Monday, July 10, 2006

Joining the club

We, like every other American and some Europeans, who are ahead of us in most things but behind us on this, became victims of credit card fraud. I was rudely awakened at the ungodly hour of 10 am on Saturday with an automated phone call from Bank of America saying that there was a fraud alert on Christian's credit card, and could I please enter in the last four digits of his SSN? No, I thought, I don't know them. I got up, ran upstairs (Christian was at a meet and unable to provide the necessary information), got his SS card and called the bank back. I, of course, am not authorized on his (paid off) account, so I had to call him at the meet, interrupting his discus throwing, to tell him to call the bank, which he could only do 20 yards away from the ring where the event was taking place. He called, got a little information and his phone dropped the call. Gack. I was in a bit of turmoil as identity theft ranks right up with spiders in my bed on the fear meter.

By the time the event was over and he had time to go home to take a shower before we took the boys to the reptile show, it was 1 pm and I was frantic. What if it was money that couldn't be returned? We just paid everything off, and I didn't want to be responsible for a weekend of orgies and bathroom furnishings. He called BoA from home and was told that someone got ahold of our account number and charged $4500 at Bed, Bath and Beyond and some posh hotel. Fortunately, as the account had a whopping $15 balance, they noticed a slight increase in spending patterns and declined the charges, barring the first one that triggered the alert. They reversed the charges and closed the account. And then, they ruined it all by reissuing a new credit card. We didn't WANT them to issue a new credit card, and Christian tried to tell them that. We want all but ONE credit card to be cancelled (per customer request) and use only a Disney card to get points and then pay it off at the end of the month. One more credit card means one more letter we have to write to the BoA asking to cancel the account and one more headache of trying to maintain our credit score while eliminating all superfluous sources of credit. This is why we left BoA to go to WaMu. We don't like BoA's slap-happy approach to issuing cards, and they have awful fraud protection. Oh, they're fairly helpful when the fraud has happened, but they don't do enough to STOP it from happening. I only hope WaMu won't start flinging credit cards at us. I shall be forced to fling back and I'm terrified of confrontation.

1 comment:

AAM said...

Lets face it. It's going to happen. No card can be completely protected from it. Unfortunately, thats the times we live in. Thankfully it is fairly easy to deal with paperwork wise. Not like with a checking account. I saw it every day at the credit unions. Very painful process.