Don’t Pay Your Bills!

I know this advice may seem out of character from someone who just a few months ago encouraged you to Make a Minute for Money, but here we go again…another incident requiring vigilance.

I’m sure you’re getting tired of me warning you about fraud on your charge accounts, but since we’ve been hit again. I feel another reminder is in order. Here’s the message from Discover when I sign on to my account online:

We’re sorry that your account experienced fraudulent activity. We’re working quickly to get everything back to normal. For your added security, certain features may not be available online at this time. You might still see unauthorized activity and inaccurate information until we remove the fraud from your account.

Remember, you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.

Saturday, we received a call from the Fraud Division at Discover to verify some purchases they deemed suspicious. Over $3400 in charges at Tractor Supply in Orlando, $110 at Hess in Winter Park, and over four hundred dollars at PepBoy in Apopka.

Trans. Date Description Amount
06/28/14 TRACTOR SUPPLY #560 $117.13
06/28/14 TRACTOR SUPPLY #560 $3,301.49
06/28/14 HESS 09525 $110.11
06/28/14 PEPBOYS STORE # 544 $407.67
TOTAL $3,936.40

No, we didn’t make any of those purchases, and I’m impressed that Discover called before 8:00pm on Saturday to check on almost $4000 in suspicious purchases less than 24 hours after they were made.

No, our cards were not stolen. They’re both in our possession. I guess we’re the victim of some type of card skimming device.

Of course, we’ll cut up two more credit cards. We’ll be issued new cards and account numbers. A hassle, but not as bad as the problems caused by the fraud at Target six months ago. At least Discover caught this early.

So, today I’m reminding you to be alert for fraud on your accounts. I’m glad we used a credit card instead of a debit card when we filled the tank with gas. Our bank account couldn’t have taken a $3900 hit, and debit cards don’t have the same protection as credit cards. I’d much rather have Discover fighting this battle than me personally trying to have almost $4000 credited back to my bank account. That would be a nightmare!

DON’T PAY YOUR BILLS – at least not until you’ve carefully checked and verified each purchase, then, and only then, pay the bill. And since it’s Monday, it’s a good day to Make a Minute for Money as well!



Dear Target Guest,

If you received an email addressed to “Dear Target Guest”, it’s official…you’re one of the millions whose credit or debit card information was stolen this past November or December, and that’s the message that greeted me yesterday afternoon.

In the email, Target confirms that not only credit or debit card information was taken but name, address, phone number, and email address. Wonderful!

The email apologizes for the inconvenience, offers tips to protect financial information (although it didn’t suggest I stop shopping at Target), and provides a link to activate free credit monitoring and identify theft insurance for one year.

My initial reaction…thanks, but that should be required, not just an attempt to appease angry customers.

However, after clicking the link, I wondered if maybe this is a scam. Remember, the message says by name and email address was stolen. Is this email from Target or from those who stole my information?

I later saw a report in the news providing the same information in the email so it looks legit, but I can’t help to be suspicious.

Thanks, Target.