Thursday evening, when I returned from my Adult Ed gig with Margaret and Pippa, we went through an hour or so of thinking that I’d lost my wallet. As it turned out, Margaret did a third check in the car and found my wallet between the front seats — but for a while, we were girding ourselves to cancel all our credit cards, re-apply for my driver’s license, get a new library card, and manage without all the fortune-cookie slips that I’d been saving.
This morning, we were rousted from bed by a phone call at 8:30 (didn’t someone tell them it’s Saturday, the first day after term?) from MasterCard security, checking to see if we really had charged our dinner at a Mexican restaurant last night. Now, a couple of things: First, we hardly ever charge anything less expensive than four burritos; why did that attract MasterCard’s attention instead of, say, the loads of books we order from Amazon, or the birthday presents Margaret bought this week? They’re protecting us from the massive problem of burrito-based identity theft?
Second, how did they know that I had lost my wallet?
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I got that in December when I bought my notebook computer. I never charge anything that expensive, but also I never charged anything much at electronics stores before then. They called me quite soon. That was a good thing. They never call on Amazon, though: they tell me it just comes up as “bookstore.” Apparently it’s not just the dollar amount, it’s the kind of purchase and how they tag it. So if I bought something on an online porn site (do they sell things on porn sites?)(like you would know….) they’d probably catch it since I don’t do that, but I do do a lot of online bookstores. Restaurants are a prime place for credit card fraud and I’d be willing to guess that you hadn’t had a celebratory dinner out in a while?
As anti-big brother as I am, since I do participate whole hog (pun intended) in this kind of credit card economy I, for one, am glad they do this.
Recently large commercial data bases (with lots of personal information) have been hacked and data stolen.
I’ve also been called by credit card companies to check what seem like routine purchases.
If the credit card companies were notified by the data base companies that your information was stolen, it would make sense for the credit card companies to call you to just to verify that you made the purchase and not someone who had your data.
Read your monthly statement very carefully for the next several months.