Whenever I see a charge on my credit or debit card that I don’t think I made, my heart drops. After returning from a trip to Turkey a few years ago, I received a call from Capital One regarding a purchase for a $1,200 plane ticket on a Canadian airline. They didn’t think it was from me. They were right — someone apparently stole my credit card information while I was abroad — and I will always be grateful that they caught it immediately. They took care of it swiftly, and all I had to do was sign some paperwork that said it wasn’t I who made the charge.
While my situation was relatively painless, I’ve read and written about countless stories of those whose finances were turned completely upside-down by identity theft or credit card fraud. Due to frightening anecdotes and my own encounter with fraud, whenever I see something on my account that doesn’t look familiar, I have a minor freak-out. Then I do my research, and usually find out that it was just a case of mistaken identity — the merchant used a name on my credit card statement that I wasn’t expecting. A few incidents this week reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
My advice? Check your statements regularly. If you see something you even slightly question, call your bank and inquire — their customer support will help you figure it out. I’ve done this multiple times. If there is actual fraud or identity theft taking place, there will be less damage if you catch it right away and can have the card canceled immediately.
In this week’s roundup of my favorite blog posts, the first two are right on topic and address what happens when you lose your credit cards and other identifying information. The rest offer great tips and stories about credit, debt and personal finance success. Happy reading!
1. Fat Guy – Skinny Wallet laments the recent loss of her wallet and the fraud charges incurred, and she offers tips on how to avoid these problems.
2. On the same note, Money Q&Aexplains what you should do right now before you experience the hassle and headache of dealing with a lost wallet.
3. One Money Design offers six tips you can use to achieve personal finance goals.
4. 20-Something Finance provides a guide for the financial steps to take when you get married and move in together.
5. Narrow Bridge Finance shares his struggle with credit card debt and questions whether it’s worth it, but he ends with the message that credit cards really can be useful tools when used properly.
6. So Over This reveals her difficult yet rewarding path to finding out what she wants versus what she needs, and how this affects her financial well-being.
7. A guest post on Frugal Rules outlines five steps for choosing a qualified financial professional to help you assess and shed your debt.
8. Being frugal doesn’t mean being deprived. Money Infant defines what frugal living is and the role it plays in debt elimination.
9.Married (with Debt) discusses how she and her husband came to realize that their “good debt” really wasn’t good at all, in addition to how they managed to get rid of all their debt except the mortgage.
10. An expert from Experian shares a step-by-step guide to repairing your credit on your own on Ready for Zero.