Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things that go bump in the night

What creeps you out? The branches of an overgrown shrub outside your bedroom window scraping the side of the house in the wind? The sound you thought you heard in the basement when no one else is home? Maybe the dog suddenly perking up and barking for what appears to be no reason?

Forget that. The real life horror these days are the people who steal your information online.

Work up bright and early Monday morning from an automated call from the Wells Fargo fraud department, asking us to call back, which I did. Went through the usual series of "enter your billing zip code" questions, then got to the crux of the call. The system asked if we recognized a $300 charge to Yahoo something-or-other the night before. Nope. And in clicking the no option, we were immediately connected to a real person. They ran down a list of recent charges on the account. $50 at Paper Zone. Yeah, that's us ... making invitations for Kate's graduation Open House. $29 at Target. Yep, that's us, too. As was the Union 76 charge and the Land of Nod rug purchase. But the $190 to T-Mobile of Bellevue? Sorry, we have AT&T and live at the other end of the state. And the Yahoo purchases — there were two — not us either.

So long story short, the cards were immediately canceled, we can't access the funds in the account, and we'll be receiving paperwork to fill out and documentation to sign within 5 to 10 business days. After that, we will at some point get the money from the bogus charges returned to our account.

When I asked the fraud expert if there was anything we had done to cause this, she said no. "They're just really good at what they do," she told me. "And what they do is figure out ways to beat the system and steal other people's money. It's their job."

Personally, I'd like to see them change jobs. I hear the license plate foundry at the Walla Walla State Prison is hiring.


  1. Sorry to hear that happened to you. Working for a financial institution I feel for you. We deal with this stuff everyday and almost every day they find a new way to get at your money. You are right...that is the real scary stuff.

    Hope everything works out.


  2. Hey Frog Queen!

    It happened to us once via our iQ debit card, too, many years ago. Seems the Pizza Hut we ordered from was, unbeknownst to us, notorious for stealing credit card numbers. So they helped themselves to a shopping spree using our number. They were caught ... and iQ was wonderful about returning our money. But come on, people, use your powers for good!