Don’t Tread on Me!

      3 Comments on Don’t Tread on Me!
Back off Fraudsters!

Back off Fraudsters!

Admittedly this is a “depressing” topic– and so early for my blog!? But the reality is everywhere, not just for travelers, and that is: fraudulent credit card abuse.

I’ve felt a bit sheltered from aggressive attack only because of my unusual name – but that is a false safety net. Names are just names and don’t belong to any one person, and provide little, if any, shelter.

Here’s my story – and it isn’t sad, because I have the eagle eye when it comes to bank statements AND because credit card companies are equally on alert, when you are.

First, was a Visa card issued by Chase. My statement probably looks like many others: Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (a guilty, and a once convenient, pleasure), Safeway, Rose & Thistle, Rite Aid, Zappos (OK, another “guilty” one). In a glance, everything lines up, but upon closer evaluation I noticed ONE of the Fred Meyer purchases was in Troutdale. And, what, the Safeway. . . this one is in Tualatin??

WAIT, those locations aren’t the merchants I frequent??!!

Second, was a GIFT CARD I received as a going away gift; the perfect gift for a person on the road. When I went to use it the third time, it was all used up.

Wow, that went fast. . . I know we’re loaded down, but we’ve

only fueled up twice, something’s up??”

No, I wasn’t given a partially used-up gift card. . . it was another credit card breach! A Walmart in Southern California?!

WHO are these crooks?

WHO are these crooks?

During my career, I’d hear of these breaches often – but was never a target. Now a target, I plan to beef up a few things. Here is where I’m starting: I have downloaded an app called My LastPass. This app creates extremely strong passwords  and holds it in a “vault” – you launch any of your sites from LastPass, and LastPass takes it from there, auto-populating username, password and you’re running. Additionally they provide document storage and important “notes” – such as the combination to our storage SmartBox.

Since my computer will be with me everywhere I go – if my computer goes missing, I do not want my browser remembering my passwords, and welcoming the thief in!

The other tool is purchasing a VPN, a virtual private network. This is a way to use public wifi as though it’s a personal and private network. A VPN will encrypt my data and routes it through remote servers, keeping my banking, or other activity private. The service I went with is Hide My Ass – lovely name, huh?

After I spend some time with these additional security measures, and as I learn more – I will report back! In the meantime, if you’ve taken extra security measures, I’d love to hear them, or maybe you have a “I’ve been there!” story? We can learn from each other!

About Hali

Just a travel junkie trying to find my voice in the blogosphere. I enjoy sharing my photography and fast facts I learn in the places I travel through.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Tread on Me!

  1. Jeff

    Boy, does this topic hit home. We’ve had this happen too many times, usually because our card was involved in a data breach at some big company like Adobe, TJ Maxx, Target, Home Depot…Usually a new card is issued before any fraudulently activity occurs, but we have had a couple of instances where charges were made. Both times however we received notification from the fraud department of the credit card company. The last trigger was someone purchasing a $5 pretzel at Mr. Pretzels in Richmond followed by a $300 purchase at Macy’s, not sure what algorithms banks use to determine fraudulent behavior but apparently $5 pretzels raise eyebrows. Keep an eye out for iTunes purchases too, usually used to test the waters on whether a card number is valid.

    We did have our debit card comprised several years ago. Not sure how since we only use for cash at bank ATMs (skimmed?), I noticed on our statement a withdrawal in Chicago followed shortly by five $80 withdrawals from a convenience store in Russia! The killer was with each of those we had non-ATM transaction fees, currency conversion fees and foreign transaction charges. The good news, we were not liable for any of this.

    I think your protections are good, especially since you’ll be accessing a lot of open Wi-Fi networks. We also setup alerts on our accounts for transactions out of the norm and reduced amounts available per withdrawal and per day, check statements a lot and use credit monitoring which is usually free after a data breach. Other than that hope the companies you do business with protect your data!

    We are enjoying your posts! Cheers!


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