A few weeks ago, while using an ATM at a state fair, I realized that my bank account was lower than it should be. After checking my account history, I found out that someone had been purchasing songs and vitamin supplements with my debit card.
Just like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Zipper rides by me, the idea of someone stealing my money left me scared and disoriented. Fortunately, I quickly rectified the problem—while also realizing that protecting money is a lot like a carnival. (Despite my highest hopes, kettle corn and angry clowns hovering over dunk tanks are not involved.)
You better believe that once I go up in a ride, I’m screaming as loud as I can until we’re let back down. Actually, once I’m back down, I usually keep screaming until I’m off the ride. I did the same thing when I realized someone used my debit card.
First, I called the bank and explained what happened. They notified me that other purchase attempts were made with my card, immediately deactivated it, and sent me a new one with a new number. They also put my account on high alert, meaning they would immediately notify me if any out-of-the-ordinary purchases were made on it.
I then contacted the companies from which the purchases were made. iTunes was able to track my card number to my account, and they refunded me the full sum that was taken from me. They also made it so my card number could never be used to make purchases on iTunes (I prefer my record player to my iPod anyway).
Know The Risk
People (at least most of us) read a ride’s requirements and risks before getting on. If I don’t feel safe getting on, I don’t go—or, at least, I ask a few more questions of the carny (they’re always helpful).
Online shopping can cause identity theft. I’m pretty sure my card’s info was stolen when I purchased from a website offering “Persian Rugs 4 2 Dollarz!!” (I was desperate for my new apartment, OK?). I didn’t appreciate the risk when I went on that site. Now I do. Be wary of scams and whom you’re giving your information to.
I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m going up on that Scrambler unless I know the seatbelt, harness, and every other strap provided is fastened securely on my body. I take note of everything. Lucky for me, I do the same thing with my bank account.
Without checking your credit report or bank statements regularly and keeping in mind how much you should have in your account, you may not notice someone using your card. I not only have a new card now, but I also downloaded a mobile banking app that notifies me when money is put in and taken out of my account. With these new tools, I’ll hopefully avoid any other rides that an identity thief might want to take me for a spin on.
How do you prevent identity thieves from making you look like a clown? Share your tips below!
(Photo: Jerry’s Stuff)