Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crunching The Credit

Ever since we found out I was expecting Little Miss Flash, J and I have started working aggressively towards getting ourselves out of debt. For me, this has meant paying off the 3 credit cards in my possession as well as getting my student loan debt in order. As of the end of September, I officially paid off 2 cards in full and am working to get that 3rd paid off before the baby gets here. As far as the student loans go, J has been awesome and is helping me with finding out if I can refinance or get a better payment plan going. So all that has been going on with the aforementioned is a definite positive for us. Less debt = more money saved. Pretty simple when you think about it, but I guess neither of us ever really considered being as aggressive about paying off our revolving balances until we found out about the Flash.

Major life changes, I'm telling you.

When there is a positive, there is often a negative...so to the negative. On Sunday night, J and I were were working and I decided I needed a break. While taking my 15 minute breather, I decided to check on the last credit card I need to pay off. I've been autopaying about 2.5x the minimum balance for the past 4 months, so I hadn't been really monitoring the card seeing as how I haven't used this particular one for several months. If I'm not using the card, there shouldn't be a potential for any transactions, so while I was paying off the other 2 cards, I left the monitoring of this one alone. I shouldn't have.

Apparently someone stole my card or my card number and has been charging pornography to my card since July. When I first pulled up my account summary, I was dumbfounded. My progress was going NOWHERE. Why wasn't my balance going down more than it was - seeing as how I have been paying a good amount over the minimum?

I started examining my statements and discovered mysterious transactions. Not the disgustingly high finance charge. But actual transactions. Transactions with receipt numbers. Transactions that listed the website(s) where said transactions were made. All of these were for pornography. Porn. I don't do porn. And if I were to be all about the porn, I certainly wouldn't purchase it online. Have I mentioned that haven't used this card since last fall? I haven't swiped it since I decided to stop using it until I got my balance down to a more manageable status? And no, J didn't use the card for the porn either.

Whatever happened to the fraud department calling me and asking me about these charges? Mysterious porn charges. The card has been inactive for several months, and then suddenly decent sums of money are being spent on porn. You would think the fraud department would call and inquire. Nope. No dice. Apparently they don't have the time to call people who have more than a 50% balance on their cards, stop making purchases on their card for several months in order to try to pay it down, and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum. I've always been a more than minimum payment maker, just not as high as the past few months.

Long story short. I spent almost 3 hours on the phone with the fraud department on Sunday night. Got my account credited to where it should be. Cancelled the card and am being issued a new one.

I figure there are some scenarios of how this may have happened: someone surreptitiously took the card out of my bag, wrote the numbers down and then started using it; someone went through my garbage and pieced together an old statement I accidentally threw away without shredding; someone somehow got the number by hacking into my secure account and the firewall I have set up on my computer is junk...but then this couldn't really be the case since my other two cards are fine; this credit card company was the victim of some sort of hacker themselves; or something may have happened when i was out of the country in april/may.

What do I think happened? I simply do not know. Which makes me feel completely gross.

What I do know is that I will definitely be checking EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT I RECEIVE MOVING FORWARD. I can't believe something like this happened to me.


shannon said...

k, check this out, it totally helped us get out of the same mess. we'll be paying off my student loan next month and then we'll attack dave's next year. then we'll be totally debt free.
this is totally legit, and free podcasts too.
good luck!!

shannon said...

also, identity theft, bah!! how frustrating. our mortgage co. had an internal theft of accounts recently so we signed up for this: http://www.zander.com/idtheft/idtheft.aspx

adam said...

porn, who doesn't like porn?!?!?