Yesterday morning I received a voice mail message from my credit card company regarding some possible fraud on my account. You might think this would freak me out, but I've been down this road before with the same credit card company and the same credit card, so I simply couldn't get terribly excited about this. Plus, until the last few months, I've carried a balance on this card for the last couple of years (making on-time payments each month), but as of Thursday the card will be 100% paid off. So to be honest, when I heard there may be fraud on the account I thought they were worried the fraud might be having no balance and how that meant they would no longer collect interest from me.
Unfortunately, it turned out that there was actual fraud on my account. Some enterprising whippersnapper was attempting to travel around Europe on my dime. Well, on my credit card company's dime. And fortunately, the company caught it within 12 hours and called me immediately. Using my credit card number (but not the card which was safely in my possession), a Eurail pass had been purchased in Belgium, along with travel club membership, some fun stuff in Paris, and some movies from Netflix.
Was I currently in Europe? the nice woman from customer service wanted to know. I was sitting in the parking lot of a shoe store in Rolling Meadows, most definitely not Paris. Moments later, the charges were reversed, my account closed, and a new card was on its way to me.
As I mentioned, this is actually the second time this has happened. In November 2008, someone got a hold of my card number and joined a bunch of porn websites. In that situation, my credit card company was also on top of things and handled the matter quickly.
Two years ago, I believed there was a breach with the card company and today, I'm more convinced than ever. Why? Because I don't carry my credit card with me (I keep it in a safe place), I'm obsessive about shredding, I don't receive paper statements, I pay bills online directly with the card company, have all kinds of security on my computer, and rarely use the card (in the last 2 months I've used it twice for a total of less than $100 in purchases). Plus, in today's Tribune, I read an article about $3500 being stolen from ATMs of the same bank my credit card is through using credit/debit cards that the four victims said were still in their possession. Clearly, it's not me; it's the bank.
All of this talk yesterday about traveling through Europe got me to thinking: Even if I wanted to hop on a plane tomorrow and spend a few days wandering the streets of Paris, I couldn't do it. I don't have a passport.
I'm 38 days away from turning 40 and I've never left the country and couldn't if I wanted to.
So tonight I completed a passport application. And I'll formally apply at the post office during my lunch hour on Thursday.
Check another item off my Bucket List.