Note: This column appears in the 11/4 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/5 issue of the Peoria Times
I am as guilty as anyone as falling into a false sense of security occasionally. In this day and age, that can be bad news. Thankfully, in between checking fantasy scores and other people’s mundane status updates, I always make it a point to check my accounts online daily. A few weeks ago I noticed a fraudulent charge on my credit card account.
As I sat there with a quizzical look, muttering to myself, “What is this charge?” my wife, who is known in our family as “the investigator” for her innate ability to question everyone and everything to uncover the truth, reacted like a CIA operative. “What, what, what…TELL ME!” she said. I barely got the words out before she was locking the doors and windows, and questioning whether we should shred our files and flee the state for a few days.
My wife is always on guard. Whenever we are at the store and the cashier asks for our phone number, she jumps in to say that it’s unlisted, which it is, at her request. This hasn’t won us any cashier friends, but really -- why do they want a phone number? Sketchy. My wife always defaults to withholding information, to the point where I have to convince her that it’s okay to list our address when filing our taxes. At her behest, I recently blacked out with a permanent marker every relevant piece of information on an official document I sent to the state of Arizona. I don’t know why we even filled it out in the first place.
This particular charge was for almost $300, which was for an online purchase of snowboarding equipment. Our credit card company was very understanding, but they did want me to be absolutely sure that I did not make this purchase before marking it as fraud. I assured them that I am in my early 30s, have a one-year-old child, and live in Arizona. I’m not going snowboarding anytime soon.
They asked me if I wanted to be sent a new card. Had I been by myself, I probably would have opted to keep the card and monitor it closely, so I could save myself the hassle of having to cancel and then reinitiate all of our pre-set, automatic credit card charges. My wife, however, was adamant that I get a new card, so I did.
I tend to lean more towards giving people and situations the benefit of the doubt. She is skeptical about everyone and everything. We fall almost on opposite ends of the spectrum, but together we form a happy/skeptical medium. In this instance, with regards to our personal security, I am glad I deferred to her judgment.
A few days ago I received an email and a phone call from our credit card company. Someone had yet again tried to use our old card to make an almost $3,000 purchase.
It’s a sad, sad testament to society that our personal security is constantly at risk, but for that and many other reasons I’m glad I married the investigator. Now we wait, and hope that they catch that snowboarding cashier.