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Someone stole my credit card number!

May 14, 2008

I checked out my bank information this morning, as usual, and couldn’t get into my Chase Freedom Visa. Assuming it was a technical error, I sent off a short email to customer service stating the problem. They replied and told me to call a security phone number to fix the problem.

After a myriad of security questions, I was asked if a $3838 charge made today on my credit card was valid. Um, no it was not! This suspicious charge flagged their system and my account was placed on hold. The fraudster did not have the correct expiration date, so the charge never went through, and even if it had, I would not be responsible for the charge. I think she said the charge was to, but I can’t remember for sure. Looking at the site, I can’t imagine who would want almost four grand worth of stuff from there!

I’m a little shocked and unsure how my card number could have gotten out there. Did the clerk at the grocery store skim it? Seems unlikely. I purchased a swimsuit on sale on Victoria’s Secret last night. Could a reputable company like them lack proper security on their site? Did I miss an important document with the number on it and throw it? Do full numbers even COME on anything you get in the mail? Was Yodlee MoneyCenter hacked? How about my computer itself? All these seem unlikely, so I naively want to think someone was simply trying to charge something to their credit card with a digit off from mine, and it was all a mistake. That is equally unlikely, but makes me feel the world is a nicer place.

Anyway, it is all taken care of. I will have to fill out some form to help them investigate, but they are issuing me a new card (will this have an effect on the age of my credit history?) and nothing more needs to be done. I will be able to get by just fine without this card for the next few days. Ironically, this only reaffirms my belief that credit cards are a safe way to do business. In the 8 years I had a card, this is my first fraudulent charge, and I’m liable for exactly zero dollars of it.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2008 2:31 pm

    I know that can really rattle you. I had the same thing happen with my check card after I took a trip to India. Honestly, I half expected it to happen, since I was using random ATMs in a foreign country. Plus, the charge wasn’t nearly $4000. I promptly reported it and the bank had to close my account and open a new one, issue me a new card, etc. It was a little bit of a hassle, but I too wasn’t liable for any of it. That is one advantage of credit cards over debit cards- with credit cards, the user has no direct access to your checking account and it is usually easier to get a charge on a credit card removed than on a debit card. I am curious to know how this affects your credit history/score, if at all. I hope you will post an update when you find out the answer to this.

  2. May 14, 2008 3:36 pm

    I’m not sure how it works in the states for credit, but in Canada I was frauded twice. If you can do it, a good bit of advice that has worked well for me is to call the Equifax/TransUnion equivalents in the states (the company that keeps your credit etc) and have them mark on your file to call you before any accounts are allowed to be opened. My first fraud was someone using my card number, after that they actually opened accounts in my name, it was a real mess.

  3. May 14, 2008 4:03 pm

    That stinks that some got your card number. At least the CC company realized it wasn’t you right away. Based on my past experiences, it should not affect the age of your credit history for this card. I have had a CC account number changed because of something like this and it did not affect this for me. I hope it doesn’t for you either!

  4. May 15, 2008 6:59 am

    I’m glad to hear that you got everything straightened out!

  5. May 15, 2008 7:38 am

    Ugh. The is so frustrating. It reminds me that it is so important to shred everything! I’m not always good about doing this. I’m glad you caught it and you weren’t libable.

  6. May 15, 2008 7:43 am

    I didn’t even catch it myself. I mean, I would have, but the CC company had already locked my account.

    I did put a fraud alert on thanks to zeromoney’s comment (only 90 days, you need to file a police report to get a more permanent one) and they gave me my credit report too. Everything looks fine.

  7. Gypsie permalink
    May 15, 2008 7:58 am

    Here is the Federal Trade Commission’s website on ID theft. I went through a similar thing but not as much money. I followed the steps the FTC outlined and even filed a police report. Check it out:

  8. May 15, 2008 8:59 am

    wow I am glad that you are getting it straightened out !

    couple years ago i used my check card to purchase something on amazon. the next day i got a call from Visa security asking if a charge for $200 worth of gas (???) all the way in Denmark (or Holland or something) was valid. so they had to investigate and everything but at least during the investigation process they agreed to credit my account back the $200, otherwise i would have been screwed since i used checks off of that money to pay bills.

  9. May 15, 2008 9:53 am

    Ugh, sorry to hear that. This won’t affect the age of your credit card, they just alter the number.

  10. May 15, 2008 10:52 am

    Thanks Msminiducky! I couldn’t find a straight answer online (but i didn’t search too hard).

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