Ryan Scott, of Meridian, said he’s never been to illicit or illegal websites, but when the FBI froze his computer, and asked that he pay $300 in fines, he was shocked.
“I’m not certain, what I’ve done?” he asks. “But, why would I have to use only my ‘debit card’ to pay this fine.”
Scott stumbled into the Reveton virus that has been around about a year. It freezes up your computer access until you pay a fee to the malware developers. FBI warns, don’t fall for the scam. Scott clicked through the link as was asked to using only a debit card.
“When I read that, I knew there was something wrong,” he says. And, he called Better Business Bureau.
Debit cards and credit cards are accepted at the same places. Debit cards generally carry a major credit card symbol, and can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted. They both offer convenience. The fundamental difference between a debit card and a credit card account is where the cards pull the money. A debit card takes it from your banking account and a credit card charges it to your line of credit.
Debit cards act like a credit card but work in a different way. Debit cards draw money directly from your checking account when you make the purchase. They do this by placing a hold on the amount of the purchase. Then the merchant sends in the transaction to the bank and it is transferred to the merchants account. It can take a few days for this to happen, and the hold may drop off before the transaction goes through. For this reason it is important to keep a running balance of your checking account to make sure you do not accidentally overdraw your account. It is possible to do that with a debit card.
A credit card is a card that allows you to borrow money in small amounts at local merchants. You use the card to make your basic transactions. The credit card company then charges you interest on your purchases, though there is generally a 30-day grace period before interest is charged if you do not carry your balance over from month to month.
If you find any unauthorized transactions
Let your financial institution know. Notify your financial institution’s branch or telephone banking call center immediately and make sure you are able to tell the bank the amount and date of the fraudulent transaction. The bank may be able to explain the transaction and, if it is fraudulent, will be able to tell you what to do next. Keep all the documents that give evidence of the fraud. Record the name of the person you spoke to at the bank, as well as the date and time you called.
Report the loss to credit-reporting agencies. TransUnion, Equifax and Experian are the key credit bureaus who can flag, or place an alert on an account for fraudulent activity, which then requires that they contact the card holder before any new lines of credit are opened. Consumers can also ask to have an account frozen, which means their credit history can’t be reviewed by lenders and prevents new lines of credit from being opened. But, keep in mind, it may take several days to unfreeze accounts.
Report it to police. Contact your local police’s non-emergency number and record the police report number. You should also keep a log of transactions to help you figure out where the fraud could have occurred.