Sunday, April 11, 2010
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Now Cash Only - Closed Three Credit Cards in Last 50 Days Due to Fraudulent Activity (Two Citibank Cards and One Discover Card)
Regrettably, I have become a PRO at handling fraudulent activity on my Citibank and Discover cards. I have two rebate cards between these companies giving 2% and 5% cash back, respectively. Nowadays, our household has transitioned to cash only at three stores.
Starting in February, I had to close and reissue a credit card due to fraudulent activity for the first time in my life. It was my Citibank card which had some unusual activity out of Paris, France. I was out about $400. I called Citibank and learned that I had to fill out an affidavit confirming that the cards were in my possession and that the activity was not mine. I also included a transaction history printout with all fraudulent activity clearly marked. The fraudulent activity was credited back to my account four days later.
I learned that the affidavit form is mailed to you in a non-descript envelope. Make sure you sift through all of your junk mail during a fraudulent claim period so that you don't experience any unnecessary delays. Also, you can get the affidavit form even faster if you contact Citibank's Security department directly. The Citibank Security department can email you the affidavit form. Once complete, the affidavit form can be either faxed or mailed back. I faxed my affidavit back and enjoyed a quicker processing time.
If you move around as much as me, you may not give serious consideration to keeping your contact information current on all your accounts. I could have caught the fraudulent activity about 24-48 hrs sooner had the Credit Card company been able to contact me directly with their concerns.
I started using my Discover Card while waiting for a new Citibank Card to be issued. I didn't change of my credit card usage. Then, my Discover Card was hit with fraudulent activity about 35 days later. This fraudulent activity was in the amount of $180 at a Wal-Mart in Nashville, TN. This time, I caught the fraudulent activity within the first 24 hrs. Discover Card didn't require an affidavit and credited the fraudulent charge with just a phone call.
While it was disconcerting, I wasn't about to go to cash only just yet... Unfortunately, 15 days later I was hit for about $160 in fraudulent activity out of Spain on my new Citibank Card. With all of this fraudulent activity, I was able to discern a common thread across all three accounts. Each account had been used at facilities co-located withing a shopping center. I initially thought that one location was skimming and cloning my credit card information. It turns out that it wasn't a single store. It was in fact the credit card clearing house. So, next time you get hit for fraudulent activity on a credit card, understand that the problem can be bigger than credit card skimming at just one store.