Minnesota, USA May 11, 2011- Fraud reports keep trickling out as hackers make their way into company online systems; however, we must remember that this fraud also occurs within the physical stores as well. It is not to say that stores intentionally expose their customers to this abuse. Most recent reports of tampered Credit/Debit card equipment come from the craft store, Michaels; this is a reminder that it can happen anywhere even in the least likely thought of places.
Most people understand that these occurrences are not due to any doing of companies. By law, companies are ordered to protect your data even if it does not contain any information that could lead to theft. However, we should not depend on companies to keep us safe or alert us after something goes wrong. We need to take the front seat in our 'digital lives' whether it involves our credit card numbers or the information we share in online store accounts.
In no way am I encouraging anyone to stop online shopping or using credit/debit cards at stores; it is just important to recognize there is always a risk. This gives us more reason to pay closer attention to the details of every account we have -if you do not have enough reason yet. Sometimes it may be easier to only make payments towards the enormous balance on a credit card that is no longer in use than to look over the statement to see if there are any prior balance errors, ETC -unfortunately we live in a digital world where we grow to trust than take that closer look. We get too confident and comfortable as time goes by without any problems.
Perhaps you use your credit cards or online accounts excessively that it is too overwhelming to sit down once a month to review all the transactions; if you take this approach, you are taking the wrong route. It is wiser to review this information daily -every other day if this is too much. This way, everything you do is fresh in your mind. In addition, any fraudulent activity is picked up immediately so that you can take additional steps to protect yourself from further heart-break.
If you suspect fraud, contact your bank and credit card providers immediately; this goes without saying that accounts should be closed to protect your money. When it involves activity on a company website, notify the company as well because it could be linked to other possible fraud that is undetected. If any other data other than credit card information is on the account -such as social security number or driver's license number, ETC - contact the agencies in charge so that they can red flag your account; this helps prevent further fraudulent activity for a period of time where you are trying to determine what other damage was done in the short time this person had his or her 'shopping spree'.
Remember to watch over all your accounts closely; do not be afraid to use them however. Do not depend on companies to be able to completely protect your information all of the time.