How To Handle Credit Card Fraud

I was shocked when a text message stated that credit card fraud had happened on our President’s Choice World Elite MasterCard of $1137.55.

Credit card security and identity theft is something I take seriously, but even the best of us can get scammed.

How was my credit card information stolen and used at the Canadian Tire website?

Below you will see the text and email I received from PC MasterCard and why I knew it was not a scam.

Credit card fraud online shopping happens every day, and you might be the next victim.

credit card fraud detection
All About Credit Card Fraud In Canada

Unauthorized Attempt Using My PC MasterCard

Our PC World Elite MasterCard has a higher spending limit, so we rarely use it online.

You can imagine the emotions running through my head when I received a text message about potential fraud.

Like all Canadians, I get text messages that are scams, but something particular about this text stopped me dead in my tracks.

I was going out the door to work when I looked at my phone and opened the message.

Before I hit delete, I noticed that the text message listed the last four digits of my credit card number. (I’ve blacked out the number in the text photo below).

A second hint that the credit card fraud might be real was the email address was from a legitimate PC email account.

Oh shit, I thought something was wrong.

Instead of responding to the text message, I Googled PC MasterCard and called their fraud department.

At this point, I hadn’t looked in my email to see that they had also sent me a credit card fraud alert message.

I signed up to get text messages and emails from my credit card, which I’m glad about.

PC MasterCard Fraud Alert
How Presidents Choice MasterCard Alerted Me To Credit Card Fraud.

Phone Interrogation By The PC Fraud Department

Mrs. CBB and I have a PC MasterCard on the same account but with different card numbers.

I explained to the gentleman who answered the phone that I had received a text message saying that a scammer had unlawfully used my account.

The fraud department asked me what the last purchase made on the credit card was, which I could do.

Although I went through the online process to sign in, they needed to ask me further identification and security questions.

At first, I thought that maybe it was Mrs. CBB who used the card, but the guy told me it was my card and not hers.

That eliminated her from the equation for two reasons;

  • She has her PC MasterCard
  • We never charge large purchases without talking to each other.

I guess I didn’t want to believe it, so I tried to convince myself that it had to have been her.

Somehow, someone got my credit card number and tried to spend $1137.55 online at Canadian Tire.

How Did PC MasterCard Detect The Credit Card Fraud?

I assume they would have it delivered to another address or pick it up at the door.

I don’t know.

The first alert to PC MasterCard was that the purchase was over $1000, which is the max limit unless authorized by me.

Also, some observations didn’t jive with my spending habits which flagged my account.

  • A large purchase over the limit after small purchases
  • Online purchase that is out of the ordinary $1137.55

As a cardholder, I would have known that my daily spending limit was $1000.

I’ve also called to authorize in-store large purchases before the transaction was created, which was not done in this situation.

But how did someone get my credit card information?

After much investigation, all I could think of was someone with a damn good memory.

Technically, anyone you give your credit card information to with the three-digit code at the back and your name can use the number.

For example, I used my PC MasterCard to pay a physiotherapy bill by phoning the business.

The lady on the phone knew my full name, credit card number, type of card, and the three digits on the back.

Boom, we are supposed to trust this person with our credit card information.

Do I find it strange that she suddenly no longer works there?

A tad, but no one was charged, and I doubt I’ll ever find out. By the sounds, her departure wasn’t a nice one either. Innocent until proven guilty, though.

Whichever way this person obtained my credit card number, they placed an online order and used the credit card, which was ultimately declined.

I do not use my PC MasterCard online for purchases and use PayPal whenever possible.

What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is when someone obtains your credit card number, personal information, or PIN number and illegally uses it to make a purchase(s).

Credit card fraud can also happen when someone steals your identity and makes unauthorized purchases.

Most often, credit card fraud happens in any of the following situations below.

  • Payments over the telephone
  • Paying by credit card online
  • Using your credit card at an Automated Teller
  • Shopping and paying using a credit card by swiping, inserting, or tapping.

Credit Card Fraud Detection

report fraudulent credit card charges

If you’ve received an email from the email address , yes, this is a legitimate email sent from PC Financial.

Periodically, PC Financial will need to email you important notices about your account or card. Please ensure that your email address on file is always up to date. 

PC Financial MasterCard

Steps To Take If You Fall Victim To Credit Card Fraud

If you notice that your credit card is lost, or stolen or that you’ve been victimized by fraud, there are steps you must take.

  • Change your password right away.
  • Call the fraud department for your credit card company to stop the credit card.
  • Report credit card fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501
  • Alert the companies where the credit card was used fraudulently.
  • Order a copy of your credit report/score

Report your credit card as lost or stolen or that you’ve noticed unauthorized use through your online bank account or by telephone.

Each credit card company is different, so it’s essential to know how to contact fraud support when you need assistance.

PC MasterCard immediately stopped my credit card and sent me a new card in the mail and a printable card that I could continue using.

