Well, I was going to devote this post to a couple of nice outfits I spotted at the department store the other day. But instead, I must talk about how someone in somewhere not around here tried to do something naughty with my bank account. (No, not that kind of naughty. Get your mind out of the gutter.)
Here’s the deal: I was checking my voice mail messages Wednesday night and found a request to contact a bank security number regarding some possible fraudulent charges being applied to my bank debit card. So, I called the number the automated message gave me, gave my particulars (to assure my identity, of course), and heard some automated voice give information on a purchase in the amount of $10.30 that was made earlier in the day. Which sounded odd to me in that, while I did use my debit card a couple of times earlier in the day, I knew neither purchase was in the amount of $10.30.
What’s more, I couldn’t make out the automated voice mentioning where it was purchased. At least it gave me the option to “Press 1 for detailed information on the purchase site.” Said purchase site was in the “hospitality and lodging industry.” Which is news to me, because… well, I can’t remember the last time I stayed in a hotel.
So, with that, I pressed “2” to tell the automated voice that I believed the purchase was suspicious. After that, I was redirected to a live operator (this outfit works 24/7), and after verifying with him my account security information (again, to prove that I’m me), he rattled off a series of 6 or 7 attempted purchases. (Hmm… the automated voice gave me only 3.) Even he had trouble pronouncing some of the locations, but I did notice that one of them was at a Holiday Inn located in a city in… wait for it… Mexico.
Mexico?! Uh oh.
Why do I say “uh oh” there? For one thing, I’ve never set foot in Mexico (I told the operator as such). What’s more, I’m busy up here in Madison working and slaving away; I don’t have the time this week to drop everything and head down to Mexico for a quickie vacation… although I’m sure there are some lovely vacation locations in Mexico that are quite attractive. (The Yucatan Peninsula, for one. My sister spent a few days at a resort there a few years ago.)
As it turned out, the attempted “purchases” the live operator rattled off were also in Mexico (the exact name of the city escapes me at the moment), and they were as high as $45 and as minuscule as 30 cents. I say “attempted” as I interpreted from the operator that the purchases were denied (I presume they don’t know my PIN number). Yeah, I told the operator each and every single one of them were fraudulent in nature. The operator, in an effort to go above and beyond, rattled off a couple of other purchases I did put on my debit card the past couple of days, and he quickly noticed that… well, yeah, they were all made in the State of Wisconsin.
So, as it stands now, those fraudulent charges have been wiped off from my records (I checked my online banking this morning to confirm this). However, I am currently without a debit card. The operator, to help assure that my account is secure and nothing more fraudulent happens further, deactivated the card during our call Wednesday night. That means that I will need to talk to my bank today about ordering a replacement debit card. At least I still have a checkbook and credit card to utilize in the interim, though I use the former mainly to pay bills and I only use the latter for big purchases.
Am I a little upset that this happened? Well, more fearful than upset. It makes me wonder what other crooked attempts could have been made on my bank account. I also have a sense a relief in that someone with my financial institution, or to put it more more precisely works on my bank’s behalf, had my back. But it also makes me wonder… yeah, I gotta watch my own money more often. Sure, I have enough money in my bank account, but knowing that money is still there will ease my mind some.