of different Cards.
Well I was going to go pay my Southwest Business Card and noticed a $915.70 charge on my Chase INK Bold Card.
I had literally just paid off my INK Bold a few weeks ago and outside of Office Depot, I don’t really use my INK Card that much.
I went in and opened my INK Statement and I saw the following charge:
Given how much spending I have been doing on Amazon Payments, CVS, Office Depot, Airline Mistake Fares, etc, I thought that maybe the purchase was related to one of those and I had just forgot about it. In an attempt to jog my memory, I Google’d “TRAVRES*EANBEST 877-283-5585 WA”.
Not surprisingly, the first and second results were other people indicating that the Company that charged the purchase was fake and was part of a scam.
After I saw that I immediately called Chase and had them cancel the Card and flag the transaction as fraud.
Since I use my INK Bold when I travel abroad (no International Transaction Fees), I was afraid Chase might question if this transaction was really fraudulent. Thankfully, they didn’t ask any questions about it and said not to worry.
My new INK Card came the next day, and when I was calling Chase to activate it and tell them I was going to India, the Agent told me there was already a travel notification on the Card…
I told them that I didn’t place the travel notification and asked who did and where was it for. Even though it was in their system, they couldn’t access that information.
I guess if there is a silver lining to this whole story it is that if the Thieves had used my Card abroad, I wouldn’t get charged for International Transaction Fees, so that was really thoughtful of them ; )
I am not sure how the Thieves got my Card information. I am assuming they got it online but who knows, they could have hacked some Retailer database.
The best thing you can do to prevent this type of situation is to be vigilant and ALWAYS CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS!
Thankfully I do, but even then it was by accident that I saw this.
The worst part is that this transaction was timed to hit my account right before the Statement posted, so it literally slipped in under the radar.
Had the transaction been for around $200, I honestly probably wouldn’t have even noticed because I have so many $1,000 App-O-Rama “purchases” going through.
Thankfully, these Thieves decided to go big and charged a big purchase that raised red flags. Had I not noticed the large transaction, I would have paid my $915 Statement and essentially given the Thieves $915.
It is for that reason I suggest that if you use Auto Pay, to still always check your transactions!
Auto Pay is for the benefit of the Bank, not you!
If you blindly use Auto Pay, transactions like this can slip through as well as Annual Fees, Late Fees, etc. The
Banks just want to get paid, so they don’t care if you are paying for fake transactions or if you notice the other nonsense fees they are charging you.
Another suggestion I highly recommend is using Mint.com.
It is free, extremely easy to use, and will even alert you if there are any large transactions that go against your normal spending patterns.
It is unfortunate the penalties for stealing people’s identities are not stiffer.
Back in the day, if you wanted to steal $915, you had to physically go rob a bank and if you got caught, you were screwed.
Now days, some 15 year old on the other side of the world can rob you from the comfort of their bedroom, with little or no fear of getting caught.
Thankfully, I caught the fraud and reported it to Chase without issue but had I not seen it, I basically would have lost $915 because I would have paid the Statement blindly.
All in all, the whole process was annoying but a suttle reminder of the digital world we live in. Although Online Shopping and Credit Cards has brought us added convenience, it can come at a substantial cost if you are not vigilant.