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Credit Card Fraud Victim: Me


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Don't assume tiny charges on your credit card statement are too small to be from credit card thieves!

Chase Freedom Visa is issuing me a new credit card number due to potential fraud - though it might have been a simple number mix-up since only the card number, not the exp.date and not my name were used.
I hope it doesn't have anything to do with Equifax.

I normally keep detailed, daily spending records - except when I was on vacation in Florida/Caribbean Aug. 12-20.
When I returned home,  I had charges from "Hulu" on Aug. 12 and 13 of $0.12 and $4.29 and assumed it was cruise related since it coincidentally matched my flights/cruise dates and that "Hulu" wasn't the video company but some place or initials that were the same.  I did not use that card during the vacation but may have used it when setting up excursions, etc. and wondered if it had something to do with that.  I assumed credit card thieves would not make such tiny charges.

But, this AM, I just reconciled my budget spreadsheet vs my online accounts and my Chase Freedom Visa charges were $28.91 too much.
So I checked my online statement and the $28.91 was billed on Sept. 13 - one month since the last one- to Hulu.com, with whom I've never had an account or rented anything.

So I called Chase Visa and was told that fraud was often done by initially spending small amounts to see if the card owner would notice.
They said they would immediately cancel the card number and issue me a new one with a new number and refund me the fraudulent expenses.
I see online there's a new last four digits associated with my card, my $9.66 in accumulated cash-back is still there and my quarterly 5% cash-back bonus is still activated for Oct-Dec (Walmart and Department stores [Kohl's, Sears, Macy's, etc.] but not other superstores.)
Fortunately, I don't use it for any bill paying, etc. so I don't have to worry about redoing billing info.
Also fortunately, though I won't be able to use Chase Freedom Visa's 5% cash-back on restaurants (through September) until the new card arrives, Discover also has 5% cash-back on restaurants July-Sept. (it's giving 5% for Target and Amazon.com Oct.-Dec.) and I have a Discover card with my quarterly "5% Cashback Bonus" activated, as you have to do quarterly with the 5% bonus, through your online card page.  So I'm good until the new card gets here.

Note that the last I looked, Chase Freedom Visa, with no annual fee, was offering $150 cash-back to new customers if they charge $500 the first 90-days they own the card. The rotating 5% quarterly cash-back categories (2017: restaurants, gasoline, groceries, movies, drugstores, Walmart, Department Stores) are very rewarding: they have charge limits on those categories, but I never come close to hitting them. Chase has a similarly named card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, that gives 1.5% cash-back always and I think the same $150 to new customers charging $500, but the Citi Double Cash Mastercard does 2% everywhere.  I just checked, both Chase cards still have the $150 intro bonus: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/FreedomDual?CELL=6B4X&jp_cmp=cc/Cash%20Back%20MCP_Brand_BMM_MCP_SEM_US_No%20xLOB_Standard_NA_MMTest/sea/iaTqB3Bf/Chase%20-%20Cash%20Back/Rebate&kwdID=iaTqB3Bf_dc&adgrpID=214304523266

I also called Hulu and gave them their account number listed on my Chase statement. They asked for the last four digits of my credit card, exp. date and name and said the exp. date and name don't match the ones on their account number. Their phone rep. implied they are kind of fast-and-loose in accepting credit cards and don't check the name on the card - just like when you swipe your dip/swipe your card at a store.  So if I ever set up an account with Hulu in the future, there's no problem with my name!  So I hope it was simply a number mix-up and not intentional fraud, but the Hulu rep said she's seen the same kind of small-charges that are later ramped-up with credit card fraud.

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4 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

I hope it doesn't have anything to do with Equifax.

I would highly doubt it. This happens.  About a year ago or so BoA canceled my visa and issued me a new one. My account had no fraud on it, but it was used at a place that had been compromised. So they proactively issued me a new card. I asked where, but they wouldn't tell me because it was under investigation...no biggie just curious. The only thing that upset me was, I had my previous cc number memorized because I had it since 1996.

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This happens to me about once every year or two.  In my case my card company calls me and tells me that they have suspended my account or I try to use the card and find out that they had just suspended the account.  It's almost always for several small charges - 59 cents here and 37 cents there and the account gets suspended.  They go through the recent transactions over the phone with me - cancelling the ones I disagree with and issue a new card.  Only once did I find the charges on the card instead of them and that was for several larger purchases made over the course of almost a month.  Those required me filling out and signing an affidavit for them before they would reverse the charges. 

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