Thursday, May 1, 2008

Credit theft without taking the card

I had something very interesting happen to me today.  After work I went with my girl to the mall to pick out clothes for a photo shoot.  The first place we hit was Bebe, where she found a couple of cute things.  When she went to pay using her Mastercard, the transaction was "referred to the merchant".  That's odd?  So I tried mine, since our cards are tied to the same account, to make sure it wasn't the card itself.  Mine was also "referred".  Strange indeed.  I switched cards, purchased the goods and was on my way.

After dinner I thought about giving the CC company a call to see what was up.  I was surprised by what I heard.  Seems my card had been placed on surveillance due to some abnormal charges.  We went through my most recent transactions checking one by one.  Four popped up that were completely wrong (totaling over $3,000) and coming from a Kmart in Las Vegas.   The kicker is that I had the card in my possession.  Someone had gotten a hold of my number, created a "ghost card" then tried to buy stuff.

You always hear those kinds of stories, but it was one hell of a shock to have it happen to me.  I called the Kmart to let them know what had happened.  Tomorrow I'll follow up with their loss prevention people and attempt to track down the culprits.  Armed with the exact transaction amounts and times gives them an edge in matching the tapes.  From there they will take it to the police and the rest is history.

Thankfully I'm not directly damaged by their nefarious deeds.  In this case, the credit card company did me right.  No matter how careful you are these days someone will find a way to steal your shit.

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