If you're like me you use your credit card online to purchase domain names, update software, purchase new software or online services, buy the odd book here and there, and so on. The convenience of buying online just makes things happen faster – and we're in a time where everyone wants things now.
I received a letter from my bank today advising that someone from SHG.D…. tried to process a payment of SEK$20,338.32 – over $3,000 in my own currency to my credit card. The bank knocked it back, thankfully, and then wrote a letter advising me. Turns out there were several other attempts too, but because there were unavailable funds at the time, they knocked it back. I asked the bank officer about this as I saw no evidence on my account online of any debits and credits corresponding to this. She told me they suspected the attempts were fraudulent and that's why they hadn't shown up. She also said they were from middle Eastern countries and one was from Malta and they were fairly sure that I wasn't over there – nor had any of my previous spending habits shown amounts to these values.
I check into my account on a daily basis and reconcile my bookkeeping every 2-4 days, depending on how many entries have occurred. As so many of my clients now pay me online I need to be able to keep my ledgers up to date and it helps me see what else is going through the account – any cheques that have recently been processed, a periodic debit that hasn't gone through yet, and so on. It makes good sense to keep up to date with your accounting and the bank officer this morning confirmed it is also a good practice if you're running an online business. Another good thing is that I usually pay by Bpay and only use my Visa for small incidentals such as the items I listed above – another thing that alerted the bank to the large so-called purchases with my Visa card. Something else that assists is that I shift the larger proportion of my cleared funds into another account, which incidentally isn't connected to my Visa, so that has been a saving grace for me also.
I asked her how they got my credit card and she replied that often software is used to try out variations of numbers with expiry dates and when they find some that work they just keep using them – sounds like they must sell these numbers to others too, hence the use in different countries. I am careful about which sites I use my Visa on and was momentarily concerned that one of these may have been compromised but that doesn't appear to be the case.
I'm hoping my post on this topic may assist you, the reader, in developing a regular habit of keeping an eye on your bank accounts and monitoring any activity that may appear to unusual. KMT