Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One for me and 1,023.87 for you

My awesome bank , Wachovia, left me a voicemail at home last week to tell me that there had been some seemingly suspicious charges on my MAC Card (we call them MAC cards here for Money Access Card, in other locales around this great nation they call them “debit cards” or “bank cards.” Whatever people, can I get back to my story please?) and would I please call them back. Hmmm, what tipped them off? Me paying for the dentist or taking out a whopping $20 from a cash machine? I’m SUCH a big spender. When I called a few hours later they said that it seemed that there were 6 separate $1. transactions made from a gas station. That’s as in ONE DOLLAR. For a grand total of SIX DOLLARS.

Excuse me? You call THAT suspicious?!? Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled they called and that I got the card cancelled within a few hours of the charges happening but all this for $6.? I've purchased more random things than that before. Of course no sooner did those thoughts go racing thru my head than I checked my online account. Hmmm…. someone has been spending lots of money at the Circle K and Shell Gas stations! To the tune of $1,023.87. Wow. That’s a lot of gas. I call back Wachovia who are SO gracious and they say that the charges were made one day and that they didn’t get posted until the next. Apparently the thieves do these trial runs of $1 to see if the card they make actually works.

Now I’m pissed. I’ve been relatively lucky in my life, I’ve only had a car radio stolen but this has me mad, and a little worried. See, I still have my MAC card. That means someone got a hold of all the numbers and made a card, but where and how? I keep all receipts in my purse and I always shred them and most, if not all, places only list the last four numbers on the receipts anyway. Who knows how they did it, the Wachovia woman said could have run random numbers and made cards (scary), but it sucks.

This also begs the question of what kind of a jackass steals a MAC card and then only spends money at gas stations?! According to my Wachovia rep they buy gas cards and then sell them. Smart. But why only do that? Why not buy yourself something nice? Go to lunch, get a new pair of jeans, buy a Rolex, buy some books. Oh my God the possibilities are endless. But no, my little MAC card thief only needed gas cards, gum and a Slurpee or two.

So this morning I started worrying that maybe they got a hold of my numbers somewhere else so I ran an online credit check. Everything is fine, nothing suspicious but I’ll check again in a month. Then I get to the “Personal Information” page. Hmmmm….. I’ve never lived in New York (in the "Previous Addresses" listing). Hmmmmm…. I don’t have an “Alternative Social Security Number” with the numbers XXX-XX-XXXX.

I have spent the last 2 hours on the phone with the Credit Bureau. I had totally forgotten that an old live-in boyfriend (we’re talking 8 years ago) had gotten a joint AmEx card for me and so my credit report now tracks his addresses too. This is a bit scary since it also leaves his Social Security number on my Credit Report. Along with his current address. I also know his wife’s name. This doesn’t seem too safe does it?

Good thing he never broke my heart and good thing I’m not vindictive and GOOD THING I’m honest…. well, sort of, I do need a new stove….. Of course maybe I should be worrying that he’ll take out a card in MY name… nahhhh… his wife is loaded.

NOTE: Kudos goes out to Wachovia. All the money taken was replaced within 24 hours and they paid my car insurance company’s charges for bouncing their check. Not bad, hunh?


Blogger t_cole said...

this EXACT same thing happened with my hubby's DR card last month. no lie. they stole his number (not his card) and made a new card. when you said the $1 charges - i knew EXACTLY where you were going with this.
the idiots that did this with his card got a hotel room with the card. i found it the day it happened. i called the police in that town and told them to go get the MOTHER FUCKER using my hubby's card. they told me to call my bank. i told them i called the bank and if they didn't go pick up the SOB at hotel XYZ i would be marching my happy ass over to do their job for them.
long story - shorter.
police found the folks. bad guys and girlfriend got away.
Bank of America gave us all our funds back in 48 hours.
they also told us that crooks use camera phones to take a picture of your credit card when you pull it out and hold it in your hand when you are paying...
live and learn.
still wish i had gone to the hotel. would be washing the blood off my hands to this day...

January 24, 2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger E said...

So THAT"S how they did it... with a camera phone!!!!
Um, I'm kinda glad you didn't go to the hotel. Much safer to have you blogging and sharing this story than have you serving 5 to 10 for assault and battery!! It's amazing how frequently this happens. And people wonder why insurance costs go up on everything. I can't imagine how much money the banks reimburse everyday for stuff like this.

January 24, 2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucky you, E!
My credit Union would have said, "Gee, that's too bad... you should keep better control of your card." I really need to change banks.

January 25, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

This is some scary shit! One of my co-works was just telling me yesterday that her bank had called b/c there was suspicious activity on her debit card...to the tune of over $1000.00!!!

I knew there was a reason I have just stuck to writing checks!

Your bank was unusually great, btw! :)

January 25, 2006 10:56 AM  

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