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February 18th, 2007

Fraud Protection Rocks

Last week at work I received a strange phone call from American Express.

“Sir, did you spend about $1000 at Target yesterday?”

I raced through my brain. While I did spend a few bucks ($4 to be exact) there wasn’t any way I spent that much. And so, yes, I found myself the victim of identity theft.

Later I discovered that this same person who tried to charge $1000 at the Target in Saginaw, Michigan after filling up a giant SUV’s gas tank at a bp in Westchester, Illinois – probably this shiny and new one. I had the card, mind you, so someone kept the number and made his/her own card.

The good news is that this isn’t more than a mild inconvenience for me. But the bad news is that as of right now I have no idea when this could have happened. My card number and info was out of my sight for a while – going to restaurants and the like. Maybe putting my card number on my blog was a bad idea?

Anyway, kudos to American Express for contacting me about this. It could have been a lot worse.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

Terry M. February 18, 2007, 2:21 pm

A couple of weeks ago I tried to charge lunch at a Chinese restaurant to my check card and it was denied. One phone call later I learned that someone tried to charge $1000 to it (it was denied because I don’t keep more than $500 in that account). I have no idea how it could have happened – scary.

For the last few days when I log in to Bank of America, it says “Failed Login Attempts Exceeded” and I have to call to get the password reset. And within a few hours later it comes up again. Not sure what exactly is going on here but it sounds like someone is trying to brute force hack my account. (Joke will be on them when they find out I have less than $7 in that account).

A couple of months ago, while I was in Colombia, someone charged $5000 (a trip to Spain, or something) to the credit card I was using down there. That one is less of a mystery to me because they still use the old fashioned carbon copy vouchers down there. The bank still gave me the FF miles for those purchases (Hope that doesn’t make me a co-conspirator or something).

COD February 18, 2007, 2:38 pm

Do you shred your mail before throwing it out? A cop once told me that the vast majority of ID theft happens the old fashioned way – dumpster diving.

Monica February 18, 2007, 10:04 pm

my mom had someone call her about some fraudulent purchases, they’d gone to a Target in Baltimore and then bought landscaping equipment somewhere in PA. She looked into it, through the landscaping equip. store, and it seemed like it was an insider job at their local bank! The police are investigating, her card’d been stolen while she was shopping in D.C.
I guess it can be interesting to do some follow-up investigation after you hear about card fraud–Paul, I bet your card was skimmed.

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