Party at my place! Except not!

By Mir
November 12, 2011

I thought today was a very boring day—I never even got dressed, to tell you the honest truth—but it all just got a lot more exciting ’round here.

Apparently I’m throwing a HUGE party. I’m sorry I forgot to invite you, but I didn’t even know myself until a few minutes ago. I guess I could invite you NOW, but I fear the party’s been canceled. I’m a party pooper!

Okay; let me back up. After watching about a billion hours of Pitbulls and Parolees with Chickadee this afternoon (spoiler: pitbulls are nice! as are some parolees!), Monkey said he was hungry and I told him to go ask Otto what he wanted for dinner. After a brief discussion, Otto offered to go out and pick up pizza and wings, which was fortuitous as 1) there was nothing good to eat in the house and 2) the rest of the family was still in pajamas.

Food was fetched, and we were all sitting here eating happily when the phone rang.

“It’s for you!” Otto said, passing the phone to Monkey. This was because the caller ID said “Wireless Caller,” which is always the kids’ dad.

“Hello!” said Monkey, cheerfully. Then a pause. Then, “Uhhh. Yes? Hang on.” He held the phone out to me. “It’s for you!”

“Hello?” Clearly it wasn’t the kids’ dad. And for the next sixty seconds or so I waited for my opening to tell this telemarketer to shove off. I was barely listening as he asked if I was me, gave me his name and said he was calling from Florida, where he owns a restaurant…

… and then he told me that someone claiming to be from a telephone service for the hearing impaired had just relayed an order I’d placed for over $3,000 worth of food using my Discover Card, and he had decided that was a little suspicious, hence his call.

[Please insert the sound of the turntable needle screeching across a record here.]

Well, THAT made for an unexpected detour in the evening. Of course Discover is fabulous and they rushed to assure me that I would not be responsible for this $3,200 charge and they would investigate thoroughly and take care of everything, not to worry, so sorry for the hassle. It’s like they felt personally responsible for the fact that some jackhole had gotten my card number and ordered 300 chicken caesar salads for delivery next Thursday.

After I finished with Discover, I called the gentleman from Florida back, to both thank him again and to ask how he got my phone number. Had the people calling given it to him? No, they hadn’t, though they DID have both the security number for the card and… my full address. (The good Samaritan was able to find the number via reverse 411 because he had the address.) It turned out that there was one phone call for a giant food order, and then they called back after that (just checking that the card went through, we guess) to see if this same business could take care of a Western Union charge for them, which is when this guy decided to tell them that the card had been declined. (It hadn’t.)

I made sure to thank him profusely and let him know that Discover might be giving him a call before hanging up. I managed to stop myself from asking why in the world he charged my card when it all seemed so suspicious, but whatever. Dude called me, and fortunately he hadn’t actually delivered any goods, so it’s all fine.

I mean, apart from the fact that it’s terribly creepy.

My card wasn’t stolen; it’s still in my wallet. But I do most of my shopping online, and I use my card everywhere. Clearly somewhere I shopped was either hacked or has a problem employee. And even though I’m not out any money, I’m unsettled to know my address was taken along with my credit card number.

Plus, I know I’m not exactly the world’s greatest party planner, but I would NEVER just serve chicken caesar salad at a shindig. Nor would I order it from Florida if I did. I think that proper criminals should make a little more effort. What, they couldn’t order an ice cream cake or something? It’s not a party without ice cream, you know.

Anyway, sorry about the late invite and subsequent cancelation. But, you know, it sounded like a pretty crappy party, anyway.


  1. meghann

    I kind of feel sorry for them, they don’t even know how to be a proper criminal. I mean, you steal a credit card! You can charge $3,000! So. . . chicken salads for everyone??? Huh???

  2. Tenessa

    Man, oh, man! That is creepy. I do most of my shopping online, too. EEEEEK! Maybe I need to start keeping all my money under my mattress as my grandfather insists we all do!

