Ever pull up to a gas pump and whip out the plastic to pay at the pump?  Convenience is a must in this day and age.  Why go inside and have to wait for the clerk when you can pay at the pump?   That was my mindset until I got a call from my Bank's Fraud Department.  After that call my way of thinking concerning business transactions involving "my" credit card is changed forever.  Let me get you to where I am at today.

Last month, my wife and I attended a US Navy reunion in Florida.  A great time to relax in early January and visit and get reacquainted with people I served with and have not seen in forever.  Also a chance to visit with family and friends that are in the North Florida area.

After a wonderful long weekend, time came to head home.  One last stop at a gas station to fill up the rental care before we returned it.  Not thinking anything out of the norm, I pulled up, started my transaction , got my gas and then we were off to catch our flight.

A few days later I checked our account as I do on a regular basis to reconcile our trip and see were the account stood.  Everything seemed in order.  That is until the Monday after the Super Bowl.  The call from the Fraud Department was bone chilling.

I pulled up my account and was looking at it as they ran down the list of charges that had piled up in as little as 72 hours.  I know my eyes were as big as they could be.  And thankfully, my bank was fantastic on getting on it, and stopping it before too much more damage could be done.

Just a couple of examples of "things" I bought or attempted to buy in 72 hours -  a Camcorder in Chicago, a couple of PAYPAL accounts set up to do business in Orange County , California, tickets for a week to Disney World, and several objectionable activities in Belgium and Croatia.

Considering that most of these activities occurred within minutes of each other,  it is a wonder I even know where I am.

Card  Skimming.  An ongoing issue.  According to CreditCards.com, the problem is world wide.  However, her in the United States,  there are three main areas.  Florida, California and Houston .

So here is Clay's advice to the traveler or to any one who wants to use their plastic.  Go ahead.  Pay inside when you get gas.  It may take a few extra minutes.  Check your receipts when you eat out.  Check your bank account online frequently.  If you do not check online, reconcile as soon as it comes in the mail.  If you see anything out of the norm, call your bank immediately.

Again, I am glad my bank's Fraud Department was on it so fast.  Be safe with your credit card.  I will be having to deal with this for days and weeks to come to clear my name of all of this mess that started with a simple swipe of the card.