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Talk about funny timing.  On Monday night, I was talking to my dad and he was telling me about someone he knew that had their credit card info taken, and how it had happened multiple times. He wondered how credit card fraud had happened to them.

I Forgot To Knock On Wood

Wednesday morning, not more than 36 hours later, I am going through my emails when I spotted one from Citi that instantly got my attention as the subject line was “Fraud Alert – Suspicious Activity Detected”

Yikes.  Let's say that I skipped right over to that one.

I've had a couple of instances where I got an e-mail or a call about activity, but never was there a problem and I was able to confirm the transactions.

As soon as I opened the e-mail and looked at the lists, I could tell that these were definitely not charges I made.

The first thing I did was log into my account to make sure that this was real, and wasn't a phishing attempt of some sort, but it turns out these were right.

I saw five transactions that had gone through on Tuesday, all for very small amounts, between $8 – $20, and all appeared to be at gas stations.  The charges were made locally, within about 25 miles from my house.

mb-201402creditcard400I checked to make sure that the card was in my wallet.  It was.  So someone had obtained my info another way (and for readers who might remember a recent post, I did have a card that I lost and was sent back to me, but this was not tied to that at all, as that was a completely different card).  I instantly called Citi and let them know that their alert system worked.  They closed that card and started the process to move everything to a new card, which I'll receive in a few days.

I checked all of our other credit and banking accounts and there were no other problems.

How Did Credit Card Fraud Happen To Me?

Now I'm just trying to figure out how they got the information.  I can only think of a couple of ways:

  1. A skimming device – Maybe I was the victim of a skimming device placed on a credit card reader.  I am pretty sure that a good portion of these types of things usually happen at either gas stations or ATMs,.  While I don't use this for those purposes, it could have been somewhere else.
  2. A dishonest employee – Could an employee of a store somehow taken card information?  It's possible.
  3. A former breach – There have been reports of breaches at various retail locations.  It's quite possible that at one point I used the card somewhere and the info was taken but never used until now.  The fact that the fraudulent transactions happened locally, though, makes me think this was something on a smaller scale.

The bottom line is that I'll probably never really know.

It's interesting that the transactions were all so small.  As I said, there were five transactions altogether, and I don't think it totaled more than $30.  I'm wondering if they were using these to test the card.  They could run a few small transactions to see if it was noticed.  If it wasn't then I expect they'd move to something much bigger.

Pretty scary stuff.

In either case, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out on all of our cards.  I will be monitoring our credit info to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary.  You never know.

It could have been a lot worse, but it's still pretty scary stuff when it all comes down to it!

Readers, have you been a victim of identify theft or fraud?  How were you able to handle it?