The letter from Capital One said a data breach at a local merchant had possibly compromised my credit card, and that they were sending me a new one. A few days later, a new, security chip imbued card arrived with orders to destroy the old card and active the new one immediately.
Potential catastrophe averted, right?
This past Monday I had a medical appointment. As I was sitting in my car preparing to leave, I quickly scanned my email and saw an urgent message from Capital One with the subject line "Please confirm your recent purchases."
"Our fraud defenses flagged one or more purchase(s) below as unusual for your MASTERCARD PLATINUM card ending in xxxx. Do you or an authorized user recognize these purchases?"
The email listed $2,100 in purchases from Saltwater Aquarium. These were obviously bogus purchases, so I clicked on the "Something's Wrong" button within the email, which sent me to a web page that told me to call their fraud department immediately.
Not wanting to have what was undoubtedly going to be an animated conversation in a moving vehicle, I waited until I got home. I logged into my account on Capital One's website and noted the three offending purchases were posted under "Pending Transactions" and that their presence there had reduced my available credit balance to zero.
I called the number on the back of the card, bounced through a number of recorded option selections, then finally was connected to a human being with- sigh- a heavy Indian accent.
I explained the Saltwater Aquarium purchases were not made by me and that, rather significantly, they were charged to my old credit card number, the one they replaced with the new card after they had supposedly closed that account and opened a new one.
The customer service rep explained that the old card was still "tied" to the new one.
"The charges on the old card number were made three weeks after I activated the new card. Why would that old number still be active?
The customer service rep repeated that the old card was still "tied" to the new one, but offered no explanation why they would honor a card they had replaced.
Profuse apologies were offered, and a new card, with a new number, arrived the next day via FedEx.
The unauthorized charges still appear on my bill, offset by "purchase adjustments" which cancel them out. And today, a $299.98 "pending purchase" appeared, with no merchant name, designated as "other," and charged to the new replacement card I received on Tuesday.
The website says "Pending transactions are deducted from your available credit. They are not final and may differ from the posted amount. Transactions in a pending status cannot be disputed and generally post within 5 days."
I called Captial One, was bounced through two operators to a third who was, apparently, the person who put the $299.98 charge on my account today. However, she was not in, as she works Monday through Friday. I left a voice mail, to which her recording said she will respond withing two days.
Stay tuned... Where's Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?