Wednesday, June 23, 2010

American Express To The Rescue...

...and maybe saved me from some big headaches. Tonight, I received an automated phone call from American Express saying I should call an 800 number because of suspect activity on my account. I checked online first, saw there was a suspect activity alert on my account, then decided to call the number on the back of my card which was not the same number as that left during the automated call. I spoke to some guy, I think in Pakistan, who told me that there were 5 recent charges, like today, two for $1 each (he said probably to see if my card was active) and three to Dell Computers. One of those to Dell was for almost a thousand dollars and the other two were close to two hundred each. One of the smaller ones to Dell went through, American Express caught the other two as being suspect and did not allow them to be processed. As for the one that went through they are contesting the charge. The guy then put me through to a woman who arranged to cancel my card and send me a new one. She sounded as American as apple pie.

I went online to my Dell account and saw some software had been ordered and strangely enough sent to my actual mailing address. This made me wonder if there was some glitch on Dell's end instead of fraud. I called Dell and inquired with them and spoke to another guy in Asia who sounded Pakistani. He told me that yes someone had placed an order today or it could have been a glitch but he suspected it was an actual order. He could not find the other two order attempts, I guess because American Express would not authorize the charges. He said that once I receive the software to call them for a return label.

After that, I spent the next hour and a half changing about 75% of my passwords, including all of them that deal with any accounts through which money flows.

The really screwed up thing about this is not so much that someone, somehow, apparently got my credit card number and then used it, nor that they attempted to send something to my own home (maybe after those orders they were going to change my address with Dell), nor that somehow they maybe got my Dell account info, but that I recently got a free year of a credit security service to prevent such stuff from happening (free from work because they exposed my credit info to the world on a government PC they gave away but forgot to wipe clean) and that service did not do one thing, as far as I am aware, to protect me or my credit in this instance I imagine they will contact me sooner or later but in this case it will have been too late if and when they do get in touch. You can bet I am going to call them tomorrow too and find out why they did not catch this.

As for American Express, now I see why I pay them a fee for their card each year; well actually I already knew why just based on some contested charges in the past that they resolved for me. This added benefit was unexpected just as were those charges. They caught it and I give them the hat tip for their vigilance.

Later for you,
Glenn B