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Idiots stole my credit card numbers and spent about a grand on video game ‘stuff’. I quickly found out – I am not alone. Protect yourself.. here’s how.

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I was infuriated.

I make it a very regular thing to check my bank statement. I pop online at least once a day to check and make sure things are good. I had my identity stolen about ten years ago and it made me a bit paranoid. So, when I checked Tuesday morning, I was confused about three purchases. I called my husband to be sure he didn’t buy anything from these online stores I’d never heard of.

He didn’t.

Well, if he didn’t, and I didn’t – who did?

Who knows.

A lady by the name of  Anna. That’s what the order said. So, maybe.  They gave me the last name but  I wouldn’t want to publish it because she could be a victim, too.

She was having the items shipped to an address in Redding, NJ.


Three purchases. One $469, one $490, and one $289.

By the way, I have the chip in this card. Remember the chip was going to stop all of this nonsense?!


So, of course, right away I called my bank. They told me that once the transactions clear – I could file a claim and hopefully get reimbursed in about ten days.

That’s annoying.


But, I mean the bank is a victim too, I guess. I mean sure, they could have better security features in place that red flag certain purchases. But, the truth is – I use my card all the time. For everything. I never carry cash – so this thing is always being used. Now, around the holidays, well I use it too much. In stores. At gas stations. Online. All of it. Always.

The nice man at the bank told me there is no way to find out where the thief got the numbers – which is even more irritating.

But, here’ the thing – I  posted a status on Facebook saying what happened, reminding folks to check their statements. Dozens of people responded – many with similar situations. So many people with so many stories.

The lady at the bank this afternoon told me it happens ALL THE TIME. Like a bunch of times everyday – at her bank. So, imagine all the other banks, credit unions, store cards… It’s a nightmare.

But, what do you do? Never use the card? Don’t pay for or buy anything online?

Easier said than done in today’s world.

Considering how sophisticated these criminals are, you may feel defenseless. However, there are several things you can do to minimize your chances of falling victim to credit card fraud, as well as measures to help you recover from identity theft if you have been victimized.

1. Beware of Gas Station Credit Card Skimmers (If I had to guess… I would say this is what got me)

Gas station credit card skimmers are external devices that thieves attach over a real credit card slot at a gas station pump. As customers swipe their cards into the skimmer, the device saves and stores card information immediately.

  1. Inspect The Card Reader And The Area Near The PIN Pad. …
  2. Look At Other Nearby Gas Pumps or ATM Card Readers to See if They Match The One You Are Using. …
  3. Trust Your Instincts. …
  4. Avoid Using Your PIN Number at the Gas Pump. …
  5. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts.

2. Beware of Phishing. Phishing is a scam to trick consumers into revealing personal information, including credit card numbers. It can occur via email, phone, text or snail mail. Phishers sometimes try to gain trust by using familiar logos and company names in misrepresenting themselves.

3.  Demand a new replacement credit and debit card if yours was compromised – Do this immediately.

4. Change your passwords regularly – Make them difficult, complex.

5. Use different cards for autopay vs everyday spending – Consider designating one of your credit cards to be used only for autopay accounts, such as wireless phone bills and website subscriptions. Then don’t use that card for anything else. That way, this just-for-bills credit card is not in the wild being processed by retail clerks and restaurant servers, or being swiped through gas station pump readers. Use other payment cards for everyday spending.  This technique won’t prevent fraud on your everyday spending card, but if one of the cards is breached, at least you won’t have the hassle of changing your autopay accounts and potentially incurring a late-payment fee.

6. Pay with your phone. Smartphone-based payment services such as Apple Pay or Android Pay make paying at stores safer because they use tokenization technology to change payment information with every transaction. The merchant never collects actual credit card numbers.  Additionally, the device’s lock screen is often password-protected, making the phone unusable without unlocking, usually by personal identification number or biometric identification, such as a fingerprint.

7. Check your accounts daily. 

Mary Friona

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Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

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