Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ripped Off, Big-Time

Our checking account has been emptied thanks to the purchase of four airline tickets on Wednesday in Chicago. We haven't been there and we haven't bought any tickets. Tomekia Scott and Frank Taylor, whoever they are, flew to Charlotte on same-day tickets bought with our debit card. Kareen and Kamara Couch flew from Chicago to Atlanta courtesy my checking account balance. We also don't know them. Even if we did, we certainly would not buy plane tickets for them.
I feel like we're in that identity theft comerical for MasterCard. The good news, if there is any, is that some criminal piece of crap got a debit card number and not a credit card number. That means the amount of money that can be stolen is finite.
The bad news is: all of our debit cards are cancelled. It doesn't matter, because there's no money in the account, anyway. The worse news is that our overdraft protection kicked in, meaning Tomekia Scott, Frank Taylor, Kareen Couch and Kamala Couch caused us to go into debt to support their travels, not to mention their thievery.
We called the bank, but there's no customer service person available on a Sunday, so we wait. We called the FBI, who told us to let the bank handle the initiation of an investigation and prosecution. We called the airlines, one of which was terrific, the other of which sadly employs the Society of Cluelessness on Sundays.
For the record, United Airlines handled my call and my questions with great efficiency. The man who answered the phone obviously understood the seriousness of what was happening and offered solid information along with valuable advice. U.S. Air hung up on me three times as I was transferred around to Who Knows Where before I finally, on my fourth phone call and all the commensurate "telephone menu hell" spoke to someone who has English as his primary language and seemed to grasp my plight.
Here's a lesson: check your account activity often. My wife went on-line and discovered the posts to our account from the airlines, as well as the overdraft protection deposits. She understandably went into a little freakout. I spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon chasing down information. If it had involved United exclusively, I might have spent significantly less time fretting about all this. Maddeningly, the call center for U.S. Air found itself enshrouded in a cloud of Idiot Gas and I was forced to choke on it.
So we sit in suspense until we can track down someone from the bank on Monday morning. In the meantime, if you know Kareen Couch, Kamala Couch, Tomekia Scott or Frank Taylor who flew out of Chicago on Wednesday, let them know the Feds are coming after them.

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Seth said...

Something similar happened to me last summer...hopefully your bank is a great and responsive as mine. Once it was obvious my account had been accessed, they had the money back in there w/in two hours.

Good luck.

Ken Jenkins said...

Wow, that is scary. Do you have any idea how that got your numbers?

Darrell said...

I have no idea...and the bank said it would be 3-5 days before this is resolved.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me this time last year at the McDonalds on Shreveport Barksdale Hwy. I bought several lunches for work and used my debit card. I didn't get it back, and the young lady proceeded to go on a shopping spree at Target, Walmart and County Market and several Fina stations for gas. Cap. One credited my account the next day and said the amount was too small to press charges, even though I had a receipt with the cashiers name on it.