Examples Of Credit Card Fraud + Red Flags

Canada Post Scam Email
Online Credit Card Fraud Scam Email Canada Post
  • Credit card fraud for online shopping
  • Inability to provide personal information via the telephone ( I had to do this)
  • Using a stolen credit card number for a cash advance.
  • Distracting the cashier or trying to rush the purchase
  • Flips a credit card over to review the signature before signing a receipt.
  • Making large purchases over the phone or online.
  • Shopping brick and mortar and using a stolen credit card to make a purchase
  • Same IP address using various credit cards for online purchases
  • Purchases made overseas outside of the parameters of standard charges
  • Using deal online services to make purchases to avoid talking to customer support
  • Hacking into computers to obtain credit card information
  • Small devices attached to credit card payment terminals that copy card information
  • Large declined purchases followed by smaller purchases (this could have happened to my card but did not.)
  • Using fake email addresses
  • International rush shipments

Typically businesses that offer jewelry, clothing, shoes, and technology-based products are hit the most by fraudsters using stolen credit cards.

Paying For Unauthorized Credit Card Fraud

You often won’t have to pay for unauthorized charges on your credit card, although every bank and credit card is different.

Important things to remember:

  • Report any unauthorized charges immediately, as there may be a timeframe.
  • Do not distribute your PIN number to anyone.
  • Never write your PIN number and store it close to your credit or debit cards.
  • If any charges were made at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or a point of sale, you likely wouldn’t have to repay as you are protected.
  • Typically you have 30 days to dispute a bank statement with errors, technical problems, or unauthorized charges.
  • By law, credit card companies cannot lawfully charge you more than $50.00 if someone uses your credit card without permission, and they must set out these liability laws in the credit card agreement.
  • Be prepared that there will be a full investigation into the allegations, which will take time.

It’s very important to read your credit card details, and if you’re unsure, it pays to ask.

Learn more here: Unauthorized credit and debit transactions

Credit Card Fraud Alerts

Almost all credit card companies will alert a cardholder if their card is flagged for fraud.

If you own a mobile phone, ensure that you allow your bank and credit card companies to text fraud alerts.

Credit Card Fraud Prevention Tips

  • Never give out your credit card number unless you trust the source.
  • Avoid emailing your banking or credit card information at all costs.
  • Always sign the back of your credit card.
  • Pay in person with a card machine.
  • Don’t store all credit cards in your wallet or purse.
  • Keep your credit cards secure and out of sight.
  • Use an RFID blocking Wallet for your credit cards: Men’s Wallet, Women’s Wallet.
  • Use a secure password app such as Keeper Security or Dashlane Password Manager.
  • Protect your PIN when entering into a keypad.
  • Never store credit card information on your computer or phone. Secure sites to consider are Google Pay Canada and Apple Pay.
  • Keep a list of credit card information in your fireproof safe just in case your wallet or purse is stolen. Doing so makes contacting your credit card companies easier since you have the information handy.
  • Shred any credit card statements before you throw them into recycling.
  • Slice your old credit cards into many pieces before putting them in the trash.
  • Refrain from clicking on texts or emails (phishing) if it has anything to do with money, payments, potential scams, etc. Always call the source, and never let the source contact you. Never use a number or contact given in a source text or email. Use the phone book or Google it.
  • Clear your computer cache daily. I use CCleaner Pro on all of our computers.
  • Only use trusted and secure websites when online shopping.
  • Always use anti-spyware and a firewall on your computer that is up to date.
  • Be cautious when using public wifi or open-air wi-fi.

Reputable Mobile Pay Sources

Related: Keeper Password Review

Apple Pay is the easy way to pay in stores, online and in apps. It’s safe, secure, private — and simple to set up and use. It’s money, made modern.

Apple Pay

Google Pay works with hundreds of banks and payment providers.
All cards are supported, and some can be used in more places.

With security built in to protect you before, during and after every payment, using Google Pay is safer than swiping your card or paying with cash.

Google Pay Canada

Related: Why Financial Security Should Be A Priority For Canadians

Order Your Credit Card Report

An annual credit report is a record of your credit activities in Canada.

If someone does a credit report check and your credit score is not up to snuff, you may not get that loan or credit card you were hoping to get.

Credit cards can serve a rewarding purpose if used correctly, but too much credit will also affect your credit score.

Although the credit report is free to get your score, you will have to pay a reasonable fee.

So, you must pay if you need to know your exact credit score number. It saves you all the hassles if you take care of it today and every year after.

If you notice any credit card fraud, alert the credit bureau and the card used to make the purchase.

Credit Card Fraud Recap

We will not pay any bills over the telephone by speaking to a human being in the future.

Doing so eliminates the possibility or the urge for someone to take our information and use it fraudulently.

As for protecting our financial information in the digital world, we will continue to do everything stated above.

Thankfully, PC MasterCard has just as much vested interest in tracking fraudulent activity on our credit cards as we do.

Discussion: Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud?

Tell me your story in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by,


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