Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Bank That Actually Works

Just a note before I start:  there will be a flurry of blog posts today. I'm behind and there are things I want to muse about. I usually only post things in 4's because that's how many are on a page. But, today, there will be a lot so you're going to have to read down and then hit, "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page. You might need two cups of tea.

You need to know, first of all, that I've been up kind of late the last couple of nights. It's been a lot of fun in World of Warcraft. I've been hanging out with guild members. We've been running around a new area called "The Timeless Isle". So, I should be forgiven for still being abed when my cell phone went off at precisely 8 a.m. I mean, if I had a clock with seconds on it, the cell phone would have rung at 08:00:00. 

Secondly, it's a rainy, chilly day. It was gorgeous yesterday. I spent some time on the deck in the last warm Saturday of summer. It's not made it out of the fifties today, I don't think. We've gotten the kind of rain we really needed in August, but we'll take it now. It should make my fall allergies a bit less but it makes my joints so stiff and sore. Getting out of bed to answer a cell phone that wakes me up precisely at 8 a.m. isn't happening. That is why I have voice mail. 

When the cell phone went to voice mail, I heard the sound of a voice mail message having been left. Not 15 seconds after that tone, the house phone rang. Again, I'm stiff in the morning. I'm not jumping out of bed to answer the phone. When that rang with no answer, 15 seconds later, the cell phone rings again. Okay, okay, I get it. Someone really needs to talk to me. 

As I shuffled into the kitchen to retrieve my cell phone, where I had plugged it in to charge, the house phone rang yet again. I checked the cell phone. There was a text message from Chase Bank. "A charge to your account in the amount of $1227.67 for airfare was made from a .uk address this morning. If you made this charge, press 1. If you did not make this charge, press 2." I have to admit to nearly dropping the phone. I could feel the panic rising. Frantically, I pushed 2. Then I opened my voice mail to try to listen to the voice mail. It was garbled. Fine time for my cell phone to act up. 

I dashed into the office and fired up the computer. Checking my email, there was an email from Chase Fraud Protection Services stating the same information. I needed to call their toll free number. I had to dial it twice, I was shaking so much. 

While it rang, I dug out my wallet. The last place I had used the card was at Dominicks on Friday to buy groceries. Had I left it there accidentally? I didn't think so and Dominicks is very, very good about trying to reunite cards with owners had I left it on the pay station. Of course, that means it would have had to have been noticed. 

What if I'd dropped it in the parking lot? I just didn't remember not sticking in back in my wallet. It was there, all right, right where I put it after every use. 

Before getting to a live person, I had to answer two questions correctly. When you're upset, your brain thinks of all sorts of things instead of what the answers are to the questions. I had to have the questions read twice before I calmed down enough to answer them correctly. And thank goodness for picking an obscure security question. "Oh why the heck did I ask that? Do I remember how I answered?"

I was put through to a gentleman who called me by name, including saying my last name correctly. There is a different way to say it but I can always tell if whomever calling me actually knows me by how they say my name. He said he needed to verify 4 charges made less than 45 minutes ago. 1) the above referenced airfare. 2) The services of a travel agent. 3) The use of a limousine and 4) The use of an escort service. I nearly choked with laughter. "Um...45 minutes ago, I was asleep. Those are not my charges." He laughed. "All of these were made in the UK and I can see that you're in Chicago. That's probably why they were flagged." "Well that and the fact that I don't have that kind of money in the bank for expenditures like these. Escort service. Really?" 

He verified a few more things and said I wasn't on the hook for any of those charges. They had been declined at the source. I thanked him and expresses thanks for this service and hung up. 

He didn't know how my account numbers found their way to the UK. I was always under the impression that numbers were used almost immediately after being taken. My last charge had been at 5 on the 13th. It was almost 30 hours later. How did they get the numbers? My gut feeling is the problems I've had with my office computer. Perhaps the virus I picked up back in July has not been fully eradicated. 

In any event, that card's been cancelled and I'm now waiting on a new card. "You can use the same PIN number for the new card." Riiiiigggghhhhtttt. I'm changing that. I'm also changing my password on my bank account. I need to get a home printer so I can download and print my credit report to see if there's something else going on. Nothing was awry when I refinanced. I had some fun cutting up the old debit card. 

I do wonder what would have happened had I still been with Fifth Third. Of course the question is rather moot. After all they did to me, my continued presence at that bank could only be considered insanity. I'm not always pleased by the financial news I read about Chase. They have more lawsuits pending against them with regards to the housing meltdown, than any other bank, even Bank of America who, perhaps precipitated the meltdown in the first place. I've often wondered if I really should be at Chase. I don't want to wind up paying for people who thought they could cut corners. And yet, the fact that they have fraud prevention people working on a Sunday and an analysis algorithm that sifted through billions of transactions and couldn't match my buying history with payment for an escort service makes me feel really secure. 

When the new card comes, I have some automatic payments that might be tied to the old card. I'm going to have to go through everything and set up the new card. A hassle? Oh yes, but, in the long run, it is so incredibly worth it for peace of mind. 

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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