I’ve been hacked. A lot of you have been hacked. Getting hacked used to be a rare event. Not any more. It’s downright common these days. Those hackers never give up and they are always looking for victims.
Luckily, I have watchdogs. My bank is alerts me to anything that doesn’t look right, no matter how small an amount is involved — and so does Discover. Last week Discover warned me they had found my social security number on the dark web, so I’ve been doubly alert since. They notify me every time I use the card. Today I used it for a purchase on Amazon and to pay for one of the two birth certificates I ordered. I got notified of both those charges. I knew about them, so it was fine.
Then, I got a notice of a charge of $1 on Amazon.
Hackers often make a very small purchases using a credit card to see if it works. Later, they will make a much bigger purchase or many big purchases. The little charge, usually for a dollar or two, is just a test run. As soon as I saw it, I grabbed the phone and called Discover. When you’ve been hacked once, you don’t want a repeat. Once was more than enough. Even when it doesn’t cost you money, it’s a major inconvenience and it makes you feel vulnerable in a million subtle ways that are hard to explain.
Your “space” has been invaded. “They” are out to get you.
After I got the first notice from Discover about the dark web, I changed passwords on a couple of accounts on which I hadn’t changed passwords in a long time. Just to be safer. Today, when I called Discover, they promptly closed the account. They won’t pay any new charges until I get new cards and set up a new account.
Is it over-reaction to a tiny charge? Maybe — but I don’t think so. There’s no reason for Amazon to run a $1 test on any of my cards. None of them are new and I’m an old customer. And rest assured, there is absolutely nothing on Amazon that costs $1. Someone ran that charge and said it was Amazon, but it wasn’t Amazon. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was something. Whatever it was, it was stopped in its tracks.
If you get alerts from your bank and various credit accounts, look at them and make sure the charge you see was yours. I used to be a lot more cavalier about this stuff — until I got hacked. Since then, I’m cautious. Maybe overly so, but being careful matters.
You can’t survive in this new world without making online purchases. That’s just the way we roll nowadays. You can still be careful. You can’t be too careful.
There is no such thing as “too careful.”