Credit Card Compromised


E

Elle

In 2009, 2011, and now 2012, the sole credit card I used was
compromised with an inappropriate charge as shown on my credit card's
transactions web site. This time a subscription charge of $19.95 from
Experian (for credit reports yada) had been billed to my credit card.
That the problem may involve Experian seems ironic.

In each of these instances since 2009, my credit card company and I
agreed to cancel the credit card and have a new one issued. The credit
card company (which is also my bank) credited back to me without
argument the amounts of the disputed transactions. The merchants were
also more-than-cooperative.

My credit card company said the best means of prevention, in today's
high tech world of wireless scanners and similar, remains to check
credit card transactions regularly.

I put in my financial notes the steps I need to take each time I have
to cancel my credit card due to an ID theft situation. I work in cash
or with my debit card (which I otherwise never use) until the new
credit card arrives.
 
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B

bo peep

It appears that fraudulent Experian charges are a bit of an epidemic right now - see

http://complaintwire.org/complaint/e7MBAAAAAAA/experian-creditrep-8772977790-ca

Having the charges reversed now is fine, but it is only treating the symptoms, not the disease. People can still request your credit report from Experian, which is how they gain access.

To actually prevent this from happening in the future, you might want to "freeze" your credit at all three credit agencies. See

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/nFbL/
 
E

Elle

It appears that fraudulent Experian charges are a bit of an epidemic right now - see

http://complaintwire.org/complaint/e7MBAAAAAAA/experian-creditrep-877...

Having the charges reversed now is fine, but it is only treating the symptoms, not the disease. People can still request your credit report from Experian, which is how they gain access.

To actually prevent this from happening in the future, you might want to "freeze" your credit at all three credit agencies. See

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/personal-finance-credit/...
I was wondering whether others were seeing this problem with
"Experian" charges. My google search on this earlier today obviously
was not thorough. Thank you for the research.

I am going to hold off freezing for a while and just check my new
credit card daily for the immediate future.
 
D

dumbstruck

Do you use the annualcreditcheck free reporting site which redirects you to experion? I mean the one the govt makes them provide you to detect fraud. They at times have been very very sneaky in additionally signing you up for pay credit reports unless you notice the hidden button to bypass that. I think it got more civilized in last go around. I get mixed up between the three cos, which i alternate free annual checks every four months... never finding anything but cc closed for years of inactivity.
 
E

Elle

---
Do you use the annualcreditcheck free reporting site which redirects
you to experion? I mean the one the govt makes them provide you to
detect fraud. They at times have been very very sneaky in additionally
signing you up for pay credit reports unless you notice the hidden
button to bypass that. I think it got more civilized in last go
around. I get mixed up between the three cos, which i alternate free
annual checks every four months... never finding anything but cc
closed for years of inactivity.
---

Hi, no I am pretty sure I have not been on any of the three sites for
anything, including the free annual report, since well before early
2011. Early 2011 is when I last cancelled my credit card and got a new
credit card.

IIRC the site bo peep linked suggests that people are getting hit kind
of randomly by this Experion charge. It seems like someone at Experion
has access to an enormous database of folks and, with all the credit
card info Experion has, this someone is robbing Experion and random
individuals with a credit card. Not sure. I have not studied this much.
 
B

bo peep

Do you use the annualcreditcheck free reporting site
You have to be careful to use the *official* site which is sponsored by the three credit agencies. It does not trick you into signing up for paid services. There are a couple of other sites with very similar names that should be avoided (like the one you suggested!). The "good" site is www.annualcreditreport.com
 
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D

David S Meyers CFP

I put in my financial notes the steps I need to take each time I have
to cancel my credit card due to an ID theft situation. I work in cash
or with my debit card (which I otherwise never use) until the new
credit card arrives.
I strongly recommend at least two credit cards for just this situation
(or a lost card which needs to be canceled). Cash or a debit card are
not substitutes, especially if you need to, say, rent a car.

There's no downside - most cards have no annual fee nowadays anyway.

