I check my credit card statements often and yesterday noticed a charge of $500+ from Amazon.ca that was linked to my wife’s card number (secondary cardholder on this account). This was strange, not only because we didn’t authorize the purchase but also because this particular card was not linked to our Amazon account.
What we discovered was that someone opened an Amazon account under my wife’s name, with our home address, and added her credit card number to the account. The fraudster ordered a $500+ fitness watch, and, get this, had it shipped to our address (not due to arrive until later this week).
I contacted the credit card company to flag the unauthorized transaction and report the identity fraud. Mastercard offers Zero Liability protection, meaning the company won’t hold you responsible for unauthorized transactions. They also closed down my wife’s account and issued a new card number.
We contacted Amazon to report the unauthorized charge and investigate how this might have happened. The customer service agent was able to trace the card number to an account that was opened earlier in the week under my wife’s name and address, along with the purchase of a fitness watch.
The strangest part about this entire situation is that the item was shipped to our home address (good job, thief). The Amazon rep asked us to refuse the shipment when it arrived, and then it would issue a refund (a moot point, since the charge has already been reversed on my card statement).
In the meantime I asked if they could flag the account as fraudulent and not allow any further activity, to which they agreed.
Given the number of data breaches that have occurred over the past several years it’s no surprise that eventually one of us would fall victim to identity fraud or theft. My wife’s information could have been compromised at one or more of the largest data breaches in the world, including Adobe, Marriott, and My Fitness Pal.
We reported the identity fraud details to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which collect information on fraud, identity theft, and past and current scams.
Finally, we placed a potential fraud alert on my wife’s credit file online through TransUnion. The other credit reporting bureau, Equifax, which ironically had a data breach of its own that affected 147 million consumers, had no such online mechanism and its offices were closed for the weekend.
It can be scary to have your information compromised, but this type of identity fraud is becoming more and more prevalent today. Be sure to diligently check your credit card statements and report suspicious transactions immediately.
Both Visa and MasterCard have Zero Liability protection, while American Express offers a similar Fraud Protection guarantee.
Interac also offers fraud prevention, but a credit card’s protection is much more robust. If your bank card is compromised, the fraudster is taking money directly from your bank account, whereas an unauthorized credit card charge still has a 22+ day grace period before payment is required.
This Week’s Recap:
As I mentioned in last Monday’s update, I received the lump sum payment of cash from my pension and put $30,000 into my TFSA, and another $3,700 into my RRSP to fully max out both accounts.
We also bought a hot tub(!), which will be delivered and installed in the coming weeks. Yes, we’re living our best stay-at-home life.
This week I wrote about commission-free trading and whether this is leading to bad investor behaviour (yes, and no).
Watch for my article on tax loss harvesting this week, plus a look at renewing your mortgage in this strange rate environment.
Promo of the Week:
I consistently get questions from readers about high interest savings accounts and where to park your money. The first answer is, not with a savings account at a big bank.
And, if you don’t want to bother moving your money around every 3-6 months to chase the latest interest rate promotions, you’re better off finding a bank that can offer a consistently high everyday rate.
That’s where EQ Bank comes in. EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account consistently offers an everyday high interest rate at or near the top of the market with no hassles (2%). It even comes with some chequing account functionality, like bill payments and free e-Transfers. Open an account here.
Our friends at Credit Card Genius offer 37 money saving tips when times are tough.
One of the bigger revelations at this year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual general meeting was that it sold off its entire stake in the four largest U.S. airlines in April:
“We made that decision in terms of the airline business. We took money out of the business basically even at a substantial loss,” Buffett said. “We will not fund a company that — where we think that it is going to chew up money in the future.”
Many thanks to Erica Alini at Global News for including quotes from me in her latest piece on changing investment strategies amid COVID-19. Here are my own thoughts on the topic of changing investment strategies in a market crash.
I was also pleased to be included in this MoneySense piece by Jonathan Chevreau on whether you should delay retirement due to COVID-19. Again, here are my own thoughts on whether you should postpone retirement due to the pandemic.
Another MoneySense article looks at how the coronavirus pandemic could change the way we think about retirement in Canada.
I enjoyed this video by Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam where he explains how difficult it is to pick winning individual stocks:
Michael Batnick explains the catalyst behind the stock market wrapping up its best month in more than 30 years:
“Stocks aren’t rallying because of terrible numbers. They fell in anticipation of them. For the last few weeks they’ve been rising in anticipation of the recovery.”
My Own Advisor Mark Seed teams up with fee-for-service planner Owen Winkelmolen on the following case study: spend more or retire earlier in this bullet-proof retirement plan.
Dale Roberts at Cut the Crap Investing weighs-in on reports that robo-advisors are thriving in this market downturn.
Michael James looks into another emotional reason why people seem to want to take CPP early.
Group RESP customers are typically locked into monthly payments that are difficult to reduce or postpone. FAIR Canada is calling on security regulators to assist group RESP subscribers who may be unable to make their scheduled payments.
Earn Altitude Prestige status without flying? That’s exactly what Aeroplan and Air Canada are offering right now in this must-see promotion for wannabe frequent flyers.
Finally, many Canadians have turned to meal kit delivery services to help cook from home and limit trips to the grocery store. Kyle Prevost at Million Dollar Journey reviews one of these services – Hello Fresh – and looks at the cost of meal kits.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!