Thursday, January 04, 2007

Not the Start I was Hoping For

Somehow, someone got ahold of my debit card number and racked up $173 in charges on my checking account. This has caused two overdraft transfers from my savings and a bounced check - to the tune of $205.

The very nice lady at the Credit Union told me that these thieves have a way of collecting your card info when you use an ATM. I'm not sure how, or when it happened. The charges started December 28th and the last time I used an ATM was December 21st. The scum perpetrating this slick scam didn't make large charges. They were small amounts appearing as "network" or "phone biller" charges. They showed up as point of sale transactions to 800 numbers. No charges were over $30, but they were frequent: 9 charges over 7 days, with 6 more denied charges due to insufficient funds.

Living paycheck to paycheck has it's advantages. I can only imagine how much they would have gotten, if I had a large balance, or only balanced my checkbook once a month. I check my balance online at least once a week.

Tomorrow I have to sit down with a service rep and write a letter formally disputing the charges. The nice lady told me I would be reimbursed the overdraft fees and the Credit Union would draft a letter explaining the fraud to the place where my check bounced. You cannot cash a check at this establishment for 14 days after a bounced check either clears, or you pay in cash.

The nice lady called two of the phone numbers of the fraudulent charges. The first just kept ringing. The second answered. When she asked the business she had dialed, the thick accented man replied, "You called me". When she started explaining the situation to the man, he hung up. Pretty shady.

My debit card was cancelled & shredded. Good timing, my check was to be direct deposited in an hour. Those SOB's weren't going to get anymore out of me. Bad timing with an empty gas tank, no cash & no way to cash a check (see above). SuperDad offered to give me some cash to tide me over. I feel like a total loser taking money from my parents. The circumstances of the situation don't matter, in my mind. I'm 42 years old and shouldn't be borrowing money from my parents. Add to that the guilt of them not accepting repayment or taking a check for the cash. Put everything else they're going through on top of that and I've got enough guilt to take me through the next millennium. That's just how I am.

Subject change.

My 21 year old puss; Cuddles is showing her age. It's been a week now. She's having trouble walking and her hind end gives out. She fell when attempting to jump on the couch & has fallen off the back of the couch. She walks like a drunk. Her eyesight is fine. Her hearing has been going for a while now. I'm hesitant in bringing her to the vet, because of the stress it would cause. She also hasn't been to the vet in years and the first thing they'll want to do is give her a rabies shot. To me, it's completely irrelevant to give a cat that has had zero risk of exposure to rabies in 15 years a rabies shot. Nevermind the fact that there's probably nothing they can do for her, she's just old. I understand that the vet would be legally bound to do this to protect other patients. She is still eating, drinking, pooping & peeing. I've made a soft bed for her next to my bed and that's where she spends all her time now, sleeping. It breaks my heart to know what's coming. As long as she's not suffering, I'd prefer she end her time at home, with me. Of course, if she tells me it's time, I will make that trip. She's a beautiful Calico that has brought such joy to my life (will post pictures of her lovable face soon). Never has a cat had such a fitting name, Cuddles. She reaches out and grabs your hand for more scratches and cuddles. She is the gentlest of felines, nothing but love from her.

Needless to say, this isn't exactly the start I was hoping for in the New Year. Maybe, I should have kept it simple and prayed for a better year in 2007. I almost titled this post "What the Fuck?!" Fitting, doncha think?


Chunks said...

Holy crap! What luck you've had of's bizarre. Thank God you caught on to the f'ers before they really cleaned you out!

Poor Cuddles. It isn't easy when they get old but I am sure she has had a wonderful life with you and that you will do everything you can to make her transition into her next life go as smoothly as possible. Hug her and cuddle her as long as you can.

Sending you a big hug...I'd send you cash but Canadian money isn't worth shit in the US!!

Sharfa said...

Chunks - Gawd, I luv u girl! We are so much alike it's frightening! You totally get me and my writing and our humor is the same! Given what you have recently been through with Taz, you completely understand what I'm going through.Thank you for the laugh, and the hug. Back at cha lady!

Sharfa said...

My bad, I meant Fozzie.

Ericka said...

wow. happy new year. well, if the karma thing works, you should win the lottery here any minute.

i'm sorry. we had to put our dog down this summer, and knowing it was coming was hell. and now there's a dog food commercial out that makes me cry every time i see it. it's clips of people and their older dogs while 'time is on my side' plays in the background. *sniffle* you have my sympathy.

James Cooper said...

Geez, at the very least I guess your small balance and frequent statement inspections kept the thief from getting too much out of it.

I've read that one of the biggest sources of credit/debit-card fraud is actually at restaurants and other such businesses where they take your card away for payment. The employee walks off with your card and sometimes they write down the number and security number, sometimes they even photocopy your signature on the back. Thankfully most banks and other financial institutions are very understanding about fraud, particularly when you catch it early on.

As for Cuddles, I lost my dog of near thirteen years back in early 2005 so I have a good sense of how it feels to lose one's pet -- particularly one that manages to really become a part of the family. You did get to spend a nice long time with Cuddles though, so that is something to be grateful for.

Oh, and here's a photo I recently found on an old computer that brought a smile to my face :-)

KFarmer said...

You would think with all the techno stuff we have now a days, your stuff would be safe. I hope they catch the bastard.

I'm sorry and you have my sympathy for Cuddles and her declining health. I know she holds a special place in your heart.

Hugs to you dear one-

Suldog said...

God bless you, Sharfa. You are not having the best of it, are you? Things will get better, of course, but for now I wish there was something else I could offer you besides good wishes and prayers. Keep your chin up.

Sharfa said...

Ericka - Thank you. Like you and many others, pets are not just pets to me and my family - they are family.

James - I LOVE that PIC! Thanks for sharing. The bank is crediting all the service charges and fraudulent charges. Thats what federal insurance is for. But, they sure are taking there sweet ass time about it. I saw the first credit today - 5 days after reporting it.

K - luv ya girl.

Suldog - when will it get better? It's only getting worse.......see todays post.