Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Want My $2


This is one of my all time favorite lines from a movie, "I want my two dollars!"  And this paper boy chases him everywhere, even down the ski slope to get it.  While this vignette makes me lmao, what I've recently gone through is no laughing matter.  I have been (again) the victim (I hate that word!) of fraud.  

Over the summer my bank discovered that my debit card had been compromised.  They noticed that there were some hefty charges to my account in Mexico.  My bank got in touch with me wondering if I had made those charges.  I had not.  So they immediately cancelled my card and reissued me a new one.  I had to go in and fill out a bit of paperwork stating that I didn't make the charges and to shred m card.  Within a week I had a new card issued.  Foolishly, I thought that would be the only and last time something like that would happen to me.

As I soon discovered a few months later, that was not true.  The other day I came home to find a package on the step.  Every once in a while this is a nice surprise from Responsive Classroom, but this time I was expecting a bevy of packages from my recent Amazon orders.  Boy was I confused when I opened the box to see a seal to a Ford vehicle!  At first I thought that something had happened with my Amazon order; I received the wrong thing in the mail.  I put it aside on the table and didn't give it a thought for that night.

That was until the next day.  I got home, opened the door and guess what's waiting for me?  Another package.  I opened it and discovered the picture book The Eleventh Hour.  Now I was worried.  I went to my Amazon account.  Nope. I ordered the correct items and the correct items were shipped and billed to me.  I then checked my PayPal account, credit card accounts, and finally my checking account.  Sure enough, there were charges on my checking account.  

A bit more digging and I discovered that I have been charged for five items that I did not purchase myself.  A few phone calls later to the companies listed on my account and their accompanying phone numbers and I discover that I am the victim of credit card fraud.  A few key things to know when you are the victim of credit card fraud.
  • Some companies will cancel the order that was placed.  They will even reverse the charges and allow you to return any items you have received. 
  • Everyone I spoke to was incredibly empathetic.
  • Some companies won't take back the items or reimburse you.  I found this especially true for Blockbuster.
  • Immediately contact your bank.  I did this and although the bank was closed, I was provided with a number to call if my card had been lost or stolen.
  • Immediately cancel or block your card.  Don't wait until your bank opens the next day. If you have a number available, do it immediately.
  • Go to your bank immediately after cancelling or blocking your card.  I had paperwork to fill out stating which charges I was disputing and what I had done to rectify it so far. 
  • I didn't know this when I was calling these companies, but if you receive items at your house then you are required to do everything you can to get the charges resolved on your own.
  • There isn't anything the police can do unless they catch them in the act; even if you get the perpetrator's phone number and email address.  Although I was able to get this information from the companies, the police couldn't don anything.
This is important and absolutely creeped me out.  My husband and I could not figure out for the life of us why we were getting packages delivered to our house.  We thought this defeated the purpose of stealing someone's credit card info.  What the bank had told me was this: I may not know the person who took my card information, but  they certainly know me.  They are most likely familiar with my routines and watching my home.  Why would they be watching my home?  To determine if I'm around when items are delivered to the house.  So whoever stole my card info was tracking the purchases to determine when they'd be arriving.  This of course led to nights filled with nightmares.  

I'm still trying to figure out where my info was compromised.  I'm struggling.  But I know this, I will be much more careful when using my cards on and offline.