When Laura Byron noticed an odd charge on her banking account she took all the right steps.
Recently Byron discovered a charge of $49.95 from IEPTCS.com on her banking statement, along with a 99 cent international fee.
The charge came from the card of her husband, Billy. He was working out of state at the time, so she contacted him to see if he’d made any purchases for that amount.
After Byron’s husband told her that was not the case, she immediately contacted her bank regarding the charge.
“They told me I was not the only one who had that appear on their account,” Byron said.
She took further steps in contacting the Farmington Police Department, the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and the couple’s identity theft protection company.
A staffer with the attorney general’s office said Byron took all the correct steps after discovering the fraudulent charge.
As of Friday, the office had not received any other complaints regarding the charges. Staffers with the consumer protection division of Koster’s office urged anyone with similar charges on their bank statements to file a complaint at http://ago.mo.gov/consumercomplaint.htm, or call 1-800-392-8222.
The staffer also urged those who find fraudulent charges on their account to check their credit report to ensure no other accounts have been opened using stolen information.
Consumers may receive one free credit report a year through www.freecreditreport.com.
Byron said she wanted to share her story to make others aware.
Keep a record of account numbers, their expiration dates and the phone number to report fraud for each company in a secure place.
Do not lend a card to anyone — even children or roommates.
Do not leave cards, receipts, or statements around a home or office. When no longer need them, shred them before throwing them away.
Don’t give account numbers to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company known to be reputable. If you’ve never done business with them before, do an online search first for reviews or complaints.
Carry cards separately from your wallet. It can minimize losses if someone steals a wallet or purse. And carry only the card needed for that outing.
During a transaction, keep an eye on your card. Make sure you get it back before you walk away.
Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
Save receipts to compare with the statement.
Open bills promptly — or check them online often — and reconcile them with the purchases made.
Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
Notify a card issuer of address changes or if traveling.
Do not write an account number on the outside of an envelope.