I recently got a call from my VISA vendor, telling me they wanted to check on some charges. Seems someone stole, and used, my credit card number: Chase got curious when I apparently was getting my nails done in Austin at the same time I was on a spending spree in Richardson, Texas, a place I”ve never been to.
The only people who seemed to get what they wanted here were the folks who used my number.
But as I look at the list of their purchases, lots of questions come up for me. These folks didn’t buy a car, or book a first class ticket to Paris. Instead they went to Wal-Mart and spent $660. And to the gas station and spent $45. And to an HEB for groceries for $225.
These seem to be working class people who somehow (no doubt not on their own) got ahold of my credit card number and used it to make ends meet. Maybe get clothes for kids for school. Or food to eat. What would they have done without the card? My liberal heart was broken, as I looked at their meager expenditures.
When I think of the bank, I know they will most probably never recover the funds. Ok, Ok, banks don’t need the money, and maybe their executives will take home a million or two less as a result of covering fraudulent charges. But there is a part of me who understands that it’s not fair they have to pick up the charges. I know it wasn’t their fault.
What is their fault, however, is the way they handled the problem. They told me they would not cancel charges that came through for the first month, but close out all new charges and send the recurring vendors, and me, a note to have it fixed for the next month.
That is not what they did, however. I had a two week stretch with many annoyed vendors with a ‘declined’ recurring charge. I had to fight with late fees at the gym, and a communications card on my laptop shut down for non-payment. I’m just hoping that my credit score doesn’t suffer as a result.
So, other than folks who stole my card to buy groceries and gas, this was a lose-lose situation. I don’t know how to stop this activity. But I do know it must be stopped somehow. And then we have to help folks get the jobs they need so they can buy their own gas without being dishonest.
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