Preventing identity theft and fraudulent transactions

Published July 7th, 2015 - 06:06 GMT
Suspicious activity typically comes from online and out-of-town/overseas transactions. (Shutterstock)
Suspicious activity typically comes from online and out-of-town/overseas transactions. (Shutterstock)

Banks now offer a lot of protection when it comes to fraud. But to get the maximum protection that you can get for your money and identity, you must be vigilant and act quickly.

In most cases, banks do work with you as soon as a suspicious transaction occurs — whether they notice it or you do. But it is important that you don’t just rely on the bank’s system in monitoring suspicious activity on your account because some transactions may not trigger a bank alert despite being fraudulent.

To ensure that you become aware of such transactions as quickly as possible, follow these simple steps.

Review your statements and receipts

Whether you receive paper or digital statements, glance through them to see if anything stands out. If you use your card heavily or you have other people who are on the same account, this may be a daunting task, but it is worthwhile. Suspicious activity typically comes from online and out-of-town/overseas transactions — both can easily be spotted.

If you’re using a debit card, where you withdraw cash regularly, make sure that you check the receipts to see your balance. A big, unexpected drop probably will catch your eye and give you a chance to review your account even ahead of receiving your monthly statement — either online or in a visit to the bank.

Report immediately

If you’re unsure about one transaction or another, report it. There is no harm in finding out more about that transaction even if it turns out that it is yours. The quicker you act, the more likely you will get the bank’s cooperation. If you just can’t recall where this money was spent, ask the bank’s representative to give you more details than what’s mentioned on your statement. Many retailers or brands appear under a different company name on credit card statement, which makes it more difficult to track down where the money was spent.

If you find yourself in this situation often, it may be a good idea to retain your customer receipts to match them against the statement. Especially if you get organised and go through them chronically, you will able to accomplish this task much quicker.

Follow up

It depends on your bank as far as how quickly a fraudulent transaction can be reversed. But if that is not done on the spot, you must follow up until you see it gone from your statement. In addition, request a new card immediately, which your bank probably will want you to do to avoid any further fraudulent activity.

While the bank probably will investigate the source of this transaction for its own purposes, do ask about any information that can be shared with you. If you get an idea about where and how your card was compromised, you will be able to avoid using the card in this same place or website again. Meanwhile, do you own review by looking back at where you used your card.

Consider extra protection

When you get your initial credit card agreement, check for what your bank offers in terms of fraud protection. As mentioned, most banks will work with you to ensure that you don’t pay for something you didn’t buy, but if that is clearly not covered under your agreement, consider purchasing extra protection.

Some banks may offer you extra insurance at a small monthly or annual fee. If your lifestyle or business requires a lot of travel or online business, buying this extra protection may make sense. Otherwise, most people don’t need more than just keeping an eye on their transactions and statement, and working with the bank if anything doesn’t appear to be correct.

By Rana Oteify

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2022. All rights reserved.

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