So What Does It Mean When You Get A Call From The Fraud Department?

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I was impressed! I remember the telephone message like it was yesterday. However, in reality it has probably been two months since I received the voice message. It was the fraud alert department associated with my company credit card. My instructions were to call immediately.   Trust me, I did. The person I talked with couldn’t have been more helpful. I had been contacted because of what appeared to be fraudulent activity. They just wanted to double check to be certain. Wow! Isn’t that top shelf when it comes to customer service?

I was impressed at the level of attention being paid to my charges. Obviously, it was computer generated. I didn’t care. Someone was looking out for my best interest. At least that is what I thought at the time. I was impressed. The credit card company was ahead of their game. They missed an opportunity because they didn’t follow-up with a computer generated satisfaction survey.  I would have given them a very favorable rating.

I don’t remember the day of the week I received the call, but one of the charges they questioned that day was a gasoline purchase I made in Chapel Hill, just outside Brenham. I confirmed that the charge was actually mine. At approximately the same time, I allegedly made a charge at Walmart in Decatur, Texas. I denied that charge.  They weren’t surprised.   I’m pretty fast, but it was probably a 4 ½ hour drive to Decatur. The two charges were within 30 minutes of each other. The man on the phone said my credit card was being cancelled and they would overnight me a new credit card.

Did I mention that I’m hearing impaired? Somehow, I mistakenly thought the caller indicated I purchased fuel in both places. Consequently, I was more than a little surprised when I later learned that the charge made at Walmart was for an amount over $832.00.

Are you kidding me? Who is their right mind spends $832 at Walmart? It didn’t make any sense! It took a while, but the dots eventually connected in my head with one possibility. It is possible to spend that kind of money at Walmart if you are picking up prescription medications. When my folks lived near us, I always managed their drug runs for them. I didn’t want my dad to drive in Austin traffic. I clearly remembered times that a charge of only $832 would have been a bargain. Remind me to rant about Medicare Prescription Drug Plans sometime! That can get my blood pressure up and up and up. Regardless of the charge(s), at least I clearly communicated to the kind man on the other end of the telephone that the charges were not mine. Problem solved! Want to bet?

Imagine my surprise when the disputed credit card charge appeared on my bill. I guess I’m a little naïve, but wasn’t the purpose of the call to verify whether or not the charges were mine? I was pretty clear in my communication that the charges at Walmart were not mine. Fraud Alert- Fraud Alert – Fowl Ball! The charge was not mine and I made that abundantly clear to the nice man who said the card was being cancelled and a new one would be issued.

The folks in our accounting department at work assured me that the appearance of the charge on my bill was standard procedure for the credit card company and that by subsequently disputing the charges, they would disappear from my bill. Somehow all of that defied logic with me. Why bother to make the telephone call to verify the charge, have me verbally dispute it on the phone and then subsequently charge me for it? Only a moron would do that? Right?

The folks in the accounting department got a written response yesterday from the credit card company related to my officially disputing the charges. Care to guess what they wrote? I was shocked! The charges “were unrecoverable”, consequently it was my responsibility to be out the expense.

No! No! No! That’s crazy! Crazy or not, that was the finding. Had the credit card been issued to me personally, the charges would have been waived.  Since the credit card was issued to both my company and myself, different rules apply. The company is responsible for incurring the expense.

Long and short of it, our accounting department got to hear me rant and rave. They looked at me as though a sedative might be in order. They were probably right. It defied logic. I was not a  happy camper and I’m not going back to Walmart.

Later in the day, one of the folks in accounting told me she followed up on my concerns. She telephoned Walmart. Reportedly, the store manager could not have been more helpful. Our employee asked if there was a video of the transaction? She was assured that there was. Within 45 minutes, the store manager called our accounting office to state they had matched my credit card number to a specific time of day and easily located the tape clearly reflecting the transaction. She described my physical appearance to the store manager and he assured her, the person in the video was not me.

I know what you’re thinking: “I already knew that”. The store manager suggested that my next step is to file a police report. Law enforcement will take the case from there.  Trust me, I’m game! Even if the perpetrator is located, that doesn’t necessarily mean the credit card company is obligated to return the agencies funds. Pursuing justice for theft by credit card is a separate issue than having the charges waived. Confusing isn’t it? At this point, I’m on a rant. I’m going to file the police report!

All My Best!

Don

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