This I have learned

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

According to most credit card fraud occurs in the United States. In fact, a 2015 research note from Barclays stated that the U.S. is responsible for 47 percent of the world’s card fraud despite only accounting for 24 percent of total worldwide card volume.

I heard my husband’s voice resonate from his office. “Hon, did you by any chance incur a $323 charge at ABC Store recently?” (The store’s name has been changed to protect the business.) “No,” I said. My husband was going over our recent charge card statement and found the amount glaring at him from the statement page. “Well, this charge is on our credit card statement,” he said with concern. With that, my husband began his investigation into the fraudulent charge.

Part I: Calling the ABC Store

An employee in the ABC Store fraud division helped my husband sift through the issues related to the order and delivery of the items.

It was determined that whoever used our credit card number had placed an order to be delivered to a residence in Phoenix. The item was never delivered, as the store cancelled the shipment prior to it being received. We were not told what occurred that caused the store to question the charge and, subsequently, cancel the shipment. The store did tell us, however, that the same party attempted to make another large purchase, using our card number, and the purchase was denied.

Part II: Calling our credit card company

Armed with the details about what happened at ABC Store my husband contacted the fraud division of our credit card company. As expected, the credit card charge for the amount was forgiven. We were relieved, but the lingering feeling of how people with credit cards are vulnerable is still with us.

This is the second time that this has occurred with one of our credit cards. The first time our credit card number was stolen it was relatively easy to determine how this occurred. In this instance, however, we are still at a loss to determine how our credit card information was obtained.

From this experience I have learned two important lessons:

1) Match your receipts with your credit card bill when it arrives.

2) Closely scan your purchases when your statement arrives, looking for any charges with stores with whom you do not do business, or look for large purchases that you know you did not make.

Credit card fraud has no age, gender, race or religious boundaries and it is rampant. And, if this happens to you, expediently make your calls to retail/restaurant businesses and to your credit card company. Rest assured that your credit card company will credit back any unauthorized charges.

Although this type of fraud is inconvenient, as you have to wait for your card to be replaced and you have invested some time discovering and reporting the fraud, this in no way is as devastating as I.D. theft, which can turn one’s financial life upside down.