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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

In the past week or so, I've had conversations with two people who discovered that their credit or debit card had been cancelled because it had been "compromised." The first person was alarmed, the second was angry. And neither really understood what was going on. Thus, the topic for today's post.

What's going on? This is the most likely story: You made a purchase somewhere and as a result, your card number was stored on a computer. Maybe a hacker got into the computer. Maybe those files were transferred to a laptop that was lost or stolen. Your card number, along with thousands of others, is now potentially in the hands of a criminal who will either use the number himself or sell it to other criminals. So the bank that issued the card takes action. They cancel your credit card or debit card and replace it with a new one that has a different number. In many cases, the first indication you have that anything has happened is when you get a new card in the mail with a note that your old card will no longer work.

Maybe your card number would never have been used fraudulently. But if it were, you could suffer a lot of inconvenience, and the bank would suffer financial losses. By cancelling your card, the bank is ensuring that fraudulent charges cannot be made.

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