Sunday, October 3, 2010

Those pesky 800 numbers are not always so bad

Those of us who have caller ID love the ability we have to ignore 800 and 877 or 866, etc. phone numbers, no matter what time they call.  But when the same number calls every thirty minutes, you get curious as to what is going on.

That happened to me yesterday.  After four calls, I decided to 'google' the number showing on my caller ID.  Every blogger on the website I went to said that it was the fraud division of a major bank. 

So, I hit the dial button on the phone and was connected to an automated message that there was a fraudulent attempt to use my credit card.  Still not being convinced of its legitimacy, I hung up.  

I retrieved my credit card from my purse and called the number on the back.  After entering my card number and verifying my zip code, I heard the same message I heard when I called the number on caller ID.

Uh OH!  This is not good.  After a long series of questions verifying my identity, I was transferred to a REAL LIVE PERSON.  Tada!

He asked me which of the latest charges were made by me.  Well, there was the trip to Home Depot on Thursday, but, I had not spent the day shopping for electronic equipment in Brooklyn, New York.  Attempts were made at two stores on Fulton Street, within a block of each other.  Fortunately, the card was rejected. 

The representative I spoke with closed my account and suggested that I make a police report with the local police, which I did.  They in turn gave me more information on protecting my credit.

Today I placed a fraud alert at all the credit bureaus.  I also reviewed my credit report.  I tried to make a report with the State AG office, but could not find the form online, so I will call tomorrow and ask where to find it.  I saw the picture of the form, so it must be there, right?  (BTW, the State website is not the easiest site to find information on.  I found myself going round in circles.)

I have several cards that I am going to cancel.  Everyone says it will hurt my credit score, but they are cards I rarely use and are just another opportunity for some thief.

You may wonder how this happened and I did too.  I went through all my charges and believe I know the culprit.  In examining my receipts, I discovered one that did not truncate the card numbers as required by state law in Michigan.  I will be contacting them about their procedures.  (Apparently, the law allows someone doing a manual procedure to record all the numbers.  Who in this day and age does not have a handheld card reader, or, if not, calls it in to a central number????)

You never know when you will be the victim of this type of crime.  I thought I was always being careful.  Guess you just don't always know.

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