Online Fraud: The Buck Stops Here

Earlier this week, I noticed some small charges to my VISA card. $0.99 for an iTunes movie rental; $1.05 for a Berkeley parking meter; and $1 for something related to TransUnion. I could not recall what that might had been. Fearing a deluge of scam-related charges, I went to investigate.

I called TransUnion, and indeed, someone named Bobby Watson charged my card for a subscription. I did not care about the buck, but suspected that someone might be making thousands of dollars off such small charges. Nobody is likely to miss a dollar, and most folks are simply too busy to pursue it even if they caught it.

A few years ago, someone in the UK charged my account $200 twice, for Skype credits. It was my business account, and I rarely looked at the statements. By the time I caught it, the bank made me file a police report. The cops chastised me for having waited so long. “We could have helped you.” Yeah right, like the police in my town (population 12,491) is going to fly to the UK to catch some idiot for $400? Anyway, eventually Bank of America credited my account for all of it, but not without making a big fuss.

Moral of the story? If you have the option, hop online and check activity on your accounts often. Should something be wrong, the sooner you act, the better your chances of getting your money back.

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