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I had just finished eating lunch when I opened my credit card app. As I nestled into the transactions, I saw something that made me tilt my head and wonder.
A .65 charge for a transaction labeled “nonfico”.
I clicked on the transaction, wondering if it would tell me more.
Since it was the start of my lunch break, I felt confident I could call the credit card company and ask if they saw more about this mystery charge than I did.
I called, got up, and started walking around. When I call customer service, I walk around. It helps release anxious, introverted energy while waiting for a human to respond.
As I walked and thought, I peeled through possibilities:
Could it be a subscription charge? No, I don’t have any subscriptions outside of utility bills.
Was it something weird I signed up for? Probably not, I don’t pay for apps let alone something “nonfico”. Besides, I get free access to my FICO score because of my credit card.
Did I pay for something that was .65? The only thing that came close to that cost is a stamp. I have a drawer full of Costco stamps to last me until the next millennia. Not a stamp.
My wait was short. There’s a trick to getting through to a human when calling the help line: call during lunchtime.
I expressed my concern over the .65 charge and asked if they had any more information as if they could pull back the curtain on this mystery charge in a distinguished Oz-like fashion.
They were no Oz, but they did think it was fraud.
What is credit card fraud?
Per the Microsoft Edge emperor, Bing AI, credit card fraud is, “when someone steals your credit card information and uses it to make unauthorized purchases.”
Someone had gotten ahold of my credit card, one of the lesser used in my tiny trio, and charged a small, insignificant amount.
I hadn’t noticed it when I glanced at my balance. Instead, it was when I was sifting through transactions, that I realized something was wrong.
The attendant asked a few more questions. We agreed to cancel the card and get a new one issued. The .65 was put under investigation and the details were wrapped in less time than it takes to figure out what to make for dinner.
As the phone call was coming to a close, the human at the other end had a treat for me: a compliment.
The rep mentioned that they see these sorts of things every day. She was impressed by my
obsessive observation. The fact that I caught .65 before the charge ballooned into $1000 was more attentive than average.
I prodded for more, of course, curious after the compliment, about this phenomenon. Scammers will charge a small amount to see if that’s successful. If it is, they’ll continue charging until caught.
It sickened me to hear how something so small can cause so much damage for so many. Similar to seatbelts, insurance, and filling up the gas tank before the yellow light of doom appears, there are preventive measures to stop criminals from going on a spending spree with my charge card.
I check my accounts more often than I shop for food.
Almost daily, I check my accounts. I have 3 accounts, from checking and savings to credit cards, and most of my finances fall under these 3 establishments. I have a 401(k) and Roth at different facilities, but those don’t get preyed upon like credit cards.
The frequent logins are because I’m curious and I aggressively track my spending down to the cent. Similar to checking a car for gas, I check my credit for anomalies.
Decluttering accounts to thrive more than survive.
It’s much easier to check 3 banking apps instead of 30. Having a few areas to check is what sustains success.
Similar to how I rarely lose items. I rarely lose things because, with minimal stuff, there aren’t many places to hide it’s like trying to play hide and seek in a closet.
From cards to clutter, decluttering wins.
I’m a serial shopless.
Unless I’m on vacation when I release the Kraken of spending, I don’t spend much. With intention, I shop less.
Similar to my love-love feelings for having limited banking accounts, that spills into shopping too.
My wants are small because I don’t shop often, only when I need something or that something breaks. Even then, I put it on the list and save for the item. I save and wait though it could take longer than Earth’s orbit around the Sun (a year).
Since I don’t spend much time online which results in little ad exposure.
I don’t visit a store unless I need something specifically on a list and rarely wander for funsies.
Because I’ve ratcheted down in shopping, it’s splashed into spending less.
When I have a charge, chances are it’s already entered into my budget, and I know down to the cent what that charge is.
Just ask my new friend the customer service rep at my credit card company.
A .65 annoyance was almost a $1000 problem. Almost.
Life has ups and downs.
Humans have ups and downs.
Sometimes, there’s little to be done about the down.
Other times, when a problem is caught and addressed when it’s small and questionable, it can be shifted from an annoyance to a resolution.
The trick is to take action with something small like a phone call.