The Home Shopping Network
One evening, my wife opened a credit card statement and began to ask me about a purchase to a “home shopping network.” After all, she did not make the purchase and neither of our Shelties knows how to use the phone. So, it pretty well narrowed the culprit down to me! As I was trying to explain my innocence, my wife noticed two other charges to other home shopping networks totaling in the hundreds of dollars.
In addition to these three bogus charges was a small but interesting charge–$20 to a doctor. My wife had visited that doctor, and the visit appeared on the statement. On the following day was a $20 charge to the same doctor, even though my wife had not visited that doctor a second time. On each of the next three days, a charge appeared for the home shopping networks.
Could that $20 charge have something to the do with the hundreds of dollars being charged to our credit card for purchases we had not made?
Let’s Make a Call
Our calls to the home shopping networks enlighten us as to the how well their employees are trained to give very little information. “Your records show I made the purchase and you are shipping the merchandise to me? Well, what is the address to which you are shipping it?”, I asked. You will not get an answer to that question—unless you happen to stumble upon an employee who is very new and didn’t know she was not supposed to be quite so helpful. That is exactly what happened with one of the three home shopping networks we telephoned.
A quick Google search of that address revealed the name associated with it. My wife was astonished to see that the name on the screen. It was exactly the same as the name of the receptionist at the doctor’s office! It seems that the receptionist had been copying down names and credit card numbers from the doctor’s customers. She was using them to rack up quite a treasure for herself. Not only was she the one who handled the credit cards, but she was also the one who both prepared the deposits and then took them to the bank.
Her practice was to take any cash paid to her and pocket it. She would then charge that amount to one of the credit card numbers she had stolen. Nobody ever realized that no bank deposits were being made, because she alone handled parts of the process which under good accounting practices would have been divided up among multiple people.
The Credit Card Ripoff Ended Well
In the final analysis, we did not pay one dime of the bogus charges. A couple of the calls to our credit card company constituted the extent of our time and energy involved. The receptionist was arrested, and life was good again.
Yes, looking at that credit card statement and matching up the receipts takes a little time. It is, however, our best defense. People make mistakes. Other people simply seek to rob you. A little awareness goes a long way in avoiding the credit card ripoff. In the next post, you’ll read another story about the importance of checking those statements.