Si, My Credit Card; No, Not My Purchases

No, I did not make a $195 apparel purchase, or any of the half dozen other charges that day.


One more story from the work conference.

I checked in to the hotel on Sunday, May 22. Although the conference, which included food as well as the room, was paid for by my office, I was required to provide a credit card, in case I made incidental purchases, such as long-distance phone calls or pay-per-view movies. Oddly, only some of us were asked for our credit cards; it appears that it very much depended on who was at the front desk at checkout.

I checked out of the hotel on Wednesday, May 25, incidentally with no incidental expenses. I went home, and my wife had retrieved a message from the fraud alert unit of the credit card company which issued the aforementioned plastic.

Called right away, talked to some very nice young lady who asked about a series of online transactions, all on Tuesday, May 24. No, I did not make a $195 apparel purchase, or any of the half dozen other charges that day. Did I still have the credit card, or did I somehow lose it? Still in my possession.

They e-mailed a form that I was supposed to fill out, but the link did not work. So I called Thursday morning, and I was told that I would get the document by snail mail as well. In any case, I was not liable for the charges. They canceled my old card and issued me a newly numbered card.

The potentially scary thing is that my billing cycle ended on May 23, and all the purchases were on May 24. This means that, had they not sussed this out, I wouldn’t have noticed until a bunch of unrecognizable charges showed up on my bill at the end of JUNE. I’m having difficulty believing that was merely a coincidence.

Not quite sure how this fraud was perpetrated. One of my colleagues read in Consumer Reports about a device that can read your card while it’s in your pocket. Whatever the methodology of the perps – and this is something I seldom say – my credit card company, who incidentally appears in this list of companies in the customer service hall of shame, did well in protecting me in this case. Although, contrary to what I was told, I never got the statement in the mail, only the form to fill out stating that I did not make the charges. So I WILL have to wait until after late June to fully resolve the issue.

I am a little sad, though; that old card had a lot of repeating numbers, and I had actually committed it to memory…
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Ah, Citi was hacked – in May! This explains everything.