Morphing into John Travolta in a picture is not exactly what I am talking about, but it is just about that easy to steal someones identity. In November of this past year, I walked into a Dick’s Sporting Goodsstore (one of my favorites places by the way) to begin my Christmas shopping. To my surprise when I went to check out, my credit card was rejected. I knew this couldn’t be right because I always pay it off every month and it has a limit well beyond anything I ever use it for. Doesn’t matter, no how many times they ran it through the reader it was rejected. Fortunately, I had another card with me that I was able to use. So, except for the slight embarrassment of being rejected, everything was fine. All I had to do now was find out why my card was rejected. Not being the patient type, I called the number on the back of my card while walking to my truck in the parking lot. I never thought I would be a victim of identity theft. Never say never.
Identity Theft and Capital One – No Hassles
Capital One promptly answered and, after I was able to verify my identity, they thanked me for calling so promptly, and explained why they rejected the card. They told me that they had noticed some suspicious Internet charges against my card that didn’t match my normal spending patterns. They went on to say, that as long as I verified these charges were in fact mine, they would gladly reinstate my card. As they read me the charges, I found myself extremely happy I was doing business with these people. They were exactly right. They read me charge after charge from places I had never heard of. Everything from a Mercedes Dealer in Palm Springs Florida, to an expensive name brand sporting goods outfit in California, to Dell Computer Sales and Service in Texas. In total there were more than fifteen different charges in a ten day period that exceeded $3000.00. All charges were placed over the the Internet, but that doesn’t explain how they got my card numbers.
Check out the business credit cards available on CardOffers.com
Customer Service at its Best
I explained to the customer service representative how I was still in possession of both my card and my wife’s card and that I was unaware of how this could have happened. They explained that it was not unusual and that it could have happened any number of ways, none of which was my fault. They suggested I destroyed my current cards and they would send me a new ones overnight. They removed the charges that I could immediately determine were not mine and told me to check my next bill closely for any others that may not be mine. They also took the time to explain that they would be sending me the forms and information to permanently remove, not only these charges, but any other future fraudulent charges that would probably be dwindling in over the next few weeks. They informed me that in no way would I be held responsible for any fraudulent charges.
Capital One – On Line Account the only way to go!
The account was killed immediately and I received my new cards two days later. I decided to set up my new account on line with Capital One. This way I can actually see the charges coming in on a daily basis rather than waiting for my monthly bill in the mail. It was well worth it since they were once again correct. More charges continued to dwindle in against my old card number for almost three weeks. All I had to do was give them a quick call and they immediately removed all the charges that were not mine. No questions, no hassles. The following day I was able to verify they were gone by simply logging into my account. It is also a great way to manage your payments on a real time basis. No more worries about whether your payment made it through the mail.
Capital One Lives Up to Their Promise
In the end I received a very nice letter telling me the fraud investigation was resolve and closed. The letter apologized for both the stress and inconvenience it might have caused me. It also said, that as a part of their $0 fraud liability promise, that I was not responsible for any fraudulent charges. The letter informed me there was nothing else I needed to do! I was Done! It said they hoped that I was satisfied with how the case was handled and that they also hoped I could relax and get back to life as usual knowing that Capital One will continue to protect, monitor, and resolve any issues with my account. That’s their promise! In my opinion, they kept it!
Summary – Capital One Rocks!
It’s pretty scary when you find out that someone else has found access to your personal finances and accounts without your knowledge. I was lucky, but some are not so lucky. Fortunately, I had Capital One take care of my issues with no hassles. Now, don’t let me try to convince you that it was completely without hassles. It was a bit of a pain in the rear end to have to continue to check my account and call the fraud department with any new developments. It was a slight pain to fill out the forms they sent every time more charges were added to the fraud claim. I even received a call from the Mercedes Dealer in Palm Springs hoping to collect his money. It was a bit stressful not knowing what would be charged next or whether I should actually use my new cards. But Capital One took care of it and made it as simple as possible.
I’m sure there are some other good credit card companies out there. Whether you choose CitiBank, WorldPerks® Visa® Platinum Card, Pulaski Bank Visa® Card, Discover, HSBC Bank or some other company is up to you but, from my personal experience I can’t imagine there is any better than Capital One. They took care of me!
Ten Things you can do to protect your Identity!
I know of a few others who are still trying to untie the knots created by Identity theft. Don’t be one of them! There are lots of services out there – like Reputation.com’s Reputation Defender, for example – that can monitor your credit score for indications of identity theft. If you don’t want to pay a fee to have your identity professionally protected, then there are still plenty of things that you can do on your own to help prevent your identity from being stolen. Following is a list of ten things you can do to help prevent your own identity theft:
- Be careful who you do business with over the Internet. Use only those you are absolutely sure are reputable.
- Be careful who you allow to handle your card. Many times the card numbers are recorded along with the 3 digit code by the person handling your card.
- Never give out social security numbers, credit card numbers on any financial information over the phone unless you know exactly who you are speaking with.
- Never respond to any offers over the Internet regarding prizes you may have won, or money you may be entitled to, no matter how good it sounds or how interesting it may seem.
- Never throw anything in the trash that might contain financially sensitive information. Shred it first!
- Check your credit rating often. Once a year it is free from all three majors. Place fraud alerts on your credit reports.
- Deal only with reputable Credit card companies. I personally recommend Capital One!
- Opt-out of unsolicited credit card offers and junk mail.
- Understand your rights and your limited responsibility.
- Consider protecting yourself with a Identity Theft Protection. While they offer nothing you can’t actually do yourself, they do provide the convenience and piece of mine that it will get handled. The two largest are LifeLock® and Debix, but I also recommend checking them as just as thoroughly as any other financial institution to make sure they really offer what you actually need.
Identity Theft … It can happen to you! It happened to me! Papa B.