March 31, 2012

Room Cleaning; Dream Fling; Credit Card Fraud

Yesterday I had William work on his disastrous room for awhile. It's a room he shares with Henry, but the mess was pretty much ALL HIS. I set what I considered reasonable goals: "I need to be able to walk to your bureau to put away your laundry, and I'd like to be able to walk to your closet to get out your next-size-up clothes." I was so pleased with the results: he made a large difference, bringing his room from "It looks like people stood in the doorway and threw trash into this room" to "This is a messy child's room."

Then I emptied his trash can. There were BOOKS in there. COINS. Clothespins and combs and hangers and SOCKS. It was not QUITE that he just picked up everything indiscriminately and put it into the trash, but it was CLOSE to that.


I had a dream the night before last that I had a romantic fling with a friend's husband. This dream is sticking with me in two ways: (1) I feel stressed, as if I DID have a fling or had at least thought about one; (2) he seems cuter to me now.


A month ago there was a fraudulent charge on our credit card, and the credit card company closed our account. It was a big mess: we had things set up to auto-pay, and we had things where we'd authorized a charge but the payment hadn't been charged yet, and we had returns in the mail, and we had things we hadn't even remembered were set up to automatically renew/charge, and so forth. We still don't have it straightened out, since some of our auto-pay things (1) wouldn't let us change the card but then (2) automatically took off the auto-pay when it hit a non-useable credit card number and (3) didn't say so, so we got these "PAST DUE PLEASE PAY NOW OR ACTION WILL BE TAKEN" notices. Because when a card doesn't work, it's obvious that a customer who has paid early every month for ten years has turned to a life of crime.


This morning the credit card company called AGAIN, to say there's been ANOTHER fraudulent charge and they were closing our account AGAIN. I started CRYING to the guy on the phone, because it's just so DISCOURAGING and so FRUSTRATING. I asked whether there was any OTHER option---do we really have to do this AGAIN? Sorry, no other option. I asked how we could prevent this, and he said by only using the card with companies we trust. ORLY. Thanks for the HOT TIP. I'll stop giving it to any old place that asks me for it, then! Well, but it wasn't that bad: he did say it in the context of "That's all I can say, because it's not a question even I, a credit card fraud specialist, can answer." He was sympathetic, but what I wanted was something more like "Here is the answer: don't use it for Company X anymore, because they have a bad employee who's stealing card numbers."


d e v a n said...

UGH! Another charge?! That is ridiculous. Is this a new card with a new number? How frustrating!!

Swistle said...

YES, a new card with a new number! And we won't have it until Monday---which is better than waiting a week, but STILL.

To their credit (see what I did there?), last time they did a good job transferring all our charges/points, keeping our "since 2002" stamp on the card, etc.

Judith said...

Oh lord, what a hassle. Why can't they just reverse the charge and be done with it? Closing accounts left, right and center must be frustrating for them, too. Although I guess once a number is stolen, it would be misused again and again.

Now that it happened a second time, is it possible for you to maybe pin down where the number was stolen? Like a company you've just recently begun buying from?

Maybe you could get two credit cards from them (or the second one from someplace else). One that is only for all the autopayments etc. that have been going on for years and are trustworthy. And the other for single charges in sometimes new context and for use both online and in real (as in brick-and-mortar) shops. So if something like that happens again, it will have no effect on all the things that are so incredibly annoying to deal with.

I'm really sorry that has happened to you :(

Deanne said...

Yes, I second the two credit card idea.

So sorry you are dealing with this.

Anonymous said...

I also hope you called company X to file a complaint. If it's one company doing this vs you're the victim of a data breach, filing a complaint with credit card company and company who did this should help. The card company may ask for an affadavit.

Wendi said...

I'm not sure if I shouldn't name names, but was it by chance a Chase credit card?

Within the past 3 months, we've had to close our business Chase card and one of our personal Chase cards due to fraudulent charges. A friend of mine had her Chase checking account hacked, and numerous others have had fraudulent charges on their Chase cards.

The only place I ever used the business card was the US postal service to pay for online postage. I really think they've been hacked at the payment processing level somehow, and aren't announcing it to everyone.

In other news, there was a huge breach recently at a payment processor called Global Payments. Fun times. :P

Slim said...

I feel your pain. I can go through old credit card statements and try to figure out what's on autopay, but it would help if issuers would put little stars and arrows and notations next to charges: "This is your cell phone" "Monthly satellite fee, and does that seem like a good value when you only watch a handful of channels?"

I am, however, feeling better about the room cleaning one of my kids performed that resulted in a bare floor but full dresser drawers.

Swistle said...

Wendi- YES, it's a Chase! AND, interestingly, I've ordered online from the U.S. Post Office. AND I changed my credit card number with them after the first fraud. AND I found their customer service astonishingly difficult to deal with. How INTERESTING.

lillowen said...

So frustrating. I can understand the tears. Last spring, when I was about 100 months pregnant and extraordinarily miserable, our bank called to let me know that my debit card "might have been compromised". (MIGHT HAVE. Either it has, or it hasn't. Geez.) Anyway, the customer service rep had to ask me some questions to verify my identity, a process that I completely understand the need for and am quite willing to participate in, only all of the questions were very specific questions I couldn't answer because my husband handles all of our banking. Things like specific account balances, the date a particular bill was paid and the exact amount the bill was for, on and on and on, with an increasingly frustrated/judgmental tone until I was so humiliated I was almost in tears. Eventually she got her manager on the phone, who asked me all of the exact same questions, plus more questions I couldn't answer.

