We have been speculating on whether or not the KGB spies on my blog. But I've just experienced something potentially worse.
I had found a good deal on plane tickets and went to the bank to see if I had enough money in my checking account to pay for it (I forgot how to check the balance online).
Imagine my surprise when the little slip came out with the amount printed on it: -2000 dollars. Ummm. That was not what I was expecting.
I walked away thinking about what to do. Was it really possible that I had overdrawn my account so drastically?
I went back to the ATM. I saw a description of the "mini-statement" feature and decided to print that out to refresh my memory. I had paid some doctors' bills recently, ordered documents, etc. But I think I would have noticed spending $2000+.
What was odd about the mini-statement was that it showed identical amounts being withdrawn several times. For example: -150.13, -150.13, -150.13, -150.13, -210.07, -210.07... Well, that was clearly a mistake. I had not incurred those expenses.
I started to go into the bank, then realized that I didn't have ID since my passport is at the Russian Consulate in NY. But I found a copy in my purse and approached the teller. She was confused about the charges and directed me to customer service.
So I sat down with a lady who seemed fairly busy but competent, and as she looked everything up, she noted that the withdrawals had all been made at an ATM in Moscow in the past 3 days. WHAT?
Basically what this amounts to is a significant amount of fraudulent charges from my checking account...and someone in Moscow is responsible? I don't even know how they got my account number, but I am assuming it must have been through online purchases made on my computer since I have never let my card out of my sight.
Once we established that I had not been in Russia when the transactions were made, nor anytime in the past 2 1/2 months, and that my card has been with me at all times, I signed a form disputing those charges.
Then the employee helping me totaled up the expenses on an adding machine. She made some mistakes the first time and as the amount got up to 9 digits, I'm sure my eyes must have grown rounder and rounder. Then she tried again and the total came out to over $3000 in fraudulent charges.
Then I watched as she took out a pair of shears and snipped my dear debit card to pieces. She gave me her contact information and I walked home, processing the news.