So today I was doing the responsible thing and checking all my banking and credit card accounts. Since I’m travelling to Las Vegas this week I wanted to have a note put on all my credit cards so they wouldn’t think that my purchases in Vegas were fradulent and freeze my account.
That would be pretty inconvenient!
I was looking at my BMO Mosaik MasterCard statement and it looked a little bit off. I’ve cleared the balance on the card since I was switching my primary CC to my new PC Financial card. The balance was at $0 as I expected, however my credit limit was different from what it ought to be.
On this particular card I have a credit limit of $5000 which I think is reasonable for my needs. The website was showing that my limit was mysteriously at $4,100.
My first thought was that the banks were scaling back their credit limits for their customers. I’ve heard that they’re doing that in the states, as well as increasing people’s interest rates. I was not impressed, but it’s no biggie.
So I called MC to find out if that is what happened, and to request it be set back at the $5000 I was used to.
I go through the motions with the CSR and after I mentioned that my card balance should be at $0 she asked me if I had any pending transactions. I told her no, the most recent was a small donation to a charity I make every month.
She asked me, “are you sure you didn’t make any purchases on March 26 & 27?”. Of course I said no, I wasn’t using the card any longer.
That’s when she dropped the bomb.
“You didn’t make two purchases of $463 and $437 on those dates?”
It appears I am a victim of credit card fraud, my friends.
I was transferred to the fraud department where they asked me to verify my identity, and I found out that someone had spent $900 at Toys R Us of all places. I’m not even sure where the closest Toys R Us is, for chrissakes.
The fraud lady was helpful and began filing a report for me. I’ve been through this situation before if you can believe it, so I wasn’t too worried. I will be receiving an affadavit to sign and some other paperwork to indicate that I did not make these purchases and to open a fraud investigation.
In the meantime my account has been frozen and I will be getting a new security-chip enhanced card mailed to me. And of course, I won’t be liable for the $900 spent at Toys R Us.
I also requested that they investigate the method in which my number was stolen. I want to know if it was online, or if the card might have been double-swiped at one of the places I shop. If I can get this information I will certainly avoid shopping at those places in the future!
Now, despite all this hassle and inconvenience, there is a silver lining:
I’m glad I use my credit card so much!
Can you imagine if this had been my debit/bank card? I would have little-to-no recourse on the matter. My money would be *poof* gone.
By using credit cards (wisely, of course) for most of my purchases, I am protected in situations like these. It’s a little inconvenient, but the bottom line is that I’m not out $900 because of some fraudster. The onus is on MasterCard to find the criminal and press charges.
I hope that you all can learn a little something from my story. It illustrates how responsible use of credit cards as well as vigilance can protect you as a consumer from fraud and other unpleasant situations.
I guess those big credit card companies aren’t so bad after all!