Recently, my wife was an unfortunate victim of a debit card fraud. You can read about her experience here:
Naturally she was upset but she stayed calm and proceed to:
- Call the bank to inform them of the fraudulent charges and to cancel the card.
- Make a police report and inform the bank again once the report has been made.
- Contact the merchant. In her case, the merchant was Uber but she was unable to find their contact number in Singapore. She had to contact Uber via the app and fortunately Uber replied her via email.
- Unlink the card from Uber. From her Facebook’s comments, unlinking the card is not a straightforward process. One has to change the payment mode to cash before you can unlink the card.
We are appreciative that the bank kept us updated on their investigation – the bank will take 14 to 21 days to investigate and they will credit the money back between 5 to 10 working days. We will also like to thank everyone for their support and feedback.
There were many questions in our mind; how did the fraudsters acquire her credit card details and why did the bank failed to pick up those suspicious transactions? We may never be able to find out the answers but this incident has prompted me to take Credit Card security even more seriously.
Lessons learnt and what we can do:
1) Cancel the card immediately. Do not even think of trying to salvage the situation by unlinking your credit card from the affected merchant. Your card has already been compromised and fraudsters can charge your card to other merchants.
2) Debit vs Credit Card. My wife prefers debit card to track her expenditure but the downside is that the money will be deducted from her bank account immediately. She had $800+ in her account when the fraud occurs and her bank account was wiped out – imagine if she had $8,000.
As she still prefers the convenience of a debit card, she will now only put her monthly expenses into that account. The bulk of her money which include savings, big ticket items will be kept separately in another account that is not linked to another debit card.
3) Disable overseas card usage. I usually have two credit cards permanently activated for overseas usage and I will reduce it to just one. Do also note that although your card cannot be use overseas, fraudsters can still use your card for overseas online transactions.
4) Be careful of linking too many accounts to the same card. I have a credit card that is linked to two savings account and it also serves as my ATM and NETS card, and it can also be used overseas. While it reduces the number of cards I have to carry, if my card or pin is compromised, fraudsters will have access to both savings account.
5) SMS alert for every transactions. The default is usually $100 but in my wife’s case, all the transactions were less than $100. It could explain why the bank fraud detection did not pick it up. I believe the minimum transaction for a SMS alert is $1 and if I had it my way, I will ask for an alert to be sent from the first cent.
6) Do you know your Credit Card Pin? Unless your Credit Card is also your ATM card, very few of us will remember the PIN. When we apply for a Credit Card, the bank will send us an envelope with the PIN and most of us will probably discard it. A blogger shared that he will scrutinize his credit card pin mailer to see if it has been tampered with.
Not knowing your PIN is not the same as not having a PIN. Although the security risk is low, I will still want to record down my PIN.
7) Store your credit card details securely. The majority will probably memorize it but when you have seven different credit card or ATM PIN, it may become a challenge especially for cards that you hardly use. Some may use the same PIN for all their cards or write it down on a piece of paper. The mobile savvy will save it in their WhatsApp, SMS or any note app. I prefer to use a password manager (LastPass) and will use a 2FA for added security.
Good security is about finding a balance between convenience and security.
Feel free to share if you have any other credit card fraud prevention tips.