Check your statements carefully, as compromised debit cards and credit cards are being used to steal small-dollar charges by surveymak.org and receptionistway.com. Here’s what to do if your card is stolen or compromised; for example if you find charges from either of surveymak.org or receptionistway.com it’s time to dispute them and to cancel your card (we explain how below).
Surveymak.org and receptionistway.com are just the two of which we are aware in a fraudulent charges scam based on compromised cards. If you have come across others, please let us know in a comment.
These are all small charges, as you can see from our screenshot of some of the actual fraudulent charges; generally under $3.00 each.
Here’s how it works: The bad guys acquire a list of stolen or otherwise compromised credit card numbers and debit card numbers, along with enough of your personal details to allow them to run charges as if they are you.
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Then they run small charges for one of two reasons: Either 1) as a test run to see if it will go through, in preparation for running larger charges, or 2) to avoid triggering automatic detection that could be triggered by larger amounts – in this latter case while it may only be $2 out of your account, multiply that by 100,000 compromised accounts, and that’s a pretty big pay day.
Here’s what to do if you find fraudulent charges from surveymak.org or receptionistway.com or any other entity. The instructions are different depending on whether your card which is compromised is a debit card or a credit card, so here is the info for each. You probably already know all of these things, so consider these as check lists just to be sure that you don’t overlook anything.
What to Do If Your Debit Card Number is Stolen or Otherwise Compromised
Contact your bank: As soon as you suspect that your debit card number has been stolen, contact your bank and report it. They will cancel the compromised card and issue a new one. Yes, it’s a freakin’ hassle, especially having to give that new debit card number to all of the places that you have auto-billing subscriptions to the card, like Netflix, Amazon, etc..
That said, rather than giving all of those places the new card from your bank, you may want to look into a virtual debit card service such as the one offered by Privacy.com. The way these work is that you create a unique virtual debit card for each place at which you use a debit card; when a charge hits one of the virtual debit cards Privacy.com processes it as an ACH transaction with your bank. Because you have a different ‘card’ for each merchant, if one of them gets compromised it only stops payments for that merchant, meaning you don’t have to go through the hassle of updating your payment information anywhere else, because their unique cards still work.
Change your PIN: If you think someone has access to your PIN (Personal Identification Number), change it as soon as possible. You can usually do this over the phone or in person at your bank.
Review your account: Keep a close eye on your bank account for any unauthorized transactions. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to your bank immediately.
What to Do If Your Credit Card Number is Stolen or Compromised
Report the theft to your credit card issuer as soon as possible: Contact your credit card company as soon as possible to report the theft. Explain the situation and request that they cancel your card and issue a new one. They may also be able to freeze your account to prevent any unauthorized purchases.
Check your statements: Review your recent credit card statements to identify any unauthorized charges. Report any suspicious transactions to your credit card issuer.
File a police report: If your credit card or number was stolen, and especially if you suspect related identity theft, you should file a police report. Even if nothing comes of it (it’s common for there to be no arrests, for example) this will still provide you with documentation and a police report that you can use to help deal with getting charges reversed, things removed from your credit report, etc..
And for Either Type of Card
Change your passwords: If you suspect that your payment card information was hacked through an online account, be sure to change the password for that account.
Monitor your credit report: Request a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to check for any unauthorized accounts or suspicious activity. You can obtain a free credit report once a year from each bureau, and some may also provide a free one because you’ve had fraudulent transactions.
Set up fraud alerts: You can place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the credit bureaus. This will cause potential lenders or creditors to confirm that it’s really you before they allow a new account to be opened in your name.
Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit: If you’re concerned about the security of your personal information, you may want to consider a credit freeze. This will prevent anyone from opening a new account in your name, but it can also make it difficult for you to open new accounts or apply for loans, as lenders will be unable to access your information.
With the above steps you can help protect yourself from the financial (and emotional toll and stress) of credit card and debit card theft. Act quickly to minimize the damage. Contact your bank or card issuer, monitor your account, change your PIN, and consider a fraud alert or credit monitoring service to help protect your finances. By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of financial loss and regain control of your accounts.