Friday, March 13, 2020

Fraudulent Transactions

Photo by Code Mnml on Unsplash

Last week, as I was busy watching Crash Landing On You on Netflix. I received two text messages from BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands). Reading these messages gave me a heart attack. In the first text, I was charged by Facebook Ad Vietnam with an amount of VND 393,000. That's roughly Php 850. The second one was VND 20,000, or Php 50. Since these transactions were fraudulent, I immediately called the bank. It didn't take more than 3 minutes to reach them, thank God. I gave my card number and verified a few personal details to the customer representative.

It turns out that there were four instead of two fraudulent transactions, with a total amount of Php 17,000. My heart skipped a bit, in a very, very bad way. How come my card got compromised? I was extra careful every time I use it. Owning a credit card was so convenient that it allows me to pay my bills if I didn't have any cash on hand, and I can buy airline tickets. I am one hundred percent sure that I didn't give my details to everyone, including the suspicious emails from the banks. I do not know how to react. I was catatonic to the point that I thought it was just a bad dream. I mean, I had my credit cards since I started working, and this is my first time experiencing such inconveniences. The customer representative immediately blocked my card, and he sent me the dispute form. I submitted my dispute form two after I called my bank because it takes a day or two before the bank posts the statement of account.

A day after, I shared this predicament online just to let it out. Initially, I was looking for some sympathy online. I wasn't alone in this ordeal. As I was skimming through the comment section, my friends also experienced these fraudulent transactions–from phony Facebook ads, online shopping, accommodations amounting to USD 5,000, and other merchants. Some do not require an OTP (one-time-password), that's why some transactions pushed through. One friend even posted a link on the comment section about the data leak of credit cardholders in the southeast Asia region, with the Philippines having the highest number of compromised cards. The security breach allowed hackers to retrieve sensitive information and sell it on the dark web.

Yesterday, I got a message from my friend who was suffering the same ordeal. The bank had already reversed the fraudulent transactions. I immediately checked mine, and thank God the bank did the same thing. I am thankful for my bank's quick response. I also got the replacement card. I do hope this will be the last time I'll experience this. It's such a hassle to update my billing statements.

Anyway, just be sure not to give your card details to someone. The bank will never ask for your security code and OTP, be in a form of email, call, or text message. It pays to be vigilant these days.

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