Saturday, October 1, 2016

I'm Angry. I Feel Violated. All I Can Do Now Is Wait.

Something happened yesterday and it made me very, very angry. Shortly after making the discovery, and multiple phone calls, we were at Kohl's. I had to fight back tears. Today, I've been a teary mess on and off. I'm angry. I feel violated. I'm disgusted. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I don't exactly know how to deal with it. I was hesitant to share, but I don't want to hide the messes. I wanted to share in hopes that people who have been through something similar would come forth with their stories.

When Lisa arrived home from work mid-afternoon yesterday, we skipped out to enjoy a brief combination date and errand night. We needed to run a few errands. At some point, we planned to grab a bite to eat.

Our first stop was Michael's. I had a coupon that I wanted to use on a basic cake piping set. At the register, I used my bank card. It wouldn't go through. I tried again. Same thing.

We were baffled. I paid a couple of small bills earlier, but there was more than enough funds to cover the cost.

Once we got back to our vehicle I logged into my bank account. I was over $5 in the hole.


I immediately noticed a transaction for over $200 made at an Office Depot/Office Max in Florida. It was pending.

I called my bank. They cancelled my bank card. I was informed I could file a dispute once the transaction went through. Another bank card would be sent within 5-10 business days. Once I filed a dispute, I would have to wait another 5-10 business days for it to be resolved.

That didn't help me. The money that had been stolen from my account was going to fund our errands and grocery shopping. 

After getting off the phone with the bank, we took it a step further. I located the number to the Office Depot/Office Max in Florida, where the unauthorized purchase had been made, and spoke to a customer service representative. She was more than helpful. In fact, she went above and beyond.

The customer service representative, Bev, not only pulled up the receipt for the transaction, but she remembered the sales associate saying something along the lines of "things were a little fishy."

A woman went into the store and purchased 6 feet of cable and a $200 MasterCard Gift Card. She ran a fraudulent bank card, in my name, through as credit. When asked for an ID, she showed and ID with my name and her face.

I inquired as to why the sales associate proceeded with the transaction if things were fishy. I was informed that both the card and ID had a signature on it and "technically" they couldn't refuse a sale if both were provided.

I used to be in retail management. If something seems fishy about a credit or bank card and/or an ID, you most certainly can pause the sale and look into it.

However, disputing the lack of knowledge and responsibility of the cashier wasn't going to solve anything.

After several more discussions with Bev, I was instructed to call back today when the assistant manager would be in. Bev left all the information on the management desk and gave her word that she'd follow through.

She did.

I called today. They were going to view the security cameras. Unfortunately, the company would not be able to refund the purchase. That was something I'd have to take up with the bank who, in return, would take it up with the company.

That's where I'm at now. The transaction is still pending. I can't file a dispute until the transaction has processed.

I'm angry.

It's the type of anger that prevents me from focusing on much and causes outbursts of tears. There's nothing I can do except play the waiting game.

For the life of me, I can't wrap my head around why someone would do this or how this was even possible. I know it happens. It happens a lot. People's credit and bank cards are hacked, by whatever means, and used in locations hundreds of miles away. The victims aren't aware unless they get a call from the credit card company or bank or their cards are frozen and they can't make a purchase.

And apparently, in this day and age, the technology is so great that detecting these fraudulent cards and ID's are difficult to detect.

Technology isn't the only thing to blame.

When I was a retail manager almost 2 decades ago, we were drilled with information and we knew how to detect fraudulent cards and ID's. We went to training classes for this stuff. Back then, they didn't have the technology they have today.

Why aren't sales associates required to go through these training classes? We are amid the digital age. Criminals are getting smarter. Despite the greatest of efforts to protect the consumer, there are many gaps and room for improvement. Part of that is educating sales associates. Those are the ones who handle the transactions.

I'm trying to get over this emotional hurdle. No amount of anger or tears will reverse time. It happened. We did everything we could up until this point. When the transaction processes, I'll file a dispute.

And wait. And wait. And wait.

For now, I'll work on moving beyond this point.

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