Drugged and robbed in Tokyo, what should I do?
May 5, 2015 1:54 PM   Subscribe

I recently visited Tokyo. While I was there, I found myself in the Kabuki-cho region near Shinjuku. I hadn't checked the state department advisories before I left, but if I had I would have found there have been warnings about this going back years. I was drugged by a tout, who then led me around town in a dissociative state all night, and in the morning I found that my credit card had charges going up to the limit, all in $1k or $2k increments. I called my card company and told them the transactions were fraudulent, and also told the embassy and the Shinjuku police. Is there anything more I should do? I'd also like to reconstruct the night - can I get detailed records from my credit card company?

Basically, I'd like to know if there's anything more I should do. I contacted the embassy, and on their advice I contacted the police. It was difficult to get a translator, so I wrote up my story and ran it through a translation program. I walked into the Shinjuku police station with an English copy and a Japanese copy. This seemed to really help - I was forwarded to a detective in the organized crime division, and he had an officer who understood English but who wasn't fluent translate for us. I filed a damage report, but unfortunately I only had what was most likely a fake name to give them. I knew where the place was, but not the address.

I reported the fraud to my credit card company. Over the past week, the transactions have disappeared and my available balance was restored. I don't know what this means. I haven't gotten any communication from them. In any case, I'd like get all the information I can on that night. Can I call the credit card company? Will they give me all the information they have on the merchants, including copies of any receipts they might have, and the exact time of the transactions?

My card has a chip, however I never used a pin at POS terminals. It always seemed the merchant expected a pin, but then the machine told them to get a signature which seemed to surprise them. I don't remember signing anything or entering my pin on that night, however I don't think I would have been capable of either.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? Is there anything else I should do to protect myself? What are the rules around credit card transactions done when you've been drugged like this?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You are certainly allowed to call your credit card company and ask for whatever detailed records they can send you. Any information you'd be able to get in a detailed billing statement should still be available to you.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:04 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Most US credit cards are chip-and-signature rather than (the more secure) chip-and-PIN standard in the rest of the world. It is often unfamiliar to retailers in the rest of the world, in my experience.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:11 PM on May 5, 2015

Sorry this happened to you. I would also file a fraud alert with one of the credit agencies (I believe it will automatically be transmitted to the other two) which is a way to be notified of changes to your credit report for free for 90 days. I think there is also the more serious "credit freeze" which will prevent any new lines of credit, but I think there's a fee for this.
posted by bluecore at 3:54 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

I reported the fraud to my credit card company. Over the past week, the transactions have disappeared and my available balance was restored. I don't know what this means.

Usually this means the transactions are in "dispute", so they are off your balance until the credit card company can investigate and decide if you are going to be held liable for those charges.

Communication for stuff like this usually comes in written form, it may take a week or two to reach you.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:57 PM on May 5, 2015

I'm pretty sure the credit freeze bluecore mentioned is free in the event of ID theft or fraud. Clark Howard has a lot of information about credit freezes on his website.
posted by tacodave at 4:13 PM on May 5, 2015

I used to work for a large credit card company, but I do not know the policies of every single card issuer.

Disclaimer out of the way.

We on the front lines of customer service would not have given out details about the transactions. Our fraud department would work with law enforcement but would not have given transaction details to card holders.

There's no harm in asking but just be prepared for a no. And please do continue to follow up with your card issuer re: whether or not the charges have actually been reversed for good or if you're still in the dispute phase.
posted by cooker girl at 7:51 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry this happened to you.

I'm not sure if you are asking about just your credit card or more broadly, "what you should do" -
But if you think there are periods when you might have blacked out, you should get an STD test in a few weeks. If you are a woman who is not on birth control, you should try to get Plan B.
posted by amaire at 8:10 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd be concerned about anything they could access from your smart phone.
posted by gryftir at 2:51 AM on May 6, 2015

I definitely recommend doing the "credit freeze" option for some period of time. At least a few years ago when I had to use this, it was free if you could show that you had documented fraud on an account (which you can obviously do in this case since you have a police report, etc.).

Agreed with gryftir that if you had a smart phone on you, I'd probably go ahead and change all my passwords.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2015

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