Last Thursday evening Helaine picked up the phone. It was the credit card company. You know it’s problematic when they call you and the person on the other end is in the states and speaks well. Someone from area code 267 (Philadelphia’s 215 wannabe overlay) had spent some time on the phone querying their system for our account balance and limit info.
“We have to close your account,” the disembodied voice said.
I assume we’re the mother lode for a scammer. We have impeccable credit (thank you Helaine) and a card limit large enough to charge Stef’s tuition. But I only carry one credit card in my wallet. How quaint. How last century. Cut that single card and I’m screwed.
The fraud agent at the credit card company began to read charges to Helaine. They were fine. It didn’t make any difference. The bank was familiar with the number the call came from. There was crime waiting to happen!
Later I spoke to someone else at the card company. Again, she read charges and everything was fine. The weekend was coming, I pleaded. Don’t cut off the card now–and she didn’t!
As requested, I called today to get the new card wheels in motion. Once again the woman on the other end read charges, but this time there were purchases I didn’t recognize. One, from a Dr. Kim in Idaho, was for a few dollars. Someone was probing,–making sure the card was OK. The biggest of the three questionable charges was from Amazon.com for over $150.
Changing credit card numbers isn’t simple. There are accounts that automatically draw from our card on a monthly basis. Have we remembered them all? The bank says incoming payments or credits and our Southwest mileage will make the transition without problem. I suppose they have experience.
Both Helaine and I have our credit card number memorized–the 16-digits, the 3-numbers on the back and the expiration date. We will have to be retrained.
Next month I’ll request my free credit report (NO–not from freecreditreport.com) and make sure things are OK;.
“Is this your first time,” today’s fraud lady asked?
American cities got fire departments because insurance companies demanded them. We’ll get rid of credit card fraud the same way–as soon as the credit card companies are ready to put their collective feet down and demand them.