BTW, I highly recommend Fidelity's Amex - 2% cash back (which in my
case gets deposited directly into my kids 529 plans, but which could go
into any Fidelity account). No fee, no limits on the cash back, no
"you have to spend $X before you get the full 2%", no fuss.

I also generally recommend at least one visa/mc and one amex. There
are places which take one but not the other (and vice versa).





--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
disclaimer: discussions in misc.invest.financial-plan are for
educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial
advice. For personal financial advice, please consult directly with a
professional.
 
D

dumbstruck

You have to be careful to use the *official* site which is sponsored by the three credit agencies. It does not trick you into signing up for paid services. There are a couple of other sites with very similar names that should be avoided (like the one you suggested!). The "good" site is www.annualcreditreport.com
I do use the correct site and get the appropriate free results... I was not posting a URL but just a description from memory. Also the resultant diversion site absolutely has at times resulted in sneaky signup dialogs, where it takes close attention to opt out. You may not have seen this because it has been so outrageous that they probably were soon urged to tone it down. I never got into a dialog where it asked for my cc, but I just thought this thread might be evidence they use cc info they already have. I forget which of 3 companies were the most brazen, but they are less so now. In the early days one company required registration, and still spams me with email.
 
R

Rich Carreiro

David S Meyers CFP said:
BTW, I highly recommend Fidelity's Amex - 2% cash back (which in my
case gets deposited directly into my kids 529 plans, but which could go
into any Fidelity account). No fee, no limits on the cash back, no
"you have to spend $X before you get the full 2%", no fuss.
If it matters (and maybe it doesn't), Fido has told me this isn't
a "real" Amex card. Rather, it is a FIA Card Services card that
(under license) is branded as Amex. At least that's what they
told me in 2011.
 
J

JoeTaxpayer

BTW, I highly recommend Fidelity's Amex - 2% cash back (which in my
case gets deposited directly into my kids 529 plans, but which could go
into any Fidelity account). No fee, no limits on the cash back, no
"you have to spend $X before you get the full 2%", no fuss.

I also generally recommend at least one visa/mc and one amex. There
are places which take one but not the other (and vice versa).
I have a similar card. FIA, but Mastercard. It's limited to $1500/yr
which means $75K in spending gets the 2%. For most, this is no limit,
really. The kid's 529, funded with just this card, is currently just
over $12,000. It's paid in full each month. There's a strong contingent
of folk (led by The David) who are so anti-card, they won't consider
this. My daughter is 13, 5 years away from freshman year. I'm thinking
this account will fund a semester's tuition. That would be cool.
(note - my wife and I are both W2 employees, and each month have as much
as a few thousand in fully reimbursed business expenses. We haven't gone
through $600K on our own)
 
P

Pico Rico

Rich Carreiro said:
If it matters (and maybe it doesn't), Fido has told me this isn't
a "real" Amex card. Rather, it is a FIA Card Services card that
(under license) is branded as Amex. At least that's what they
told me in 2011.

I don't know about AMEX, but isn't that true of most VISA and Mastercards?
 
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D

DA

responding to
http://www.beansmart.com/financial/credit-card-compromised-17754-.htm
DA wrote:
Elle said:
This time a subscription charge of $19.95 from
Experian (for credit reports yada) had been billed to my credit card.
That the problem may involve Experian seems ironic.
Ditto to that!

About a month ago I also had to close a card over a $19.95 charge from
Experian. In my case I am 100% sure the card was not on file at Experian
because I hardly used it for anything at all and definitely not for
checking my credit history.

What I don't quite get is what kind of a game they were playing? I think
it's quite clear that Experian themselves would not generate the charge
for no reason, so it must have been someone running *their* credit check
using a stolen credit card info? How stupid would that be considering you
need to provide all the SSN/DOB/address info etc. about themselves. Or
were they running a credit check for someone else, potentially another
victim of ID theft? Else, am I a potential target for further ID theft
actions if they used my card? Anyone has an insight on how this situation
may develop?




