If it wasn’t for your “Girl About Town” MAC lipstick, gold-plated iPhone 5, BIG brimmed stunners, and clunky key-rings, you’d be able to find your pink passion inked pen. What do you need that fashionable utensil for, you ask? Well, to complete and sign that pale blue rectangle after you have cautiously yet timidly managed to tear it from its perforated edges. That CHECKBOOK is what I’m talking about!!!
Oh yeah, let’s not even MENTION thumbing through the GREEN! The green Lincoln’s, Jackson’s, and for us lucky ones – Benjamin’s, we have stowed away in our pockets, wallets, and dark ‘under the car-seat’ caves.
Cumbersome and time consuming activities, right? What can be done in 2 seconds flat though? FLICKING out that cute debit/credit card and swiping it quicker that me re-positioning my lacefront! Wanna know what can be done even faster than THAT though? Someone obtaining that debit/credit card information you’ve swiped and committing fraud with it… 🙁
Scary, I know!!! I’ve gone through it about THREE times now in the past SIX months. Being bombarded with those calls, text messages, and emails that alert you that access to your card has been revoked due to fraudulent activity is the most horrifying experience I’ve been through. You feel violated…and NOT in the “you’ve seen me naked without my consent” kinda way. This violation runs MUCH deeper. You feel robbed…even if they haven’t accessed your identity, you feel as though someone or something has stolen a part of you. This is because once accessing your debit/credit card information, these scroungers not only have the ability to purchase items you’d never fathom buying, but they also have the means to perpetuate and act as you while opening new credit card accounts, changing your personal information, and eventually affecting your financial credibility.
Believe me, this post isn’t to neither intimidate nor frighten you; its intention is to instead INFORM, ADVISE, and PREPARE.
Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there are also more ways to commit debit/credit fraud rather than the old-fashioned – kleptomaniac way. Nowadays, these crooks are either committing this crime by application fraud, account takeover, or skimming.
1) Application fraud – Application fraud consists of obtaining your personal information in order to open new credit card accounts in your name; this act can be the most dangerous of the three due to the delay involved in which the victim realizes this is being done.
2) Account takeover – Account takeover involves the thief changing your personal information, such as your address, in order to report YOUR card as stolen so a new card can be sent to the new specified address in order to make fraudulent purchases 🙁 The audacity!!! 😛
3) Skimming – The skimming stunt is pulled when employees of various businesses access your debit/credit information and either sells that info to other bandits or uses the info for their own devious desires.
Which one did I experience? #3! Yup, skimming it was. This skimming act actually occurred during all three instances while I surfed on various reputable sites and shopped at local stores we shop at each day which shocked the HECK outta me.
What did I do to rectify this unfortunate event? Well, for the first instance, after wiping my crocodile tears, I called the GA Police, filed a police report, and waited patiently for the verdict on who the criminal was. The cops were helpful in finding out who she was and her location, but THAT. WAS. IT. They told me her name, her city, and state, but there was nothing else done to my knowledge. Even after I left repeated messages as to what steps to take next, I never received a call back. 🙁
Feeling withdrawn and less like the victim, I reached out to other victims in order to see if this disconnect had occurred in their trying situations. Woefully, they replied, “yes.” It seems as though the cops only do so much, sadly. That being said, technically, the 1st incident was “solved.” But what about the other TWO that happened shortly after? Since these fraudulent charges were made while I was in the state of New Mexico, I had to handle these misfortunes with the NM Police. However, working with the NM police was a tad different. They filed my report, but no investigation was done. Needless to say, that sunken disconnect feeling set in once more.
This seemed like the end of the road, but I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I took the initiative to not only change all of my usernames and passwords to ALL of my email, social media, and work accounts, but also partake in pulling my credit report while making some purchases of my own since the culprits felt as though they could do so by using MY debit/credit card info.
As usual, I made my frequent rounds to Wally World as so many of us often do! (I swear, Wally World is like my SECOND home, ya’ll!) After purchasing my few oddZ and endZ, I quickly purchased these cute Visa Gift Cards. They come in varied amounts ($25, $50, $100 and ↑), so whatever you have in mind to spend, you can choose a card with that amount on it and continue doing what us girlZ do best –> SHOP! 🙂
How do you use them? The same way you use your regular credit cards! This makes it easier and safer for you and your financial future! Another perk is that these gift cards contain minimal traces of your personal information that can be used for fraudulent activities. Yes, your address must be registered prior to their usage, but your name is NOT attached. (Your address is only used for shipping purposes if you are performing online transactions. –> Other than THAT, you’re GOLDEN!) 🙂 Like my girl, Jill Scott would say! Fortunately, since I began using these cards, I haven’t experienced anymore debit/credit card fraud. Phew! 🙂
Now let’s be real, these methods aren’t fool proof. That is, I’m not saying that credit card fraud won’t happen to you any longer, but at least with filing police reports, checking your credit report, updating/changing your account info every so often, and purchasing these Visa Gift Cards, you’re taking the necessary precautions needed in decreasing your chances of falling victim to this heinous crime.
Honestly, experiencing this is simply deplorable. I wouldn’t even wish it on my worst hater! Jk, But really, it’s a tragic situation in which the afflicted feel used, vulnerable, uncertain of their future, and most importantly, unprotected. I pray you take heed by being well aware of this crime and take precautions to prevent yourselves from being harmed.
HAPPY SHOPPING! 😉
Remember to Live Life, Beautifully <3
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