Financial

This is Me Being An Optimist

Somehow I survived both the Target and Home Depot hacks last year unscathed. Not even a hint of unusual activity on either my credit card or my debit card/checking account. There were more, obviously, but they didn’t have the possible direct impact on my financials.

I thought it was because I was being careful with my card information. That idea was shattered yesterday when American Express notified me (rather quickly so kudos to them) that someone tried to buy over $500 of stuff with Tory Burch online.

At least my credit card number thieves have good taste? (Oh come on, one must have a sense of humor about these things.)

I wasn’t entirely surprised. In fact, I was waiting for the penny to drop, so to speak, because I’d noticed a couple of pending charges I definitely didn’t make. I was watching and waiting so I could call customer service if those pending charges turned into posted ones.

So after 20-30 minutes on the phone with an overly cheerful call center rep, going line by line through the past several day’s charges, American Express has the information they need. I won’t be held responsible for any of the fraudulent charges, and I have a new credit card on its way. I’ll have to watch my account more carefully for a while until all the pending charges either post or disappear, but at least I know where I stand.

Here’s the part where I’m being optimistic instead of annoyed–I had my old AmEx card number memorized, right down to the CVV and expiration date. That made things far too easy to shop online and quickly give in to that impulse. Since AmEx is my first choice card, I know eventually I’ll memorize the numbers again. But I can use this transition period to think twice before physically pulling out the new card.

Until the new card arrives, I either choose to go without or pay cash/debit card. Definitely a deterrent for me to shop at the end of the month when I tend to be more aware of my monthly budgets and staying within them.

I also get the chance to reevaluate the subscription services I use. Sure, it’s a pain to update the ones I keep but my current inventory of those services is at 6-8. Really not THAT big a deal. I’m sure more will come up as they find out the card on file isn’t valid, but I’m sure they’ll be helpful and email me about it.

So basically, while I’m not thrilled to find out “they got me,” I didn’t have a checking/savings account wiped out. I have a chance to take a break where shopping can’t tempt me. And I will have to go through an extra step to buy once I get my new card for a little while.

For what I’m trying to accomplish over the remaining 10 months and several days, that’s kind of a perfectly timed problem to have. Who knew?

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