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April 16, 2002: Close

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I got a letter in the mail yesterday, from the bank. They hadn’t been able to get a hold of me, the letter noted, and they needed me to call them as soon as possible. They needed to talk to me about possible fraud charges. Considering that our bank has actually been very good about paying attention to how the accounts are used, I figured they must have a good reason, so I called.

Turns out someone in Shanghai managed to get my credit card number and had tried to charge something costing a little over $500. This raised a few red flags at Wells Fargo, mainly because there wasn’t enough money in the account to cover the charge, but also because it came from a foreign country. So they denied it, slapped a notice on my account to deny any other charges until they could clear it up, and then did their best to get a hold of me.

They did this before, when Richard was in Ireland. I got a call from someone at the bank, extremely concerned because they’d noticed foreign charges to his account. They even gave me a number he could call, collect, so he could verify that they were from him, and not because his card had been stolen. A trifle inconvenient for him, perhaps, but neither of us minded, and I was able to get a hold of him to pass on the information so he could call before it caused him any problems.

Wells Fargo is sending me a new card, having stopped the old number so the fraud cannot continue. There are two other charges on the account which I verified as fraudulent, which means that over the next few weeks I imagine there will be more phone calls and letters and paperwork as they do whatever they need to do to track down the culprit.

With the incident from Richard’s trip last year (where it wasn’t a fraud, but it set off their flags), and this incident, where it really was fraud, we realize that before we go on our honeymoon trip to Ireland next year, we had better give the bank a call. Inconvenient, perhaps, but frankly, it’s worth it to know that they’ve got this system in place to protect us from losing our money.

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