Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Three times in one calendar year!

Posted by Chris on January 21, 2009

I commented on this before here.  As a summary, in March-ish of 2008 someone stole money out of my wallet (I think, and I think I know who, and when/how, but can’t prove it).  And in August, someone broke into my apartment and stole cash, a borrowed iPod, checks, my passport (I think), and who knows what else that I’m not missing.  Each time I filed a police report.


The latest incident was more fortunate—for me at least.  My credit card was used at five different motel/hotels in town in about one week.  I discovered two of the transactions as I checked my account activity online.  The card was in my possession the entire time.  I reported this to the bank as fraudulent activity and filed a police report.  My goals in writing this post are to do the following: explain (i.e. provide some reassurance as to how the process works) how I took care of this with the bank; talk about working with the police; and my personal feelings/what I’ve learned.


Working with the bank

This was the easiest part, and I knew it would be.  As consumers in the USA, we have some really cushy laws protecting us when it comes to credit card fraud.  First, the credit card provide cannot hold you liable to more than $50 in the event of theft, regardless of the amount charged.  Many times, they will waive it completely.  That was my experience.  I’m not a huge Chase fan, but they deserve some praise here.  I have a Chase/VISA card so I will give them all merits in this case.


***It is important to know that Debit cards don’t have nearly as much protection.  You are only liable to $50, IF you inform the bank within 48 hours of learning of the fraud.  There may be a limit for credit cards but it is much longer.  This is one reason some people advise people to use credit cards rather than debit/check cards, though there are probably many more reasons to use Debit (primarily, to avoid getting yourself in debt).***


I was on the phone with Chase for about 15 minutes over two conversations.  They mailed me something (which showed that there were actually 5 frauds) and had me verify what I did not purchase, I sent it back, and they cancelled the transactions.  They cancelled my card and had me a new one within 1.5 weeks.  I give them an A- overall, my only complaints being the time to wait for a new card (it was around Christmas and some people might really “need” the card so they could put themselves into debt buying gifts :-/) and a letter I received that said to call someone but I never received a call back.


A week or so later, I decided to file a police report as well (for more on my motivations, read here).  This was not necessary for self-preservation reasons, and if you’re shaken up or just “want to put it all behind you” then maybe you decide not to do this.  Otherwise, you should, as it can help to prevent this in the future and may have some therapeutic affects as well.  Since it was not a crime that occurred at a specific time and place, I went by the station on a day off.  After waiting about 15 minutes, an officer called me into a room and took my information, what happened, etc… It was very easy, though more time-consuming than speaking on the phone with Chase.


About two weeks later, I received a call from another officer who had been investigating.  She told me that one of the hotels were told on the phone that it was a “reservation for a homeless person.”  This is helpful for me, in identifying what I may have done to compromise my information and how I could prevent this in the future. (However, I already suspected such, and will probably not act differently in the future, as far as helping out the homeless goes.  Unless I’m told that a specific action of mine got my credit card # in someone else’s hands, I’m not going to change my whole life and make entirely different decisions).  This makes me think that I may know the person and it may not be random, though the first officer told me that this crime is very common here.


Another two weeks have passed and I have not heard anything else.  Is this someone I know?  If yes, then perhaps my ignorance is not good.  Otherwise, I’m not worried.  Hopefully if this happens to you things will work out just as well.


One Response to “Three times in one calendar year!”

  1. […] Filed under: about me — Chris @ 10:57 pm This is a continuation of this story/post.  I really didn’t expect to hear anything else on this credit card case from the police, […]

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