Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mint prevents fraud

I use Mint as my financial account aggregator and got an e-mail from them regarding documented fraud from companies named "Adele" and "GFDL" -- these companies have been hitting customer accounts for relatively small amounts in the $0.10 to $0.25 range. Due to the fact that I give Mint access to aggregate my financial data, they specifically gave me an alert as they noticed that one of these companies had charged one of my accounts.

When I logged into Mint this morning, I searched for "Adele" and got no results, so I searched for "GFDL" and got a result of a $0.11 charge in November. Drilling into the detail, I saw that it had come through as a check card purchase, which means that my check card number had been compromised back in November. I immediately called my bank and they opened a fraud inquiry and canceled my check card with the promise of a new one in 10 days or less. Although it was a relatively small amount of money that was charged against my account, it is entirely possible that it was a test transaction to verify that they had my data correct and that they were potentially looking to steal more and larger funds in the future.

There are privacy advocates that warn against financial aggregator services such as Mint, but I've always been happy with the service and am now even more happy with the service after this experience -- my bank didn't catch it, my financial aggregator did. Furthermore, due to the nature of how Mint imports my data, I can easily search across all of my financial accounts as opposed to having to log into each account individually and attempt to search.

I highly recommend checking your own accounts for charges from these 2 companies (it's easy if you use Mint).

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