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| @ @ Woof!
| < > _
| _/------____ ((| |))
| `--' |
____|_ ___| |___.'
/_/_____/____/_______|
 
D

dumbstruck

I have a similar card. FIA, but Mastercard. It's limited to $1500/yr
which means $75K in spending gets the 2%. For most, this is no limit,
I thought the FIA MA was limited to 1.5% and that the amex version could go higher because they charge higher fees to businesses. Oh, these cards usually have rotating quarterly periods where, say, grocery stores (or travel, or restaurants) give you 5% rebates if you sign up for it online. Annoying because you don't get the rebate if getting groceries at a store that also sells nongroceries.

Back to Experian charges... one scary scenario is that a relative or someone knowing your SS# and some life history could be getting on your www.annualcreditreport.com . Then there is no escape by locking or even closing your cc... they can monitor you forever and strike at will.
 
J

JoeTaxpayer

I thought the FIA MA was limited to 1.5% and that the amex version could go higher because they charge higher fees to businesses. Oh, these cards usually have rotating quarterly periods where, say, grocery stores (or travel, or restaurants) give you 5% rebates if you sign up for it online. Annoying because you don't get the rebate if getting groceries at a store that also sells nongroceries.
Sorry, Elle, forgive the ongoing tangents.
My FIA MC is grandfathered. The new full 2% deal is only FIA Amex, I
believe. Fixed 2%, no rotating categories.
 
D

David S Meyers CFP

The debit card has a limit of the amount in my checking account. I
keep my checking account low, transferring money from my two
brokerages as needed. Takes a day or so to transfer the money between
accounts via the internet.

Hopefully my debit card won't be cancelled for lack of use.
Your debit card almost certainly wont' get cancelled for lack of use,
so long as your checking account is still active.

But as I said, it's not a substitite for a credit card. Not only do
you not get the same protections, but it also just doesn't work well
for certain things (as I said, like renting a car or holding a hotel
room - they want to put a huge hold on it, which may not be possible.
Even gas stations often put a sizeable hold on the cards).

I do make charges occasionally on each of my active cards, since I don't want
them shut down, but that's really pretty trivially easy.


--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
disclaimer: discussions in misc.invest.financial-plan are for
educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial
advice. For personal financial advice, please consult directly with a
professional.
 
D

David S Meyers CFP

If it matters (and maybe it doesn't), Fido has told me this isn't
a "real" Amex card. Rather, it is a FIA Card Services card that
(under license) is branded as Amex. At least that's what they
told me in 2011.
As far as I can tell, it's no less "real" - it is accepted anywhere
Amex is accepted, and the transaction runs through Amex's network.
The only difference is the bank at the back end, but that seems
not to make any difference at all other than who I have to pay
when I pay the bill.

I suppose Amex might have told you that, in the hopes that you'd
keep a card directly with them, but it doesn't really sound like
any kind of strong reasoning. If FIA wants to give me 2% while
Amex only wants to give me, say, 1 mile for every $2 charged (for
their free card - to get more than that you have to pay an annual
fee), I'll take the FIA card every time.

I do, actually, keep an Amex Delta skymiles card (the free one which
I mention above) for one reason - I have a load of Delta miles and
can't remember the last time I flew Delta, but as long as I periodically
get new miles (via the card), I won't lose all the old ones. So I
have one small monthly charge automatically go on my Delta card both
to keep the spare Amex active, and to keep the miles alive. (and
of course, that gets paid in full via automatic payment from my
bank account to Amex).




--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
disclaimer: discussions in misc.invest.financial-plan are for
educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial
advice. For personal financial advice, please consult directly with a
professional.
 
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R

Rich Carreiro

David S Meyers CFP said:
I suppose Amex might have told you that, in the hopes that you'd
keep a card directly with them, but it doesn't really sound like
any kind of strong reasoning.
Amex didn't tell me that. A Fidelity phone rep did.

I have a "real" Amex card via a Fidelity Amex card offer from years
ago (the one where purchases come right out of your brokerage account
and your credit limit is your margin withdrawal power).

