So, I was sitting at home this afternoon, enjoying some peace and quiet while Blaine took the kids to the bookstore, putting up embarrassing old photos on Facebook, when my phone rang. The caller ID (which, by the way, is about the most wonderful invention ever, isn't it?) said JC Penney.
And for just one brief second, I had a pang of guilt.
JC Penney was the first credit card I ever got. Ever in my life. I was 19 years old and they were the only place that would issue me a card and let me start establishing some credit. I think my credit limit that first year was $100. And I was happy to get it. I hate that vicious cycle, about how you need credit in order to get credit. But they were willing to take a chance on me twenty-three years ago, and I have happily and gratefully held on to my card ever since. Until last week. When in an attempt to get simplify our finances, Blaine and I paid off every credit card we own except our "everyday" Mastercard and our "emergency" Visa, and cut everything else up. Not that it was a TON of cards, or anything .... just three. Good-bye Penneys, Good-bye Sears, Good-bye Kohls.
And when my phone rang and I saw it was JC Penney calling, I thought maybe they somehow ..... knew.
"Ummmm .... hello?" I asked timidly, certain I was about to be lambasted for my betrayal. I haven't actually CANCELED the card yet, so how I thought they already knew isn't quite clear ..... but I was certain they had somehow found out, and were calling to berate me.
"May I please speak to Kristie Escoe?"
"This is she ....." I trailed off.
And the caller went on to identify herself and tell me they were calling about a suspicious online charge that had just gone through .... a men's diamond watch for $565.18. And since I knew Blaine was at the bookstore, not JC Penneys, and that it wouldn't matter because his card had been cut up anyway, and even more than that if he was buying a five hundred dollar diamond watch it had darn well better be for ME .... well, I confirmed it wasn't my charge.
And then the caller gave me the credit card number that was used in the attempt. Hmmm. Not my JC Penney card at all. My freaking MASTERCARD. That we use to pay for EVERYTHING, and then save up all our reward points and pay for Christmas that way every year.
Why does this keep happening to me???
So I called the Mastercard company and discovered thanks to the call by the JC Penney people, they had only gotten me for two other online charges, both for perfume. (PS... what the heck??? Perfume online???) The JC Penney charged was canceled immediately, and the other two charges were only a hundred dollars or so. All told, they didn't get away with much in the way of a dollar amount. Nothing like the four thousand dollars they charged last time. And considering the first charge was five days ago, I'd say they're pretty sucky thieves. Like, tortoise-thieves, at how slow they moved. Do you hear that thieves? Three charges in five days???? I mock you in your slowness!
But still. Here we go again. Here we go again with the waiting on a new card to be delivered. Here we go again having to correct all our auto-withdrawals, and having to change our card number on all our online accounts. Do you KNOW what a pain in the ass it is to change a credit card number on Paypal??? Oh, wait. Maybe it's changing a bank that's so complicated ...
My point is, once again, some nameless, faceless low-life asshole took something that didn't belong to him (or her) and used it to get what they wanted. Which, unless I'm mistaken, is called S.T.E.A.L.I.N.G. And ok, "all" they got was a hundred bucks worth of perfume, while I get the headache and hassle of correcting the situation. And with regards to trickle down economics, and the costs of fraud investigation, and the loss to retailers, and how do you think they shuffle along those costs ..... we all get shafted.
Out of curiosity, can anyone tell me the most likely way this keeps happening? We've both got our cards in our grubby little mitts, so obviously only the number and expiration date, and possibly the security card on the back, were stolen. Is it normally a waiter or cashier? Someone at an online store where I've purchased something? Someone at one of the businesses I auto-pay with this card every month? Or an inside job from someone at Mastercard? After all, this is the third time it's been stolen .... how often does this really happen to people?? And what on earth can we do to prevent it? (Please don't say "cash only" .... I simply don't know how that is a viable option for anyone in our world these days ....)
And what really sucks is I'd like to go out and charge something at my local liquor store just because I'm so annoyed and I think a glass of wine might make me feel better and I can't even do that because my FREAKING CARD DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE AND I WON'T GET MY NEW ONE UNTIL TUESDAY!!! Which, I guess, is actually pretty fast, since I am apparently a "premiere" client and they are going to "expedite" my new card to me.
Of course they are. Because there are other assholes out there, waiting impatiently to steal it.
And in the meantime, my thanks to JC Penney. It makes me feel almost guilty for cutting your card up last week.