As soon as we had dealt with the bank people yesterday regarding the fraudulent charge on our business credit card, I used www.annualcreditreport.com to get credit reports for both of us. I had never used that website before, and I really liked it. In the past, I’ve always called the credit reporting agencies directly and ordered our reports over the phone. They would mail them out and I’d get them in a few days. But I didn’t want to wait a few days; I had heard that the website was easy to use, and it was. I pulled Equifax for both of us, as it was the only one I hadn’t requested within the last 12 months. The reports were instantly there for me to look at, and I used cute pdf writer to save them to my computer – no wasted paper.
Happily, our reports were just as good as ever. Nothing out of the ordinary, no black marks, no accounts that we didn’t recognize. I wasn’t expecting anything bad, since the credit card fraud was on our corporate credit card and the thief used our business information to make the charge. And credit that is set up through a corporation can’t be reported on personal credit histories. But still, it was creepy to think that someone was using our info – business or personal – and I just wanted to be sure that it stopped there.
The bank has already issued a new card to my husband, and we should be getting it next week. I’m going to call them on Monday and see if it’s possible to put a block on both our business and personal cards against ACH balance transfers. We would never have our credit card companies put money into our bank account and put the charge on our credit card (that seems like about the worst way possible to get a loan, considering the interest rate that credit cards charge). So I’m wondering if it’s possible to have them make a note of that on our file, and if anyone ever tried to do this again, it would block the transaction. I have no idea if such a thing is possible, but it can’t hurt to ask. I know that we’d still be open to the potential for someone making a fraudulent purchase, but at least they wouldn’t be able to just charge a chunk of money to the card and have it put into their bank accounts.
Several years ago, I filled out forms that got our names taken off the lists that credit card companies use to generate new offers, but it expired earlier this year, and we started getting tons of offers again. So a couple weeks ago, we went in and did it again – this time it should last for five years. I figure that’s another easy way to avoid identity theft, by making sure that there aren’t tons of pre-approved credit card offers in our names floating around the postal system. UPDATE: we used this website to remove our names from credit card mailing lists: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t
I very much enjoy the convenience we get from working at home, and having a business that is almost exclusively operated online. But with that convenience, there are some risks. As long as we remain vigilant, open our mail when it arrives, check our credit reports every few months, shred our paper before we recycle it, keep the number of accounts we have to a minimum, and pay attention to the transactions on them, we should be able to nip problems in the bud.