  3. Navhelowife

    If there wasn’t going to be any ice cream, or at the very least, some chocolate, why bother???

    And don’t you often send Western Union grams from your favorite restaurant?

    Glad Discover was helpful. I’ve had a good experience with them for the last 20 odd years.

  4. Mom24@4evermom

    I bought $400 in phone cards a month ago for someone I’ve never met or heard of, generous huh? Even though the phone card company never “takes numbers over the phone”…except just this once, you know. Yup, my card was in the wallet the whole time too. Evidently at some businesses, when they take your card to the back to swipe it, there’s a little machine attached to the swipey machine that makes a copy. Nifty eh?

    Very, very creepy, I share your shivers and thank goodness the phone card company got suspicious, though not soon enough and I was able to have the bank reimburse my account.

    What a pain. :(

  5. Lisa

    Wow. It seems like there’s a lot of that going on lately. We got an email from amex earlier this week about two gas station charges for $100 and $195. It was the dh’s card, which they immediately cancelled and overnighted him a new one. Amex doesn’t mess around! And I’ve also had a couple of friends, completely different circles from one another, that both had their cards used at Wal-Marts in TX (we’re in the Pacific Northwest). Crazy!

  6. Otto

    Well, I guess I’ll have to go out and get dessert since you cancelled the delivery order …


  7. Chuck

    That whole thing…is really weird. I didn’t think there was much of a black market for chicken ceasar salads.

    Whenever someone at work used to order one of those types of salads, I would say it must have been expensive to track down an epileptic chicken. I would get a blank stare, and then I’d say “Chicken seizure salad! Get it?” Then I would have to dodge whatever office product they threw at me.

  8. Lucinda

    I was on the other end of a transaction like that a few weeks ago. We sell salmon eggs for bait but apparently we have gotten on some food catering list somewhere. A guy, using the hearing impaired phone service, called us to order 400 lbs. of eggs for a “party”. I refused to sell them to him because 1) our eggs are not for human consumption, 2) I didn’t have 400 lbs. to deliver, and 3) he’s in California and I’m not. He wasn’t very happy with me and shared some choice words that the operator chose not to relay and we both agreed it was a scam.

    It’s not the first time the scam has been attempted (usually it involves our guide service) but it was the first time it used the hearing-impaired phone service. I’m sure they do it that way because it really throws you off trying to relay a conversation through a 3rd party and people probably get distracted by that.

    Glad you were able to work it all out. I’m sure the guy ran the card before he figured out that something was off. He should have been able to refund your card immediately though without you even needing to call the bank. So that makes him a little suspicious too if he didn’t offer to do that. But maybe he did and you didn’t include that part of the story. It is sad the number of scams that are out there. Is Discover issuing you a new card? I know American Express is really good about that. They gave me a new one after someone charged $1 to Itunes and it wasn’t me. In fact, they called me about it before I even saw the charge.

  9. Mel

    I recently charged $510 worth of sub sandwiches in a little shop far, far away from home (marching band tour, don’t ya know) after making charge payments for gas in little tiny towns the day before. My cell phone was ringing before I left the shop. It was the credit card company making sure it was an authorized charge. I felt pretty good about that call.

  10. Little Bird

    Similar things have happened to both my mother and step-father. The last time it was with our phones and Verizon took quite some time to straighten it out. Not that they ever really did. I’m glad it all worked out for you, but keep an eye out for future issues following this one.

  11. Katherine

    I just got new credit cards a few weeks ago after Visa called me wondering whether I was trying to use a British matchmaking service. I wasn’t. It’s kind of creepy, though, how they know your patterns so well and can spot the fraudulent charges right off.

  12. Heather

    Ah yes – a year or two ago I apparently booked a pretty swank hotel in Florence. If only :P Sadly, MasterCard didn’t catch it – it was I who had that joy ;)

  13. Megan

    Okay, you guys have all scared the ever-lovin’ PANTS off me. I will go shred everything plastic in my house and spend the rest of the weekend under the bed!

