Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Be vigilant

Recently I noticed a charge on my credit card statement that I didn't recognize. So I got the phone and dialed my credit card company to report the suspicious activity.

They advised me that the first step was to contact the company to which the charge was attributed and ask that the charge be reversed. Which I did, and when I heard back from them they claimed to have no record of any transaction, but they were polite in their reply. (And no, I didn't give them my card number. I may not be the sharpest tack in the box, but I'm not a complete idiot. Or at least I wasn't in this instance.)

So I called my credit card company and disputed the charge. I explained the situation to the initial representative, who then they transferred me to the dispute department. I was on hold only a few minutes, and when I was connected, the representative had been advised of my situation by the first one, without me having to re-hash the story all over again. I provided a few more details, and she issued a refund to my account. And to be on the safe side that account was closed and I'd be issued a new card with a new number in five to seven business days. I was only on the phone for about 10 minutes.

In short, dealing with the credit card company was not an arduous ordeal at all. Unlike most of the calls I've made to companies in the past when I've had a problem to report.

Sure, I'm kind of left with a slight unease because it went too well, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, but for the moment I have nothing to complain about.

I just thought I'd offer an optimistic post for a change.


But do keep an eye on your statements. The scam was charging only $11.89, which conceivably would have been a small enough amount that many may have missed it or let it go. But doing some research online I found many others who were similarly charged over the past six months, so it sounds like someone has been committing this fraud for a while, and conceivably are still out there (and maybe even blaming it on unrelated companies).

Yes, it's disquieting that it's possible someone got my credit card number, and I'll be watching all my accounts very closely, but by paying attention I may have nipped this in the bud. At least I'm choosing to believe there's a possibility that this isn't the prelude to something horrible.

It's a new year. I'm keeping pessimism at bay. (We'll see how long this holds up.)

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