I have not been sleeping particularly well these last few days. Otto was doing a work thing all weekend, which meant he was coming and going at weird hours, and we have a friend of his staying here (for said work thing), as well, and I love our dogs, you know, I love them SO MUCH, they bring such joy to my life, but they are not all that bright about guests in the house. After however many years it’s been (4? 5?), we’ve grown used to Licorice feeling the need to bark anew EVERY SINGLE MORNING no matter how many times she’s already encountered the same stranger in our house. (“You’re still here this morning? BARK! BARK! BARKBARKBARKBARK!”) But now she barks, and then Duncan barks and HOWLS, and no matter how we try to separate them or whatever—say, tucking Duncan in for the night in his customary spot in Monkey’s room, faaaaar from where the men are returning to the house late at night—the moment our guest steps in the house or appears on the stairs in the morning or DARES to visit the bathroom in the night, it’s the Barkpocalypse.
So: I’m sleepy. Sleepier than normal, anyway. I got up this morning and sat down to go through my email and had one of those CUSTOMER FRAUD ALERT DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON emails from Discover Card, which was awesome, because you KNOW how I love it when people screw around with my beloved credit card.
[What? You don’t remember how much I love that? Allow me to refresh your memory: About two years ago I was apparently very fond of salads from Florida, and then a few months later, it was Otto’s turn for a bizarre purchase. As amusing as these incidents are, on some level, it’s still a major pain in the behind.]
I checked out the email and it directed me to log into my account RIGHT AWAY to coordinate with the Fraud Prevention Team, blah blah blah. I hadn’t had my coffee yet, so I went ahead as directed, but figured everything was fine.
Once in my account, I was directed to confirm three recent charges. One was for a dollar at a gas station I frequent, and I know sometimes they charge a dollar before doing the real charge, so I was unsure what to say about that one. One was for a bookshelf I bought this weekend. And the third was a charge of $1.24 to the American Diabetes Association.
I get that thieves often do a small “test” charge to make sure a stolen card is working before they go do their real thieving, but who gives a charity $1.24? Stupid credit card thieves, that’s who.
So I called Discover, rather than doing the online confirmation thing, because I wasn’t sure what to say about that gas station charge, and I spoke with a very nice rep who confirmed that the dollar charge was probably something that would “fall off” with the correct charge input, but agreed that the American Diabetes charge was the reason for the fraud alert.
“And just so I can confirm now that you’ve called, Ms. Kamin,” she added, “Did you attempt to make an $800 purchase this morning at BestBuy.com?”
Huh. Yeah, no. I explained that I hadn’t even had coffee yet, so I was not even in possession of the necessary coordination to form a full sentence. Oddly, I felt vindicated with this information about the additional charge attempt. Rather than salads or boat shoes, at least this time a thief was attempting to get an iPad or something out of me. (And Discover had already declined that purchase, so no worries.)
Discover was gracious and helpful as always, though I couldn’t stop myself from somewhat petulantly pointing out that I haven’t even memorized the number on my current card, yet, since the LAST time I had to get a new card. (MY LIFE IS HAAARD.) Everything was squared away within about ten minutes, and my new card will arrive in 4 to 10 business days.
I use my Discover card for just about everything, so it’s a drag to have no card for a few days until the new one comes, but I do have a MasterCard, as well (because not everyone takes Discover). It’s kind of my backup card. (Oh! Wait! I also have a magical Costco AmEx, though I can only assume that if I ever purchased anything other than $300 worth of snack food at Costco with it, that would also trigger a fraud alert.)
Because I am 1) concerned about the environment and 2) very lazy, I’ve gone paperless on all my accounts, and I’m not always so super great at checking my statements, so after I got off the phone with Discover I thought to myself, “Hmmmm, maybe I should just check my MasterCard account.” I don’t know why this occurred to me, or what I thought I was going to find.
Turns out that it’s been so long since I last logged into that account online, my registration had expired. I had to go aaaaaaaall through the process again (name! social! address! mother’s maiden name! make and model of my first car! special teddy bear’s magic powers! youngest child’s birthmark location!) and was FINALLY granted access to my online account. I pulled up my most recent statement.
There I saw a couple of charges that are automatically billed to my account each month—as expected—and a $250 charge to Amazon.
That’s weird, because I use my Discover card on Amazon. Also, what did I spend $250 on that I now couldn’t remember…?
I pondered. I quizzed my husband. I pondered some more. I finally gave in and called Citibank.
Citibank patiently listened to my paranoid ramblings (“Because, see, I don’t use this card at Amazon, but I know sometimes other places use Amazon billing somehow, so could it be that? I mean, no, I’m not saying it’s fraudulent, I’m saying I’m not sure, and also I haven’t had any coffee yet so could you slow down a little?”) and they called Amazon. A nice rep from Amazon came on the line and asked me how I was, to which I answered that I was a little confused, but otherwise okay.
After a series of questions and volunteering of various email addresses, I finally figured out that I had indeed spent that money. (I did an Amazon gift card giveaway for Black Friday and then purchased the winner’s card from my “work” Amazon account, which does indeed use my MasterCard, and OOPS how did I forget about that?) Everyone was very nice to the distraught customer with early onset dementia (that’s me), and I hung up the phone feeling both relieved and embarrassed.
So that was a fun way to start the day, if by “fun” you mean “confusing,” which I do.