The first call I got from the credit card fraud hotline today died on the answering machine. Well, it came in on an 800 number, and I donít answer those. I listened, though, and the next time the call came in on the same number I answered, because the message theyíd left the first time was that there was suspicious activity on my card.
Then came the runaround. At first I thought I was being bludgeoned or harpooned by the sales department, masquerading as fraud seekers. The recorded voice read off a transaction that I didnít recognize, so I pushed the button for more details, and then it was all cleared up for me. I pushed the button to accept the charge, and then the voice read off a charge to a charity in Britain for an odd amount ($12.15, or something like that) with todayís date on it.
This didnít seem right at all, so I again asked for more details. I was put on endless hold, and when a human answered, the first thing she asked was, ďDid we call you?Ē I assured her that they had, and she asked me to hold while she checked my account. Immediately I heard another recorded voice, telling me that if I felt I was cut off in error, I should call them back. Then dead air. Then the operator: ďIf youíd like to make a call, please hang up and dial again.Ē
I was in a quandary, of course. As anyone who knows me is aware, I donít make phone calls. Unless itís an emergency, I simply do not dial the phone. But I did. I had the number in caller ID, so I redialed it and went through their system again. The recording read off the transaction Iíd already approved, and when I approved it again, it told me that my card was now released from hold, and if Iíd had any charges rejected, I should contact the merchant and try again.
Huh? What about the British charity? Nothing at all about that weird charge this time. And I wasnít about to call back for the second time, so I gave up and went on with my day, assuming that everything was okay now. Itís nice that theyíre watching out for fraud, and they might even have caught something, but the system is a little whacked out if they canít keep the connection going long enough to tell me whatís going on.