Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Necessary EVIL

Credit Cards.

Necessary to build credit, so you can get things like car loans and mortgages.

But desired to be stolen by thieves who want fancy things, but don't want to pay for them.

While I was in Europe, I used my credit card for two purchases while I was in Ireland.  One for a blanket and one for a sweater.  The sweater is what my parents got me as an early birthday present.  I also had to write a credit card number on the VAT return receipts so they would be able to easily return my VAT.

Well, during one of those transactions, or off one of those forms, my credit card number was stolen.  I have to be very careful to say number, because I still had the card on me.

Adam is in charge of all of our finances, paying bills, etc.  We discuss everything that happens with our money, but he is in charge of paying the bills.  Which just got drastically easier since all of our utilities are included in our rent here.  He's in charge because I would spend our savings.  I understand that savings are important, but I am TERRIBLE at saving.  Because I see things I desire, and if I have the savings, I will buy it.  So, Adam's in charge.  He checks our statements frequently, making sure things hit when they are supposed to.  Our bills, etc.  Well, Thursday night he noticed a fraudulent charge from a Tax Free Return Company in the UK.

I used a company called Fexco Tax Free while in Ireland.  I do not recommend it.  They keep 40% of your VAT as a fee, which I didn't know until after I got back.  Lame, do NOT use them.  I will not when I travel again.  I emailed Fexco to ask them to fix this, because even though the name that appeared with the charge wasn't Fexco, I wanted to make sure that it wasn't some trick by them.  I got an email back Friday morning confirming my worst fears.  It wasn't from them.  Our number was stolen.

This is fraught with issues.  The Friday in question is May 13th.  We were supposed to pick up our moving truck that night and the Credit Union told us to keep future fraudulent charges from coming through we would have to cancel the card and issue new ones.  Which, is not a big deal for normal situations, but we wouldn't be in Lansing again until Saturday and we needed that card to be able to rent our truck. Craaaaaaap!

After much juggling, one of my friends who lives in Lansing and was coming up to help us move agreed to pick up our new cards for us and the Credit Union okayed it.  They still called me to verify that it was ok even after the lady I had spoken with said she would put a note in our account and I had sent a message through their secure message center.

I am very happy with how the Credit Union handled everything.  Their customer service is top notch.  We ended up having to use our debit card to pay for the truck instead of our credit card because Courtney got to Mount Pleasant after our reserved pick up time.

Everything worked out in the end, and they reverted the fraudulent charge, but it was stress I really could have done without during our moving time while I was already stressed out to the max and a great big bottle of emotions as it was.  I cry easily, especially when I am frustrated and I was close to tears most of the day.  Vomit.

Bottom line: You can be as careful as you want, but eventually, your credit card number will probably be guessed or stolen.  *Sigh*

Constant Vigilance!

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