That has always given me the willies and so the card just sits in the
safe deposit box. So last year I asked them about their current
"Amex" offer (hoping to score a fee-free Amex card that was not
directly tied to a brokerage account). Fidelity then told me it was a
branded Amex actually issued and run by FIA and that it wouldn't
qualify for various Amex perks like early access to tickets, etc.,
couldn't be accessed via americanexpress.com, etc. whereas the "tied"
Amex gold card I have through Fidelity can do all those things.

Like I said, for most things I'm sure it doesn't matter, but there are
apparently some actual differences and I was told that by Fido and not
Amex.
 
D

David S Meyers CFP

Amex didn't tell me that. A Fidelity phone rep did.
directly tied to a brokerage account). Fidelity then told me it was a
branded Amex actually issued and run by FIA and that it wouldn't
qualify for various Amex perks like early access to tickets, etc.,
I see what you mean now - yeah, like any bank-issued credit card,
there may be perks associated with the bank from which it's
issued. American Express (the bank) has different perks than
FIA does. But they are both using American Express (the network)
so at least transaction-wise, they are identical (ie. where they
are accepted, etc).
couldn't be accessed via americanexpress.com, etc. whereas the "tied"
Amex gold card I have through Fidelity can do all those things.
The old Amex-branded direct-from-your-brokerage account card was
an odd hybrid - like a debit card in how it actually operated,
but issued and handled through Amex (the bank), I guess.
Like I said, for most things I'm sure it doesn't matter, but there are
apparently some actual differences and I was told that by Fido and not
Amex.
Perks, I guess. I've rarely used much in the way of any of my
various cards perks - things like the concierge services, etc -
never seemed to add much value. Cash, however, is cash...


--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
disclaimer: discussions in misc.invest.financial-plan are for
educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial
advice. For personal financial advice, please consult directly with a
professional.
 
D

dumbstruck

I do, actually, keep an Amex Delta skymiles card (the free one which
I mention above) for one reason - I have a load of Delta miles and
can't remember the last time I flew Delta, but as long as I periodically
get new miles (via the card), I won't lose all the old ones. So I
have one small monthly charge automatically go on my Delta card both
to keep the spare Amex active, and to keep the miles alive. (and
of course, that gets paid in full via automatic payment from my
bank account to Amex).
In the wandering spirit of this frugal thread, I believe delta miles have recently been declared immortal and a better refreshment target may be AA. BTW I seem to keep my least used cards alive with one yearly use.
 
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M

Mark Freeland

I have a "real" Amex card via a Fidelity Amex card offer from years
ago (the one where purchases come right out of your brokerage account
and your credit limit is your margin withdrawal power).

That has always given me the willies and so the card just sits in the
safe deposit box.
Read the terms closely. Those traditional Amex cards are charge cards,
not debit cards. I believe the charges are paid out of your brokerage
account only on a monthly basis. What you might be more concerned about
(I was) is that these cards were offered as "ATM" cards. But they're
not, really. The "withdrawals" are treated as cash advances, and the
payment for those charges, rather than monthly, are made nightly.
Because of this arcane structure, I believe these cards offer the same
protection as any charge or credit card. In contrast, the current batch
of Fidelity ATM/debit cards don't provide that protection.
So last year I asked them about their current
"Amex" offer (hoping to score a fee-free Amex card that was not
directly tied to a brokerage account). Fidelity then told me it was a
branded Amex actually issued and run by FIA and that it wouldn't
qualify for various Amex perks like early access to tickets, etc.,
couldn't be accessed via americanexpress.com, etc. whereas the "tied"
Amex gold card I have through Fidelity can do all those things.
Another difference is that Amex issues different numbers if you ask for
two cards. And Amex separates charges by account numbers. So you can
see what each person is charging, and also cancel/replace a single card
without temporarily shutting down the whole account. When Amex says
"don't leave home without it", they mean their cards, not the licensed
cards. You won't get the same level of replacement service from FIA as
from Amex. On the other hand, you won't be charged 2.8% on foreign
transactions. Fidelity's FIA Amex (and Visa) charge 1%.
 
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