When the phone rings around here it's seldom for me. Friends and family call but generally it's during the evening here. When the phone rings in the early afternoon you can bet it's not for me. And when it's our banker calling in the early afternoon it's guaranteed he's not looking to talk to me.
I thought so, anyway.
Our credit card is in my name. It's one of those that's not actually connected to a line of credit. Once a month the total of all my charges bills and the amount of the bill is automatically debited from our Girokonto (what would be thought of as a checking account in the US, except we don't have checks). I don't use it very often - mostly for online purchases when the purchase can't be done through a bill or a direct debit from the Girokonto, which usually means when I buy things from vendors outside of Germany. So when our personal banker, Herr B, called asking for me and then proceeded to blather on about how the company our bank uses to watch out for credit card fraud was suspicious about a charge for 85 (euro) cents, I got a little crap-your-pants-panicky. No, I didn't charge anything for 85 cents from the Such-A-Generic-Business-Name-That-It-Actually-Sounds-Fishy Company in Pearl City, USA. No, I've never heard of that company. Yes, oh hell yes, I want you to tell the Watching-Out-For-Credit-Card-Fraud company to deny any future charges coming from the SAGBNTIASF Company in Pearl City, USA.
I hung up the phone less panicky and very pleased with my bank for not only looking out for my credit card but for calling me to ask me about something that looked suspicious. It was pretty obvious that someone had lifted my credit card number from somewhere and put through a test charge of $1 which would amount to about 85 euro cents to see if it would be paid so that later they could put through an great big charge and they were foiled. All was right again in my plastic card and online shopping world.
And then on Saturday a letter arrived from the Watching-Out-For-Credit-Card-Fraud company telling me that they were not only suspicious of the 85 cent charge but two other charges, one for about 35€ and one for about 53€, both charged last Thursday, both charged within 4 minutes of each other and both to an online casino in the UK. Swell! Some thieving bastard had stolen my credit card number and sold it to goodness-only-knows how many other thieving bastards who have no problem whatsoever with stealing from me and my husband. They're stealing from a handicapped guy! Isn't there some special wobbly, splinter laden, three-legged stool in Hell for those who steal from a handicapped guy?
By now not only was I about sick to my stomach but I thought B was going to have a stroke over this. Mr. I-Can-Account-For-Every-Cent-We-Have. The credit card fraud company had denied all the charges so at least I knew our bank account wasn't going to be a hundred clams lighter but I still wasn't feeling comfortable about it all. Neither B nor I were content to wait until Monday to call Herr B at the bank to deal with this for us so we called the credit card fraud company. The very pleasant young lady having to spend her Saturday afternoon cooped up at work trying to deal with cranky, panicky customers who were likewise being ripped off assured us that since we didn't know anything about the charges and since it seemed certain that our card number had been stolen she would arrange to cancel that card and have another credit card reissued. I thanked her kindly, wished her a pleasant weekend and resumed breathing again.
So let this be a lesson to you thieving bastard types. Don't try to steal from us. I'm watching out for you. The handicapped guy you're trying to steal from (for shame!) is watching out for you. Herr B at the bank is watching out for you. And the Watching-Out-For-Credit-Card-Fraud company is watching out for you. And there's a special wobbly, splinter laden, three-legged stool in Hell with your name on it if you don't mend your ways.
Labels: bad stuff