Identity Theft
January 25, 2014 5:21 PM   Subscribe

I just discovered 8 fraudulent charges on my credit card statement from September 2013 totaling $933.00. Yes, it's my fault. I should have paid attention to my statement when it came in. My credit union, who is supposed to call us when they notice a suspicious transaction, didn't catch it either because we were not notified. I called my credit union today as soon as I noticed it and spoke to the fraud department. I was unclear from that conversation whether my deadline to report a fraudulent transaction is 60 days or 90 days from the date of the fraud, but either way, I'm past the deadline. Today is 1/25/14, the frauds were committed between 9/6/13 and 9/11/13. I also called Visa. They told me this is between me and my bank. Does anyone know if I have any recourse?
posted by htm to Law & Government (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My credit union, who is supposed to call us when they notice a suspicious transaction,

That's a bad attitude to have. Any monitoring of transactions on the part of the credit union is a courtesy. It is your responsibility to monitor your credit card statements for fraud.

I was unclear from that conversation whether my deadline to report a fraudulent transaction is 60 days or 90 days from the date of the fraud

It is 60 days from the statement date of the statement that has the fraudulent charges. So, the deadline can be 60 days minimum to 90 days maximum.

Does anyone know if I have any recourse?

You have no effective recourse to get your money back. You could report this to the police/FBI, but it is almost guaranteed your report will be ignored over only $933. You could, however, ask for a "one-time exception" to the credit union's policies. It'd be a good idea to be nice to the customer service representative you make the request to.

As a somewhat obvious practical matter, you should get a new credit card number from your credit union.
posted by saeculorum at 5:29 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]

Thank you, saeculorum, for responding so quickly!

A little more info...

The 8 fraudulent charges made in September were to gas stations in distant cities that I don't travel to. My husband has an electric car so he buys no gas at all.

I noticed 3 fraudulent charges (also to gas stations in that same vicinity) in October 2013 that I reported immediately to the credit union and police totaling $375.00. The credit union reimbursed me, gave me a new credit card #, and I thought that was the end of it. From that point on, I have been logging every single transaction from both checking and Visa accounts on a spreadsheet - logging current transactions first and working my way backward. When I got to September, I couldn't access the online statement. I went to the credit union this week and was told I would only have access to online statements from November forward (when the new card was issued). They printed me out a copy of the September statement. I started logging it today. That brings you up to date. I have been a member for many years, always in good standing, and pay off my Visa card monthly.

Fast forward to this afternoon: The Fraud Dept. supervisor, who I asked to speak to, should be calling me on Monday at 7:00 a.m. Great idea about asking for a one-time exception to the credit union policies and being very nice about it. I have a lot of anger right now but it's mostly at myself.

I would like to ask the supervisor an edited version of these questions. These (unfiltered)statements are true but probably inappropriate as it feels more like a bribe than anything else: (1) I have a fairly sizeable savings in an ING account. If I transferred those funds to the credit union, would you reimburse me for those fraudulent charges? (2) An out of state family member will be opening an account with the credit union under my membership # so he can deposit a sizeable amount in a joint account (with me) on behalf of our elderly/sick mother. Would that help sway your decision in my favor? (and of course there's a veiled threat in there that if they don't reimburse me, we won't open the new account).

Any thoughts?
posted by htm at 6:09 PM on January 25

This isn't identity theft, with identity theft they open new credit accounts in your name. This is credit card fraud.

You need to watch your statements way more carefully.

Try googling for the executives emails / executive customer service they have more powers than the regular customer service.

If you can't get traction with the bank directly, maybe try your local consumer reporter. Sometimes they can shame the institution into reimbursement.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:30 PM on January 25

These (unfiltered)statements are true but probably inappropriate as it feels more like a bribe than anything else

I don't know why you think they're inappropriate. At this point, it's a business decision whether to reimburse you. That said, I think you have a better chance by making the customer service representative feel sympathy towards you than trying to buy the bank's attention. Your version of "sizable" is probably not the same idea of the banks. For instance, TD Ameritrade will give you $1000, but only for a $250,000 brokerage deposit.
posted by saeculorum at 6:38 PM on January 25

I'll agree that this is credit card fraud not identity theft. About 10 years ago I noticed a weird item on my statement and then looked back in previous months and found more similar transactions. All in I think it was 14 transactions of all small amounts $20-$50. I had to fill out a lot of paperwork but they reimbursed me fully although I have no idea if they were obligated.
posted by mmascolino at 6:45 PM on January 25

Thank you, all, for your very helpful and insightful feedback!

You're right, saeculorum, the deposits are only "sizeable" to me - and nowhere close to 250,000.00. The 933.00 loss I have may have to live with is quite a lot by my standards.

Thank you, TheAdamist, for the clarification on the definition of Identify Theft. I will send a message to the administrators and ask if they can change the topic of my post from "Identity Theft" to "Credit Card Fraud".

mmascolino, I'm glad you were able to get all of your money back.

Heading out for awhile. I'll check back again later.

