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Letterwerks Sign City
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

One Moment, Please... Check your balance

Fri, Jul 25th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

I’m not referring to checking your ability to stay upright. I’m referring to your bank account.

I recently learned that our company business bank account had been compromised. Apparently, while I was using our company debit card to make purchases, the information from that card had been stolen.

As I logged into our company business account online to review transactions, I noticed two separate charges coming from the retail store T.J.Maxx.

I immediately contacted our local bank, and they initiated the process of filing my case with their fraud department. They were and have continued to be extremely helpful with this process.

After calling our bank, I called the Rochester T.J.Maxx to inquire about a store number referenced with the purchase that appeared with the charges in the fraudulent transactions. They directed me to their corporate office, and it turns out that the T.J.Maxx in which the purchases were made came from a store in Atlanta, Ga. Surprisingly, I’ve never been to Atlanta, let alone their esteemed T.J.Maxx store. I’m sure it’s nice, and I’m sure the thief who made purchases with our company bank account funds would agree.

Unfortunately, I have no idea where this problem evolved, which is even more disconcerting as a consumer and business owner.

Who is accountable? Essentially, this is theft. But, instead of walking into a store and shoplifting items, this thief made what was perceived to be legitimate purchases and walked right out the door with the stolen goods.

And, after our bank rejected those charges, the cost of those stolen goods were charged back to T.J.Maxx. If you ever think the cost of your purchases at T.J.Maxx seem to be getting a little higher, you can thank the thieves for that. Obviously, when people steal from a business, those businesses have to make up for their losses by passing them onto the honest, good paying customers.

I really hope that whoever committed the crime does get caught, because we all know they will strike again as along as they keep getting away with this type of crime.

Where this situation concludes is still yet to be determined.

In the meantime, I had to cancel my debit card and apply for a new one. And, this situation has made me more sensitive to where I make business-related purchases, and how that data is managed.

It also makes me think of how many people simply wait for their monthly printed bank statement to reconcile their transactions. After my recent issue, I’d strongly suggest that everyone check their bank balance every single day, and more importantly your transactions. The longer you wait, the more damage that can be accomplished by those enjoying the opportunity to drain your account.

While many of us may enjoy how the continuous advancements in technology have helped us use our time more efficiently, it has also exposes us to greater risks of identity theft and fraud at a level that almost seems incomprehensible -- spawning a new breed of criminals.

If you are rolling the dice and hoping you won’t fall victim to some sort of fraud as I had mentioned, I wouldn’t “bank” on it (no pun intended).

In a March 2011 article published by U.S. News & World Report, titled “Identity Theft: Your Chances of Being a Victim,” the Federal Trade Commission reported that roughly “9 million Americans fall prey to identity theft every year.”

That was in 2011. Surely, in 2014, I can only assume that the number of victims has increased. Heck, look at the recent Target Corporation credit card breach that created headaches for nearly 70 million consumers. We’re all more exposed to the risk of identity theft and fraud than we’d like to believe.

If you haven’t already done so, check with your local bank on how you can do a better job of protecting your identity from theft or fraud. At this point, I don’t believe we can be overly cautious.

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