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Earlier today, I received an email alert from my bank stating that I had a charge of close to $300 for a cable company in NY. First of all, I don’t charge anything to my ATM/debit card because those purchases are not protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which is why I’m always preaching to use a credit card, especially one that earn you miles/points, as long as you can pay it off in full each month.
Secondly, I rarely use cash anymore except for tips and occasionally at the farmer’s market but now, many farmer’s market stalls accept Venmo or credit cards. I also took out a few hundred dollars when the pandemic hit and I’m still making my way through it.
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The reason I caught the fraudulent charge so quickly and stopped the perpetrators from doing serious damage is because I get an email any time a charge is made to any of my credit and bank cards. TIP: Always set up notifications on your cards so that you can be alerted as soon as a charge is made.
The good news is that it looks like they only got my ATM card by either guessing the 16-digit code or using an RFID reader when I passed by someone. My bank will send me a new ATM card and not change my bank account numbers, which is a HUGE hassle and even more so during a pandemic.
Moral of the story: Protect your purchases and cards by using a credit card not an ATM card, setting up notifications for purchases and using RFID blocking sleeves, which I did not have on my bank card but I will now. They’re inexpensive and can save you a world of hassle. You can buy them here on Amazon.
UPDATE: Reader Sandra wrote in with a further bit of advice. She says, ‘Many wallets come with RFID protection in them so you wouldn’t need an extra sleeve. I have a wallet for my purse which has this and is also large enough for a passport (sigh). I use the paper sleeves when I only want to have one card with me.” Great tip, Sandra! An RFID blocking wallet makes sense. Check out these options for women and these ones for men. There are a lot of options but this is my wife’s pick and this is mine.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.