After the recent DBS ATM fraud incident, one of my readers wrote in to share his experiences with credit card fraud.
Before I share that with you, here is an interesting piece of news about a highly sophisticated banking fraud.
Apparently, there are computer virus that not only can steal the passwords to your banking account, but they can also create fake online statements so that you do not know that your money has been stolen.
Now, that is something to be worried about!
Anyway, the email about the credit card fraud can be found below:
“About 10 years ago because of work, I go to Malaysia every week. I typically use my company card to charge at hotels and restuarants during my busines trip. Then one day, I received a statement from xxx credit card with an unknown S$6,000 expenditure. The transactions were done in Mid Valley upscale shopping mall. Fortunately they were done on a Saturday and I was able to prove that I was already back in S’pore on Friday through my immigration records.
These kind of unauthorized transactions went for another few months and xxx has to keep changing my credit every month or so, The problem did no go away even after the frequent change of credit cards. It means the syndicate is really super high tech. Finally, xxx came out with a system that whenever my card is used in Malaysia, their staff will came my mobile phone immediately to verify if I was the user. Only when I approved it, they will allow the transaction to go through. It was very troublesome for both me and their staff. But this proves to be an effective4 method and the problem disappear.
Now my experience in USA. 3 years ago, I encountered the same problem. This time I was using a credit card issued by a U.S bank. The syndicate used my card to spend US$5,000+ in about 80 small transactions at petrol kiose and convenient stores all in two days. Amazing. Fortunately, I was able to prove that I was working in Southern California at that time but the transactions were in Northern California.
Those two incidents had caused me great stress and inconvenience over quite a period of time. In both of those experiences, I had my credit cards in my possession all the time and they were never lost ! So my conclusion is no matter how high tech and secured a bank claims they and their technology are, I never believed them.
I had at one stage about 10 credit cards because all were given to me free with no subscriptions. I was so proud to have so many cards but never though of the risks that they carried. After the first incident 10 years ago, I cancelled all except one. Until today, I still have only 1 ATM card with limit $$$ inside and 1 credit card with a small limit. They are sufficient for me to spend for a month but will not hurt me financially in any unfortunate situation.
In fact, the bank finds me a bit weird as most people wants as high a credit limit as possible but instead I asked for only a small fraction of what they are willing to offer. Free credit cards are still very tempting to me today, but I had to be disciplined to decline the offer. I also wonder about so many Singaporeans like to have so many credit cards and ATM cards in their wallet. Are they necessary? Have they thought about the risks? But it is up to each individual; it’s their money. I just hope to share my experiences to create awareness and leave the decisions to individuals.”