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One of the downsides of having 43 credit cards is that you have a lot more credit cards that are subject to fraudulent use.  I’m actually not super concerned about fraudulent activity on my cards – in my experience, banks and credit card companies are pretty good at identifying and stopping fraud.  In fact, I get fraud-blocked for ACTUAL purchases way more than I get alerted for transactions that are NOT fraud.  I think the best thing you can do to prevent fraudulent transaction is to simply monitor the transactions on your card(s).  Recently I was exposed to a new fraud tactic – about 4pm last Wednesday I started seeing HUNDREDS of mail subscription emails and confirmations.

Why am I getting tons of mail subscription emails?

I was very confused as to how I was getting all these subscription confirmations and emails.  I mean this was not a one-off occurrence!  I was getting at least tens of these mail subscription confirmations every minute

This is a minute fraction of the spam confirmation emails that I was seeing come in.

A bit of searching around indicated that sending millions of spam confirmation mails is a new technique that people use when they’ve hacked your credit card information.  The idea is that by sending you hundreds of spam confirmations, you’ll miss the emails that are alerting you of unauthorized purchases or withdrawals.

What to do if you get hundreds of spam confirmations?

The first thing that you should do is (from a secure place) log in and check all of your bank and credit card companies.  Check eBay, PayPal, Amazon and anywhere else that might have your information stored.

I also forwarded some of the spam emails to the Mailchimp abuse center (the bulk mail sender).  They got back to me and said that they stopped my email address from getting more mail from them, but that it “appears a spambot may be entering your address into legitimate sign up forms around the web”.

In my case, I was actually traveling and out of town so it took me awhile to figure out where the transactions were coming from.  Someone had gotten a hold of my Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa card.  I had signed up for that card a few months ago when the bonus was up to 45,000 Wyndham Rewards points (enough for 3 nights at ANY Wyndham hotel)

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I checked Mint, which is one tool I use to track my transactions, but no fraudulent transactions showed up.  I later realized that was because these fraudulent transactions had not been fully authorized and were still temporary charges.  A quick call to Barclaycard fixed things up – they removed the charges and overnighted me a new card

Have you been getting thousands of spam confirmation subscription emails?  Was your bank or credit card information hacked?

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