One Charlottetown woman is encouraging people to report credit card fraud to police after her information was stolen three times in the past month and a half.

Jesse Hitchcock is on credit card number four since mid-June.

"You feel a little weird especially because, in this case, the bank told me that it was being used with a physical card, not just an online purchase but someone's actually walking around swiping a credit card with my bank number on it."   

Hitchcock's credit cards have been cancelled on three separate occasions in the past month and a half.

"Two of the occasions, they phoned me and says they had reason to believe that it might be compromised and they cancelled it sort of preemptively and on one occasion it was actually used in Austin, Texas for $1,000, $1,500," she says.

Hitchcock says she knows of 15 people who have had their credit cards cancelled for similar reasons this summer.

"Several people in my lab group at UPEI. It happened to us all in the months of June and July. ... I've had several friends in the downtown area that have all had it compromised, as well, in the last month and then my co-supervisor, as well, visiting from Ontario had his compromised and he was only here for one day," she says.

Hitchcock reported her issues to the authorities.

That's the right move, say police.

The Bankers Association’s tips to protect yourself:

  • Don't share your pin with anyone and protect it in public.
  • Choose a pin that's hard to guess and change it often.
  • Keep an eye on your statements for transactions you don't recognize.
  • Never give out your number unless you're dealing with a reputable company.

"There's no such thing as too much information in our business. We like to track these types of calls. See if there's a pattern in certain areas if a car has maybe been broken into, for instance. If cards are being stolen or items being stolen in general," says Richard Collins, deputy chief of the Charlottetown police

"A lot of credit card companies will want you to report it to police. So it's kind of like having anything stolen. If you're going to report it to your insurance company, you should report it to police also first because they will ask that you do that."

The Canadian Bankers Association keeps track of fraud with American Express, Visa, and Mastercard credit cards.

Companies reimbursed $465 million to victims last year.

The association says cards with chips and pins are your safest bet.

Hitchcock says she talked to her bank and decided not to use her card at merchants that don't have chip and pin technology.

"What they told me was that, typically, when this happens, it happens in locations that don't use chip and pin so if the terminal isn't chip enabled and they're asking you to swipe your credit card and sign, those are the times when it can be most at risk."    

Visa and Mastercard say they continuously monitor for fraud.

They say consumers don't have to pay for unauthorized purchases if they are reported.

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