This weekend, as I was standing in my kitchen, fulfilling an overwhelming craving to make chocolate chip cookies using the recipe from Joanna Gaines’ indulgent cook book (a strong case for not keeping the ingredients for cookies in the house at all times), I quickly opened my phone and noticed I had received a new email. I opened my email app to discover that I had a debit card alert.
Now this isn’t abnormal, as I have it set up so that I receive an email alert within seconds of my card being used for transactions over $25. However, this alert was slightly abnormal as I hadn’t used my card all day. And for the very reason I set up this alert, I now suspected I was the victim of a fraud crime. Indeed, the email notified me that someone had spent $50 at a Kroger grocery store. As there are no Kroger grocery stores in the area, I immediately opened my mobile banking app and search for any other suspicious transactions. I clicked on the $50 Kroger transaction and noticed in the description, the transaction had occurred in Michigan.
That’s all the proof I needed to use the “Manage Cards” function in the app to immediately turn my debit card off in case the thief was attempting another immediate transaction.
Secondly, I pulled out my debit card (which was still in my purse and meant that someone had stolen my debit card information and created their own debit card) and called the “lost or stolen” hotline number on the back. I was so grateful that even at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, I was able to reach someone to report fraud on my account. Sierra, my friendly representative, assisted me by turning the card completely off and told me to visit the credit union at my earliest convenience to pick up my new card and complete the form for the fraud activity on my account.
Now I get to go through the process of re-setting up all my ongoing bills which automatically withdraw from my old debit card number. But that’s a small price to pay for all I might have lost had I not had debit alerts set up and a mobile banking app that lets me manage the security of my cards immediately. Oh, and the fact that I bank with a credit union that was able to respond so quickly with 24/7 card assistance.
All that to say, to you reader, is that debit alerts are free and can easily be set up by clicking HERE, the mobile banking app is free and can easily be downloaded HERE, and 1st Financial is concerned for your financial security.
Be like me. Make cookies on a whim to feed your cravings and then immediately regret it. Also, protect your account and monitor every transaction for possible fraud. Something you will never regret.
Live long and prosper,