Have a nice evening!
posted by htm at 7:09 PM on January 25

I work for a bank. You have no recourse unless you had some sort of mitigating circumstance - you were hospitalized with no ability to read your statements, or you were out of the country with no access to your mail or email.
posted by brownrd at 7:13 PM on January 25

Thank you brownrd. No mitigating circumstances exist.

I have asked the administrators to change the title of my post.
posted by htm at 7:17 PM on January 25

I don't know where you live, but in Oregon, this actually is Identity Theft, and Computer Crime, and Theft in the Second Degree. It's worth reporting to the police, because if they actually end up finding who did it, you'll get a restitution award for the amount of the damages (not like the person will actually end up paying right away, but maybe someday you'll get the money back through the restitution process. Also, I represent people accused of doing these sort of crimes, and one of the first things I'll do to try to take care of the case is see if the person will drop charges if they're paid back up front. So you should file a police report.
posted by Happydaz at 8:52 PM on January 25

Just to lend some moral support, I've had similar experiences with banks. They often block transactions for things that I regularly purchase, asking me to call and confirm that it's really me - but a few years ago when there were suddenly 4 transactions within a few minutes of each other a 4 different Walgreens stores in Miami, Florida (a physically impossible act in a state and city I've never been to) - the bank didn't notice.

I would also ask the credit union to consider flexibility about their policy in this regard. Your case might be made stronger using the information you listed, that these transactions should clearly have been flagged.
posted by jardinier at 9:11 PM on January 25

I'm back and checking in!

The administrators prefer not to make any changes to the title of a post once a discussion is underway (to avoid confusion).

TheAdmist, I may very well take your advice, if necessary, and send an e-mail to a higher authority.

Happydaz, thank you for your words of wisdom; they brought me great relief. I don't feel so stupid now defining my experience as identity theft. I will file a police report. They already have a file on me (case #) from the first (and only) report I made in October. It's highly likely that those fraudulent charges were made by the same person/people.

Thank you jardinier. The bank has often called us about charges they deemed suspicious. They all turned out to be valid. Once, they put a freeze on our Visa account at the close of business until they could reach us the next day to validate the charge. This put us in a difficult position because our transactions were declined that evening and the next morning. I have to wonder why the 8 charges in September and 3 charges in October went right over their heads. As you said, I would think that would make a pretty good case as to why they should make a one time exception for me. saeculorum seems to think differently.

I'm taking everyone's feedback on Metafilter, which I sincerely appreciate, into consideration and putting it through my own "filter". This site has helped me tremendously over the years!
posted by htm at 11:26 PM on January 25

Have you checked your August statement yet?
posted by CathyG at 9:52 AM on January 26

CathyG - yes, I have now checked and logged every single transaction from June through December.
posted by htm at 1:12 AM on January 27

Update 1/27/14: I never did hear back from the fraud department supervisor. During a break from work today, I walked over to a satellite branch located on the property of my employer and spoke to the manager, who I have a very good rapport with. As saeculorum recommended, I asked for a one-time exception and was very nice about it. She said she would take it from here and call me this afternoon. I just hung up with her. She spoke to the main branch manager and said they "had a long conversation about this situation". Turns out, the fraud department will leave the final decision up to the main branch. Apparently, the main branch manager needs a few days to work on this and someone will get back to me. As Happydaz recommended, even without the final outcome from the credit union, I will head over to the police department this evening and file a report. Making some progress. I will keep you updated.
posted by htm at 5:29 PM on January 27

Just coming in to say that the 60/90 day reporting period is per Regulation Z, not per the bank. So you're dealing with Federal regulations, and not the bank's internal policies, just to make that clear.

You should always be checking your statements and online banking, when possible, and never rely completely on your bank to discover every single suspicious transaction. Transaction monitoring is still done by people (ultimately), so is fallible.

You can certainly work with the branch manager to try to get them to make an exception, but please, please in the future, check your statements monthly, at minimum!
posted by Verdandi at 7:08 PM on January 27

Verdani, I absolutely will make it a practice to check my statements monthly, most likely more often. Thank you for providing clarification about Regulation Z. I didn't know that.

I went to the police department tonight to file a report. They suspected that the fraudulent charges from September were related to those made in October (all to gas stations in the same vicinity and all for similar transaction amounts); they added the information I gave them to the case file they already have on record for me.
posted by htm at 8:06 PM on January 27

Great news! I heard back from the manager of the credit union located on the property of my employer. They are going to give me a full refund!

That manager, the manager of the main branch, and the supervisor of the fraud department discussed the situation at length for a couple of days and came to that conclusion. I am so very grateful. I don’t take their decision for granted and have learned some very valuable lessons from this experience.

FYI, their policy on reporting fraudulent transactions is 60 days from the date of the transaction itself and not from the statement date. The manager I spoke to was not familiar with Regulation Z. The 60 day policy exists so the credit union and the vendor (where the fraudulent charges were made) can file a claim with their insurance companies in a timely manner and get reimbursed. Exceptions to their policy can be made, but they are carefully and very cautiously considered. It sounds like these policies vary from bank to bank and/or state to state.

Thank you again for your extremely helpful feedback. I sincerely appreciate it!
posted by htm at 9:09 AM on January 30

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