Monday, January 23, 2012

Chase Credit Card Fraud Department may also be a Fraud

When I get back from the client site on Thursday, after I've flown back into O'Hare and after I've briskly walked through the terminal, and after I've weighed the merits of the cab line vs. the CTA blue line, and after I've decided that the cab line is the better option because I saw that girl get robbed that one time, and after I've gotten into a cab which I always hope is one of the new clean hybrids but usually ends up a crappy Crown Victoria with a broken seat belt, the LAST thing I want is to find out I've been the target of identity theft.

But that's what happened not too long ago.

As the cab pulled out of the termimal, a voice mail notification popped up. It was a message from Chase, my credit card company, telling me they thought I may have had my card stolen. They instructed me to listen to a number of recent charges and call their number if any of them were not made by me.

$10 at a parking garage in Philadelphia...makes sense

$20 at our most frequent Thai takeout place...probably legit

$800 at a Toys R Us in Colorado...hmmm, might want to look into that one

With that, I called the 800 number Chase gave me to their Fraud department.

After a lengthy series of automated prompts, I got through to a nice representative with an unusual accent. Definitely not American, not even fake American. It also wasn't from Bangalore. Sounded like Central or Eastern European. A little like this guy actually...

So let's call her Peggy.

Peggy explained that Chase detecting some unusual charges on my card and wanted to make sure it hadn't been stolen.

Fortunately, I still had the card in my pocket. It was also fortunate that it was my Chase British Airways Visa, which I use for absolutely nothing other than places that won't accept my SPG American Express. So even if the card was stolen, it wouldn't impact any auto-pay setups like the last time I had a card number change, when taking a drive to Atlantic City nailed me for at least 5 toll violations when it couldn't replenish my account.

So, seriously, this Visa card essentially is only used at that Thai place. Just about nowhere else.

So it was surprising when Peggy told me my card had been charged for $800 at a Toys R Us in Colorado, and $400 at a Red Lobster in California. (Note, I may have transposed the dollar values. It could have been $400 at Toys R Us and $800 at Red Lobster, I honestly can't tell which seems less plausible)

I told her those charges were definitely not mine. I couldn't even envision spending $100 at a Red Lobster! I'm pretty sure it's unlimited shrimp for like $12.99! What the hell would 400 get you? Sex with a lobster? Would people pay for that?

Anyway, the point is the charges were NOT legitimate, and Chase was right to flag it.

Peggy explained how the charges would be cancelled and they'd express ship out a brand new card with a new number.

OK, I said, but will you be able to tell me anything about how my card information was stolen? When you guys follow up on it, can you let me know what you find?

The response from Peggy?

"Well, we typically don't investigate these types of incidents. We just replace the card with a new number and issue a new card. Although if you would like to involve the authorities you can certainly direct them to us and we can provide them any details"

So this was the response? Basically a, "Hopefully it doesn't happen again!" type of thing?

I assumed they had dozens of professional credit card theft police! Some kind of advanced fraud detection unit! A SWAT team of hard-bitten veterans itching to take down those thieving Lobster-screwers!

At least, I had assumed, they could've told me what business was the source of the theft (hint: maybe I should stop eating Pad Thai)

Not exactly.

Instead, they didn't seem to give it a second thought. Someone got my information, so they just changed it, case closed.

Frankly, I'm a little underwhelmed. But again, it's a card I barely use, so even if it happens again, the damage would be limited.

Still...odd that Chase didn't seem to care.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have had Chase (different) airline card fraud multiple times. I can relate to your story, because each time I keep thinking what is it about Chase that makes this so prevalent? They are very nonchalant about it. They know where the last fraudulent charge happened, so why can't they go after the wrongdoer? I am so sick of having to change cards. Literally, between two Chase accounts, this has happened to me 3 times in a 9 month period. It's ridiculous! I am stuck because I like getting the airline points. I will say they are good about flagging the fraud, and denying charges that seem odd to them (somehow).