I got one! But by the time I received the email notice from Chase’s Fraud Department, I had already discovered that something was amiss when I visited an ATM machine to withdraw some Christmas cash and was told that I was over my limit for the day. There was only one problem. I hadn’t used my card yet that day! So, I toodled around to the lobby and inquired. That was when I got the “good news”. Chase’s Fraud Department had been informed by Target about the breach. Chase then immediately went into “protect our account holder mode” and enacted limits on transactions until they could get all of the issues sorted out. Now fortunately my bank account was safe and Chase is sending me a new debit card to be extra safe. And I am grateful for that.
I worked for a short time in banking earlier in my career. And although I am not an expert by any means, I know this. Banks must stay abreast of all the latest potential hacks, attacks and attempts to compromise our bank accounts. They do not put a system in place and then walk away and leave it on eternal auto-pilot. They monitor the situation daily, hourly, and moment by moment and transaction by transaction. And when a transaction is slightly different from our normal pattern, a little “red flag” goes up and the bank checks it out.
This became apparent to me anew and afresh recently on a business trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. United and Lufthansa didn’t feel that it was as vital for my luggage to go to the same place that I did. So, I got purchase a change of clothes and some basic essentials to use until my luggage joined me at my hotel. I walked across the street to a shopping mall and picked out a pair of pants and a couple of shirts and handed over my corporate AmEx. The young lady helping me, in pleasant but very broken English, told me that they did not accept AmEx. So, I whipped out my personal debit card from the credit union and she tried it. It was declined. She tried it again. It was declined. So, I whipped out my personal debit card from our main bank account. As I noted above, it is Chase. They are big enough to be recognized worldwide. This time the transaction was approved and walked out with new clean clothes.
As soon as I landed back in Houston my cell phone began to go off like I was the most popular kid in school. I was getting fraud alerts from multiple banks. apparently buying clothes in foreign countries does not fit my normal buying pattern.
So what is the point on this Fatherhood Friday?
I have been thinking and wondering about these incidents in my recent experience. I wondered some about my financial safety. But that concern quickly passed. Then my mind began to wander as it wondered. It wandered down the path of wishing for some system in our family that is similar to the Fraud Alert System that my bank utilizes. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some system that watched over the activity of my family and alerted everyone of potential danger?
Then it hit me. That “system” is Me! I am supposed to be watching out for my family every day. I am supposed to be diligent every day and have my “account holders” best interest as my top priority.
Fathers, we are to be that watchdog over the safety and well-being of our family. It is our job to look for patterns that are out of the norm. It is our job to analyze and spot trends that may indicate trouble. And remember, money can be replaced. But the loss of a family member to harmful habits and practices is irreplaceable. And we need to be alert to any of the potential dangers that lurk and lie in wait for them to stumble.
Be on guard. Be diligent.