It appears someone, somewhere got ahold of my lone credit card number and decided to go to town.
Someone called my credit card company's automated system to get a PIN number on July XXth. Then on the following day, used it for hundreds of dollars in cash advances and a bizarre charge to a company at an undisclosed location (I know the name and place, but I don't want to say) for less than $10.
Needless to say, it's been fun going through all the charges on the phone with the credit card's security department both yesterday and today.
Heh. Funny thing. My credit card company not only has a phone number, but a street address that could lead right to the fraudsters. Methinks someone's in big trouble or about to get blamed for causing trouble. Personally, I'm just going to sign the affidavit and let the credit card company take it from there.
On the one hand, I want to bang my head against the wall that the thieves in question were able to get a PIN on my credit card account without sharing any identifying personal information (i.e., SS number, mother's maiden name, password, answering the sekrit question) just because they went through the automated system. On the other hand, I also want to give kudos to my credit card company for catching on that something bizarre was going on within 12 hours and had shut down my account.
Or as security put it: "In the *mumble-mumble-mumble* years you had this card, you've never done one cash advance, let alone dozens in one day. And so far from home, too."
The good news: I pay $0 as a result of the assholes that stole access to my account.
Last time this happened, it was 10 years ago and the physical card got stolen. That time, someone went around and filled gas tanks (gas stations all over Worcester, MA, were visited). Thankfully, I didn't have to pay anything then, either.
Of course, I'm somewhat puzzled how someone got their hands on my credit card. I have a pretty stable list of monthly *dings* on it (Fastlane Pass, health club, monthly donation to charitible organization, and Netflix), plus maybe one or two charges because of unexpected expenses (medicaton, clothing purchase, airplane tickets, etc...)
With the notable exception of the list below, I didn't break my usual pattern of credit card use, not even when I went to Atlanta (I paid cash for everything). The only time I used the card in the past week was when I was bailing myself out of the Logan International Airport parking lot and experienced an odd hiccup when the automated parking machine required me to swipe my card something like three times before it was accepted.
Given when the theft occured, I have several candidates for how the credit card number found its way to the thieves in question. So, as a public service announcement, I'm urging people on my FList to do the following:
Check your statements or call your credit card company to check for suspicious charges if you:
- Used Orbitz to book anything in the past two months
- Used Delta to book your tickets or change a flight time/date
- Used your credit card at Logan International Airport in Boston (the charge shows up as Massport on your statement)
- Used Amazon in the past two months (or thereabouts)
- Charged something at Sears in the past month
- Charged something at CVS in the past month
Let me stress:
I'm not pointing the fingers at Orbitz, Delta, Massport, Sears, CVS or Amazon. It's just that these are the potential weak points from where my credit card number was stolen, given when I used these services and when the fraud happened.
Better safe than sorry, says I. It could be a bizarre one-off for me and no one else has gotten dinged, but just in case, I thought I'd throw it out there.
Thankfully, for me, there's no harm (although there's plenty of foul). I'm not responsible for a penny and I'm out my one credit card for a couple of days. The only vaguely annoying thing is I have to transfer my regular charges to the new card, but it's not that big of a deal.