Sunday, January 20, 2013

You did what?!

Just the other day as I was sitting outside of Starbucks, enjoying our lovely weather,  knitting & sipping a peppermint mocha latte, my phone lit up with an incoming email from PayPal confirming a purchase.    What, I wondered could this be?   I did not remember buying anything via PayPal, but I was not too worried because my youngest son sometimes uses my account for his purchases (always with my prior blessing).   Still it is better to be safe than sorry so I opened the email and just about choked.   It was a confirmation of a $500 payment to a moving company I have never heard of.   "Holy Crap" said I, as I called Hubby.  

He was much less worried than I was.   He said it was probably just a phishing email, that I should not click on any links in it, just go home, check my account balance (which after a $500 purchase would have been    -$495!) and PayPal transactions, and forward the email to PayPal's fraud address.    I did as he suggested.   My checking account balance was low but not negative and the transaction did not show on my PayPal account.   I forwarded the email to and pat myself on the back for not following any of the links.  That should have been the end of it, but it was not.  

PayPal got back to me very quickly, to let me know that this was not a phishing email but a legitimate notification of payment.   WHAT?!    After being transferred here and there, this is what I found out.   Someone used my credit card to make a purchase via PayPal.   They did not do so through my account but as a guest.    Because that credit card is associated with my PayPal account, I was sent a confirmation (thank heavens!).    The fraud rep was wonderful.   She stopped the purchase, fixed it so that, that credit card can never be used with PayPal again, and advised me to call the credit card company to close the card.

While calling the credit card company, Hubby logged in to check the activity on the card.   Sure enough, there was the $500 pending charge, but that was not all.   Apparently someone bought a freaking car with my credit card.   Now here is the thing, that card is still in my wallet.   How does someone buy a car with a credit card that they can not produce and no matching identification?    Again, the fraud rep was lovely, the card is closed, a replacement is on the way, and we are not responsible for any of the fraudulent charges.

Even though we stopped it quickly (thanks to PayPal) and no long term harm was done (To us, someone at that Ford dealership in Pensacola better be in trouble), I am still really upset about the whole thing.  It is all rather creepy.   I have no idea where the number was stolen.  Over the last couple of months the only charges to that card were two Target, two Staples, one to our plumber, Walgreen's and an art class fee.   That means that the theft almost certainly took place locally, at someplace where I shop regularly, and that just makes me want to take a shower.


  1. It’s bothersome how frauds can easily get your personal information. That’s why I am extra cautious when giving out personal information, especially over the phone and online. When going out, I only carry essential documents with me. I only carry one credit card with me, and never bring my social security card, birth certificate, or passport with me unless needed.

    Annie Valdez

  2. One of the things I fear for my personal belongings is someone else using my credit card. I have learned from the experience of a very close family friend that keeping records of your credit card will protect you from scammers. These criminals don’t have to have your card with them when they use it online. They just hack through a couple of websites, and that’s it. A credit protection plan would be ideal to prevent this.

    Cinthia Mull

  3. Fraudulent activities today are more rampant because of the emergence of advanced technologies. I was once a victim of unknown expenses being charged to my credit card, so I quickly took action and contacted my bank. Luckily, they were able to trace the culprit and gave me compensation.

    Bobbi Burtch