Credit Card Calamity

“Is this your first time,” today’s fraud lady asked?

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 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 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.

They’re Selling The Weather Channel

Does The Weather Channel look like $3.5 billion to you? Me neither.

The Weather Channel and are about to be sold. Word is Landmark Communications, the current owner, will sell The Weather Channel to NBC for $3.5 billion.

Does The Weather Channel look like $3.5 billion to you? Me neither.

They’ve always been a moderate payer, taking and losing their talent mostly to the smaller end of medium size markets. Considering what they earn (based on what they asking), they could have aimed higher.

It’s actually a great idea for NBC and will almost certainly lead to ‘central casting’ of local weathercasts at some time. Good for NBC, but bad for guys like Geoff, because our market will be reduced as meteorologist begin servicing multiple outlets. In many ways, this is like bulls servicing cows.

You can prepare and broadcast a weathercast from anywhere, but something will be lost. There are a few times every season when my experience points me away from computer guidance. It’s not very often, but a guy in Idaho working with just guidance would miss it..

Foolish Moves I’ve Stopped Making

I am an impatient driver. I drive too fast. Right turn on red was made for me.

I also take advantage of a little known law: “left turn on red.”

Stop laughing. I’m not kidding. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

In most areas of the United States, it is also legal to make some left turns on red. In all cases, the road being turned onto must be one-way. Making a left-turn on red from a two-way street is legal in only five states: Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington. In Washington, freeway on-ramps are considered one-way streets for the purposes of the left turn on red law.

Pretty cool, huh? And, it makes sense. One way to one way left on red is no more perilous than right on red.

There’s one particular left on red I often make. It’s at the intersection of College Street and South Frontage Road (Rte 34) in New Haven. I’ve been doing it for years to the amazement of passengers, including my own skeptical family. It only saves a few seconds, but who cares? That’s not the point.

I happened to stumble upon an article about left on red tonight. It was serendipity… and being the ‘left on red’ man, I read along.

Left turns on red are prohibited in the states of South Dakota (unless permitted by local ordinance), Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and in the District of Columbia and Guam.


I am so embarrassed! And, I am so relieved to learn about this by reading, as opposed to learning about it from a cop!