Thoughts, ideas, suggestions and education from financial adviser Jim Ludwick, Founder of MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc. of Odenton, MD; Washington, DC; New York City, and Santa Barbara, CA

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Keep close eye on credit card charges

Woke up this morning and was viewing my personal emails via iPhone. Noticed a 1am email from a "former" anti virus vendor charging my credit card on a renewal. Been over a year since I've used that service. Made a mental note to object to the vendor which uses a third party to sell its goods.

After sending a form objecting to this charge I went online to my chase.com account where both my business and personal credit cards reside. I did note that the third party vendor customer service was only open Monday through Friday. Am I too cynical that the charge was rendered at 1am Saturday morning?

My online session included looking over the pending charges on my business card where this soon to be disputed charge resided to see what else was going on. I picked up the phone to call Chase and complain about the charge when I got the fast beeps that alerted me to a call on voice mail.

Guess who? Chase fraud department wants to talk to me. I call. It's about my personal credit card. Some charges in Georgia. One was approved and one was declined. We go over my transactions and there is one a few days prior for 9.95 for something called Publications Development. Seems that's how it got started.

The bad guys put through a small charge after duplicating your credit card number on a fake card. No objection after a few days? Then they move on to bigger charges. The first for $229 when through. Then they tried $319 several hours later. Bells went off at Chase.  The call was made. The purchase declined.

Two results and two thank yous.

Got an email back within an hour from the third party that they had received my disputed virus monitoring renewal charge. Moments later the vendor sent an email asking to confirm my request for a refund which I did and they acknowledged immediately. Thank you.

Chase cancelled my personal credit card. OK. No big deal. I have to notify three businesses that automatically charge my card monthly that there is a new number.  It is Saturday and Chase said my new card would be here on Monday via UPS. After I get my new cards, I will notify my three business partners of the change. Thank you.

What did I learn? Both my wife and I have agreed to check online at least once a week to review our charges. We charge almost everything for airline points so we must be more vigilant about checking for bogus charges, even little ones.

Will it become a habit? I'm making it a weekly task on my automated to do list. We'll see.

If readers have one more ideas for us, we're open.  Email Jim at advice only dot net and forget about the open spaces. Just trying to keep those bad guys away too.

JFL

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