Dixie Peach: Hyphenated Theft

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hyphenated Theft

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.

So there.



Blogger sari said...

That burns me up but I'm glad your bank is so on top of things (and that you are, too!). I use a separate card for the rare instances I buy anything online so I can watch out for that too.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Princess Cat's Pajamas said...

(((((Dixie and B)))))

I'm glad your bank is so vigilant! And I hope that the rotten, thieving bastard gets what's coming to him.

11:15 PM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

One of Mrs. TBF's work colleagues had his corporate AMEX number stolen while he was on business in the U.S. Nobody noticed anything until he received his bill with charges amounting to over CHF 80,000 (about $72,000). The person/people bought wine, a car, new tires, etc., etc. Of course, he wasn't liable for any of it; not really sure what the final outcome was.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous PKB said...

MARTHA FOCKER!! Goes in the same catagory as the SOB who hacked my gmail account last summer.

That is so scary.

12:24 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Yikes! I come to your blog and read this and then move on to read Eurotippen's latest entry and she writes about *exactly the same thing* happening to them. Except that as an extra bonus their bank failed to notify them about suspicious activity. Freaky.

And yes, I do believe there IS a splinter laden stool in Hell for the type of person who does this. There just has to be.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Thanks for telling me about what happened to her, Christina - I went over and left her a comment. How she was treated is inexcusable. I hope she tells Deutsche Bank where to cram it because I sure never got that sort of bad treatment from Sparkasse.

12:59 AM  
Blogger EuroTrippen said...

Wow, I wish we had your banker. We do have a person in charge of our account and she was the one dodging us all day. Finally at the end of the day she calls us from home (seems she'd taken off early) and has us fax everything to her.

I have no doubt it'll work out eventually, but it's been all kinds of stressful in the meantime.

The worst part for me... the thought that some jerk is sitting around with all kinds of pilfered goods laughing at us and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Oh well, karma will catch up to him/her/it eventually.

1:19 AM  
Blogger monica said...

Happy to hear your bank is on top of things. We had the same thing happen to us and the bank caught it and issued a new card right away. I am so happy there are people keeping an eye out for those who will surely have splintery behinds in their future.

4:42 AM  
Blogger UmmFarouq said...

There is something to be said for little German banker types. They are on top of things! Hurrah for their steadfastness. It could have been much worse for you and I'm so glad it wasn't.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Sebastian said...

@"German banker types"
In my experience the municipality-/district-owned regional Sparkassen and the customer-owned Volksbanken care much more for the John Does (or Otto Normalverbrauchers) out there than the private wannabe-"global player"-banks.
As on everything: exceptions prove the rule...

2:52 PM  
Blogger UmmFarouq said...

I meant nothing negative when I wrote "German banker types." We've always referred to two nephews/grandsons in our family as "German banker types" because they handle their money scrupulously well. It was meant as a compliment. :)

I'm a big fan of the small banks, personal banking, having the same teller for years who knows you and your family and gives extra lollipops to the kiddies. Jordan, unfortunately, has fallen prey to the HSBCs of the world.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

B laughed at the "German banker type" comment - he's much the same way when it comes to our money.

Sebastian, as a matter of fact the bank with which this stolen credit card incident happened is a Sparkasse. The Sparkasse in the DDR merged with the Sparkasse in the west and it's a big reason my husband's family is well known at the neighborhood Sparkasse where their account has been for...well...forever. I agree with you - I think you get the best customer service at Sparkasse as opposed to banks like Deutsche Bank. EuroTrippen's unfortunate experience seems to back that up since her stolen credit card problem was with Deutsche Bank. That's just an opinion though - others may have a different experience.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Rat Bastards!

7:19 PM  

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