    I had a home invader a few weeks back – at night, when I was home, asleep, and my purse was taken among other thing. We think it was an idiot kid as the cards weren’t used but it shook up all my faith in humanity pretty solidly and this is not helping!

    I hear there’s a very nice cave in the mountains near here, I think I’ll go check it out for size and general defensibility…

  14. Melissa

    My husband’s Discover card number (not the card) was used at about 10 gas stations in CA (where we are not) and they didn’t catch it. However once I did, they wasted NO time in crediting everything and issuing a new account. I love them.

  15. Frazier

    This exact thing happened to my sister who owns a restaurant in Texas. Order for a shocking number of chicken Caesar salads. She ended up just telling the caller “no” when he couldn’t give answers to simple questions about the order, bit we still haven’t figured out how the scam actually works, since he didn’t really want the salads. Maybe the Western Union piece fits in somehow and he would ask for hIs refund that way rather than to the card?

  16. crgilvr

    I just had this with $15,000 worth of construction supplies from CT (not my state). My bank makes a really big deal about customer service and their security software. ….um…not so much.

    I now get a text message anytime anything over $200 is charged.

  17. Amanda

    You’re the 3rd person in a week that I’ve heard has had their card number stolen. I’m going to be a lot more vigilant this holiday shopping season. Our bank is the same as someone else mentioned. They call us or will decline charges unless we call them if there is something out of the ordinary.

  18. JMH

    I order online all the time and never had any issues. However, after taking the kids skiing at our local ski slope, my credit card (Visa) called me the next day to make sure I had charged more than $500 at itunes. They also said the charges had been made in California…and I live in Ohio. Since most of the people who work at the ski area are college kids, I assumed it was one of them. It is VERY creepy how quickly that can happen

  19. Brandi

    I, apparently, ordered £400 at Curry’s online last week… Maybe the chicken-salad-people needed a new computer for future orders?

  20. MelissaB

    I knew I’d read about this same scam before, you aren’t alone. Do a google search on these terms ” credit card tty food ” and you’ll find quite a lot. You just got lucky with the restaurant quy questioning the order and taking the precaution to track you down.

  21. Jenn

    This just happened to us, too. I opened our credit card bill on Tuesday to find an extra $450 in Groupon charges. My husband called the credit card company to find that there were $3000 pending, but they never went through because the company put a hold on our card. It was all for Groupon and related things.

    It really freaked me out because we haven’t even had this card that long, my husband thought he lost his wallet in July and we had the card replaced (And when did he find his wallet? About 2 hours after he got a new driver’s license, called the bank, called the credit card company…) and haven’t used it all that much.

  22. Katie K.

    I orderer a couple hundred dollars in tea from some website and some Airsoft gun stuff about a month ago. Luckilly my husband went online to pay the Visa bill right at the same time the charges were being posted and I think only 1 went through and we got the card shut down right away. Didn’t cost us anything either, but still a pain.

  23. kathy

    We’re waiting on new VISA cards – 2nd time in about 3 months for online fraud also. We NEVER use the VISA other than online and I’m really getting sick of shutting down cards and getting new ones. I wish we had better options.

  24. Anne

    I had my Visa ATM card cloned a couple months ago. Thankfully, the bank’s automatic system caught it and called me when whoever it was tried to pull $500 out of an ATM. But damn, that was stressful! That’s not credit….that was my HARD EARNED CASH!!!!! *falls over in a dead faint*

  25. Cheryl

    I had my grown son help me order a new computer online, and used my VISA to pay for it. We completed the order and he sat back and smiled at me and said”…wait for it, wait for it…..3, 2,1) and the phone rings. Yep – it’s VISA, confirming the order. He laughed and told me he had ordered some computer stuff a couple of weeks ago and the same thing happened to him. When we questioned VISA they said that fraudulent computer orders were a huge problem right then, and they had most cards flagged for these types of orders. I was totally amazed that they called within 5 minutes of the order being placed.

