Category Archives: Money-Financial

Recovery from Identity Theft

My own experience with identity theft is nearly over now, but I’ve learned a few things during this experience.  First, its important to keep a close eye on your bank accounts, watching daily activity and looking for unrecognized charges.  In my case I found that the person using my card had my physical card info including the 3 digit number on the back.  So someone either had physical access to my card, or one of the few only vendors that I deal with that actually asks for the 3 digit code had some kind of security breach that they haven’t alerted me to yet.  So keeping an eye on your accounts is really a key element to protecting yourself and putting a stop to things before it gets out of hand. 

Fortunately we use online banking and have for years now, which is not only convenient but normally allows you to setup e-mail alerts and notifications for various levels of monitoring.  We first found that something was wrong by monitoring our checking account and saw some unrecognized charges.  Someone was buying website memberships and hosting services.  They racked up about $200 worth of charges on my account, but I cought it fast and was able to get all the charges refunded by the charging merchants. 

I was not happy with the way my current bank handled the whole situation.  They made me call the merchants and deal with the process of removing the fradulant charges on my own.  Any other bank when you report fraud they would be all over it, and I probably wouldn’t have had to do a thing.  So we now have a new bank and are in the process of switching everything over. 

I checked my credit report and everything looks fine, so far no one has used my information to get a loan or do anything else bad to my credit. 

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A Credit Card Miracle

We have a special promotional balance on my Citicard Credit Card. Its one of those touchy offers that if you are late on a payment or do even the slightest “oopsy” they jack up your rate and charge you a really high late fee. We went through this once in 2005 I think, when our bank payment didn’t go through for some reason, and it took weeks of dealing with them on the phone and trying to straighten things out. They jacked up our rate to almost 30%!

Well the other day, we forgot to schedule the most recent payment to the card. I happened to think to check the due date, and found that it was due that day! By the time I realized this, it was after 5pm and officially the payment wouldn’t post to my account until the following Monday. I knew for sure that they were going to jack up our rate to some rediculous number, and charge us a late fee. Well I called customer service, made the payment via phone, the rep did not understand my questions about the rate and how it would be affected.

So over the weekend I checked my account after my next statement was generated, and was amazed to find that they actually credited my account with the payment on the due date! My rate was normal, there was no late fee, only a small pay by phone fee. So everything is ok. Needless to say, I’ve setup an automatic payment in by bill pay to take care of it from now on. We had been meaning to automate that payment anyway. But it was a scare there for a little while. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to get rid of this account.

Cleaning up my bills

Today, I was able to consolidate a few bills into a single bill at a better interest rate. This is very exciting because it means we can now pay more towards the total bill and pay it off faster. We also made a few changes and moved things around a little and things are looking on the positive side. We’re planning out how to use our tax refund and have several things we can try to use it for, including a new top for my car!!! So its an exiciting time!