For years, I’ve told clients that if they don’t balance their checkbook, at a bare minimum they must review the statement for erroneous charges. It’s also important to eye-ball your credit card statement to make sure all the charges are ones you did, in fact, make. I’ve given this advice because, in working as a Professional Organizer for the last 18 years, and frequently helping clients organize their finances, I’ve seen banking entities make mistakes – debiting more than once for the same charge, neglecting to post a credit, among others.
Luckily, I heed my own advice. This past week, both my business debit card and my business credit card were compromised. Thankfully, I review my business checking via on-line banking regularly during the month; because of this, I was able to catch an unauthorized debit charge the day after it occurred. Two hundred dollars’ worth of coffee would have jumped out anyway (that’s a lot of coffee!), but especially since I don’t drink (or like) the beverage! A quick conversation with both my bank and the credit card company resulted in the immediate cancellation of both cards, and I had my replacement cards within days.
The three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax, will give you a free credit report if you write and say you were a victim of fraud. You can also get one report each year, free of charge, from www.annualcreditreport.com Here is the contact information to reach the agencies:
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
Trans Union: 1-800-888-4213 www.transunion.com
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.com
Another good idea is to make a copy of the front and back of the contents of your wallet and keep it in a safe place. Should your wallet be lost or stolen, this will make cancellation and replacement of the cards an easier process.