    Seems like long-distance food orders are the new computer order scam for credit cards. Nice to know the credit card companies have our backs (sometimes, at least)!!!

  26. pam

    I just watched a special about criminals who have some sort of handheld computer thingy (true technical term!) that can scan your credit card in your wallet or purse and they can do it just by walking by you! The way to stop this is a plastic like shield you put around all your cards. Scary sheet man…

  27. EmmaC

    My card number also got stolen via virtual methods a while back. The credit card company was flagged when the thief purchased some astronomical amount of fine wine and designer clothing. Apparently this isn’t my “typical purchasing behavior.” TRUE! The thief probably would have slid under the radar a little longer if he’d just gone to Trader Joe’s and TJ Maxx instead.

  28. liz


  29. Nelson's Mama

    My husband bought $9,000 of Viagra; you have absolutely no idea how tired I am! ;-)

  30. Aimee

    VERY creepy. You know, croutons do NOT travel well, and they would totally be all soggy before the party. And we all know it’s not a Caesar salad without croutons.

  31. Tara

    I must be missing something. If they ordered $3000 worth of food, whats to day that they didn’t max out the card? Then what would they steal? The Caesar salad? Weird!

  32. Stimey

    Oh no. That’s kind of terrifying. Thank goodness for kind people who go the extra mile to alert you. But what a weird thing to do with a stolen number. I’m glad it’s working out and I hope there are no other repercussions.

  33. Beaner

    My husband works at the MSP Airport and they have had several employees credit card #’s stolen and used. There is a new scam that is being done where a person has a portable card reader and it can read right thru a purse, wallet, billfold etc. New “As Seen on TV” Alumi Wallet is supposed to be able to stop this kind of Credit Card theft. I do not know personally – I am guessing anyone who has had theirs stolen wouldn’t mind trying this $10.00 Alumi Wallet. Your cards are NEVER safe, unless you do not have any.

  34. Nothing But Bonfires

    Maybe it was a party for a diet club? A weight loss goal party? The final episode of the Biggest Loser? Because yeah, a party that only serves salad is not a party I would be too jazzed to attend. Unless I could sneak in a hamburger in my purse.

    (PS: Also that sucks. Thank goodness for good samaritans in Florida!)

  35. Crista

    DH had to fight with his bank earlier this summer after fraudulent charges were made on his Visa debit card. At first the bank refunded the money, but upon further investigation, they took the money back. The bank said that the purchaser provided information that only my husband would have *and* it went thru Verified by Visa. Welll, DH had never signed that card up for Verified by Visa so he suggested that the bank tell the other end that they were full of bullcrap. After another two weeks of “investigating,” we finally got our $86 back for good.

  36. Katie in MA

    WTH?! That has to be the weirdest stolen cc transaction ever. I mean…chicken salads? Not stereo equipment? Flumoxed. But thankful.

  37. Tracy B

    Discover ROCKS!!! Same thing happened to me but it was charges at . They called me about 5 minutes after the charge was made to confirm because of unual activity. I was freaked out but afterwards, now I feel complete comfort knowing they have my back!

  38. Amy

    My old, dead (or so I thought) school-issued laptop went missing from the school I teach at a couple years ago. I didn’t think much of it since it had practically no monetary value anymore and when it was shelved it wouldn’t start up. But shortly after it disappeared, I noticed some strange activity on my PayPal account. Someone was trying to move about $2000 around in such a way that they’d be able to just collect the cash. I caught it before anything went through, and I never did figure out who was responsible, but the surprisingly helpful people at PayPal were able to tell me that someone navigated to their page, typed in my username and password, moved stuff around, and logged out. I’m guessing the laptop thief (which could be a former student) got it up and running and then somehow found my passwords on it. Creepy.

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