The only way I was able to eventually prove I was who I claimed to be (which again, was an understandable process, but frustrating nonetheless since it wasn't my problem to begin with) was to tell them I spent about $5.20 at a particular Starbucks a few times a week. Apparently that was enough to satisfy them, which is both completely awesome and so exasperating I almost died (see above re: pregnancy hormones and misery). Then I had to haul my pregnant butt down to the bank within 30 minutes of the phone call to change my PIN number, and it really did have to be within 30 minutes or I would have had to go through the whole process again.

Hmmm. A year later and apparently I am not over it. I can only imagine the annoyance of dealing with the same problem within an even shorter period of time, as you have.

Suzanne said...

I was going to ask you if it was a Discover Card, since we had our number stolen two weeks ago and have been dealing with the resulting hassles since then
(the biggest of which was it was stolen while we were out of the country, so suddenly all our UNUSUAL FOREIGN CHARGES seemed suspect when really the fraudulent charge was at a Walmart).

But then when you said it was Chase I remembered my mother REFUSES to use her Chase card anymore because she's had her number stolen THREE TIMES, although she thinks it was at a gas station in Pennsylvania. I feel like a detective reading all your comments.

JoAnna said...

I have a Chase card and my debit card number was stolen, even though I'm super careful about who I buy from.

d e v a n said...

Hmm, sounds like something fishy with Chase cards!

CarrieGirl1179 said...

First, sorry about your credit card mess! I hate that!

Second, I love your honesty with "He seems cuter to me now", I seriously laughed out loud!

DomestiKook said...

I've had that dream. It was of a very racy nature a very tall friend, who I was trying to, er, climb. I had SUCH a hard time even looking this guy in the eye the next time I saw him. He is old enough to be my dad, friends with my husband, we're friends with his wife. AWKWARD didn't begin to cover it. I full on obsessed about it for weeks and ended up in a downward spiral of depression and panic attacks. It is HARD to break the cycle of guilt/surprise attraction/guilt/obsessing/guilt. Just remember, it is only important because you are making it so. Suckie advice, but true.

Heather said...

It's kinda outrageous that they wont tell you where it is. Maybe he could read you a list of charges and really emphatically read you one particular charge on your account?

I have twice had my credit cards cancelled. The first time was when we flew to New Zealand to get married. I had phoned the credit card company nefore we left and said we were going to be in NZ and that it was for our wedding and that there would be some big charges (catering etc...). They STILL decided those charges were fraud and cancelled our card while we were overseas. I was FURIOUS because I'd done everything right. They had our travel dates, what country we'd visit and forward knowledge that there would be big charges. Overseas paying for a wedding without our biggest credit card limit!

The second time the fraud squad phoned me and read me out charges and one was dodgy so they cancelled it. That was fine except that our credit card was due to expire in 3 months and we would have had another issued with 3 years on it...but they sent us a 6 MONTH credit card instead then we had to redo everything (secure number change for 6 months, then ANOTHER secure number with the next set of credit cards). After that I quickly came to the conclusion that no automatic payments should ever come out of that account lol.

Mouse said...

I'm sorry about your credit card woes, and so understand the tears. I used to only use a debit card b/c I felt like it gave me more spending discipline but after having my account compromised, and the drama of not even being able to get cash until it was resolved did me in. Now we use credit cards for everything but I know the increased volume gives us more exposure to the risk that makes us use them more in the first place! It's a no win!

Rachael Heiner said...

I've totally had dreams like that, with essentially the same reaction. It's disconcerting.

I'm sorry about the credit card thing too... what a pain in the butt.

Misty said...

On CNN there was a story about a huge rash of credit card fraud yesterday... Here it is:

Christina said...

Whenever possible I pay through Paypal, even if using my credit card. Some stores (like Home Depot) even now have the ability to pay with Paypal in store. And ordering online I like the double security of paying through Paypal. They seem to have very good security and protection IF something happens. You can use your account balance, bank account, or enter card info.

I've never had any issues w/ fraudulent charges, but it is something I'm nervous about. My brother had his identity stolen once and it took months to sort everything out and his bank account was $800 less than what it was supposed to be for a few weeks until the money was replaced once it was all sorted out.

Tess said...

The "compromised card" thing happened to my debit card twice in the span of several months. It was HORRIBLE.

Made me not want to EVER set up any more autopays, and in fact when I can, I now use the EFT/ACH option directly from my checking, since that number never CHANGES.


Laura Diniwilk said...

UGH UGH UGH the stupid gas company did the same thing with me - wouldn't let me change an expiring card, then took me off budget billing and the ability to pay online when they couldn't get my payment. RAGE.

phancymama said...

Credit card: frustrating and a little frightening.

Dream Fling: I know exactly what you mean. Perfectly acceptable when you wake up the next day feeling like you had an exciting intimate time with a movie star, and then you might search out a movie or show with that person in it, and still have little jolts of false memory of "knowing" them and that is all fun. Real life false knowings do nothing but make me nervous and palm sweaty.
Um, also strange when it is the friend you dreamed you had the fling with. Dreams are strange strange places.

Anonymous said...

so we opened a second credit card linked to our first, and ONLY use it for auto pay bills, and the card itself is in a desk drawer- so it will never get stolen, etc.
its been helpful to have one card with one monthly auto transactions as well all on one statement with nothing else.