By Judi Curry
I received an automated call this morning at 11:27 am. It went like this: “This is your credit card company calling. We are not trying to sell you anything but we think that your credit card has been compromised. We want to talk to either Robert Curry (so do I) or Judith Curry. If this is Robert Curry please press 1. If this is Judith Curry please press 2. If neither Robert Curry or Judith Curry is available, please press 3.”
Since I am “Judith Curry” I pressed 2.
“So that we can be sure we have the right person, please enter your 5 digit zip code.” I entered my zip code.
“Please hold for the next available representative.”
There were many thoughts that went through my mind during the 2 minute hold time. Was I being scammed again? How could they figure out who I was by my zip code? I just used my credit card moments ago to purchase new cards for my new business. Was that a scam? I decided that I would ask the questions when the representative came back on line.
“Is this Judith Curry?” I answered in the affirmative. “Did you make a $405.64 purchase at Walmart in Florida today?” Me? At Walmart? Anyone knowing me knows that I haven’t stepped into a Walmart for 20 years. Florida? You are talking to me in San Diego. “I realize that, Ms. Curry, but a purchase was declined by Walmart today using your credit card and we just want to make sure that you did not authorize anyone in Florida to use your number.” I asked her what time the purchase was made. She said2:15pm, EST. Twenty minutes ago! “What was it for”, I asked. She said she didn’t know; she was with the fraud department and because Walmart turned it down they were checking with me. They do not get to see transactions.
She then asked me if I had made two purchases on my credit card within the past 2 hours. She told me what companies they were; the amount; and the time but did not tell me what the purchases were for. As it turned out she was correct; I had made two on-line purchases to the two companies she mentioned. At that time I felt the call was legitimate.
I asked what the next step should be and she told me I had two choices: First of all the account would be closed, effective immediately. Then (1) they would send me a new credit card but it would take 7-10 days before I would receive it or (2) I could go to the credit union and obtain a new card immediately. I elected to go to the credit union.
I left the house at 1:15pm and drove to the credit union on Morena Ave and was taken immediately by a teller – do they still call them teller’s – at the window. I told her the problem and she immediately checked my account, only to find that there was no record of the phone call I received. She called her supervisor, who did more checking and found that the card was cancelled but that the wired information had not yet been received by the branch. (Thank goodness, because I didn’t want to feel like I was had – again!) Again I was given two choices: (1) I could order a credit card that had raised numbers on it, but I wouldn’t receive it for two weeks, or (2) I could accept a “flat” card – no raised numbers and I could receive it immediately. I asked if I could keep the same “pin” number and was told there was no problem with that at all. Two weeks without a credit card? Apparently she had not seen my balance to know that I NEVER could go that long without it. I elected the “flat” card. (What difference does it make anyway?) Within 10 minutes of walking into the credit union – Mission Federal by the way – I walked out with a new credit card number and card; the same pin; and the helpful rejoinder of “call us if you need anything else.”
Will they try to go after the thief that had my number. Maybe, if he/she tries to use it again and the merchant calls the police, because now it is listed as a “stolen” card. But truthfully – probably not. Since it was rejected they probably won’t try to use it again.
I want to thank the fraud division of Master Card for picking up on this so soon. It could have been a more lengthy and expensive procedure if the theft was not noticed sooner. How did the thief get the information? Who knows. I was at Target during the time of their breech, but I used a different card. I think. Most of the time I use it is on-line when ordering things. I’ll be careful next time, and the time after that, and…until my memory of this experience fades. All I can say to you is to be careful what site on-line you go to to use you credit card. May your experience be as neutral as mine was this time.