Fraud protection is something we all have to be conscious about. In the military, a lot of us don’t do our jobs for money. Even if we did, we don’t really make enough for what we actually do, so it’s a shame when people steal from us fraudulently.
I am writing this article from personal experience, and it’s really embarrassing. However, I will swallow my pride in hopes that what I write prevents what happened to me from happening to another servicemember.
Fraud Prevention: Taking Precautions
Let me begin by asking how many of you are buying items online or have in the past? How many of you use your credit card or debit card to constantly make purchases?
I’m guessing the answer is all of you. For example, almost all of us are accustomed to using our card when fueling our cars.
What you might not know is that there are ways for criminals to get your credit or debit card info when you swipe your card at a fuel pump. What they are doing is placing a device inside the scanner that reads the card and your information when you scan it.
In order to prevent a thief from stealing your information this way, you should go inside and pre-pay for your fuel. I know it’s a pain in the neck to have to guess how much to pay, but as the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The next thing I want to discuss is what has happened to me over the last year.
After I was wounded in Iraq, I had my mail being sent to a relative’s address. Since I lived 200 miles away, I was guilty of rarely getting my mail. I was also guilty of not checking my bank and credit card statements and just throwing them away.
Eventually I discovered that my relative was using my credit cards online and that they had accumulated over $1,200 in charges over a year. They were able to do this because mailed credit card statements included your full credit card number.
I also recently discovered that I was not this relative’s only target. They also stole credit card information of another close relative through the mail.
I learned some valuable lessons from this experience.
First, I realized that I needed to check my statements monthly. I also went paperless with my bank cards and credit cards, and I suggest you do the same as well.
Secondly, I also learned the hard way that you can’t trust anybody. It’s a shame that the world we live in now is one where there is very little integrity.
Finally, my final suggestion is to never give anybody your card to use because once you do, they could use it again without your permission.
Though it was embarrassing to write this article, I hope it helps another servicemember or veteran from being duped like I was. Always be on the lookout for fraud.