I was recently perusing my Fidelity account which links and captures all transactions for all of my bank accounts, mortgages, loans, and credit cards. As I was reviewing my credit card transaction, I noticed a charge of $299 from a home security company based out of Nashville, TN. There was also a pending charge of $56 that would have likely been authorized.
As you can see, my monthly credit card charges average in the thousands, so a charge of $300 would have slipped through the radar had I not reviewed every single charge. I quickly called the company who charged my card. After a short investigation, they informed me that someone had a very similar credit card number but off by 1 digit….one of their employees had fat fingers and put in my credit card number by mistake. Even though the customer had a different name and different address than me, the charge still went through.
Though I think this was a legitimate mistake, this is a common tactic used by identity thieves. This tactic allows them to skim money from people’s accounts. They either make small bank withdrawals that go unnoticed or make small credit card purchases to see if it will raise any red flags. If not, they’ll either continue the charges/withdrawals or make 1 big charge/withdrawal….similar to my scare when I noticed a $0 balance in my Charitable Gift Fund.
If you’re not reviewing every line item in your credit card statements or reviewing every transactions from your bank accounts, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable for identity theft.