Way back, when credit cards were just beginning to become a way of life, Bill and I decided we would be better off without one of them.
Time passed and I began to take some graduate courses at Wright State. The tuition date fell at a bad time, so I convinced Bill that a credit card was the answer. I could register, pay by credit card and actually pay in cash 30 days later. That worked well for us because the tuition cost was spread over two months, and we were not tempted to use the card for anything else.
Well, the world of buy now, pay later marched on, and we began to use the card on vacation trips and special shopping excursions.
When our oldest grandaughter was ready to go to college, we decided to take her shopping for some “necessities.” With our credit card in hand, we headed for the Jamestown outlet malls, her choice, “to shop till we dropped.”
Returning home hours later, exhausted but happy, we found a message on our answering machine to contact our credit card company immediately. We did and they told us that there had been an unusual number of expenditures at the Jamestown outlet malls and they were checking to make sure we had actually made those expenditures.
I was relieved that they were so quick to spot what could have been credit card theft and thanked them profusely, feeling more secure with using our card.
Next thing you know we were faced with various attempts by total strangers via telephone to learn our credit card numbers. When our bill came I read it over and realized why. Seems our cash available balance had been generously raised to a ridiculous amount.
I called them and asked them to lower that balance to a more reasonable level. They were incredulous. “You want to lower that amount?” they asked. It took a while, but they finally agreed to lower the amount so it was no longer attractive to thieves.
Then one day we were called by a personable young man who assured me that he was affiliated with our credit card company, and I was required to give him our card number so he could run a security check for our protection.
Thinking fast, I replied that if he were with our card company he could get our number from them. We had a discussion that got rather heated, and finally he informed me, “People like you never understand what we are trying to do!”
“On the contrary, we understand exactly what you are trying to do,” I replied. He spouted a few well-chosen but inappropriate words and cut me off.
I notified the card company, they thanked me and said they would look into it, but assured me they did not rely on outside companies for security checks.
Things have been quiet on the credit card line since then.
I heard about various scams where somebody calls or contacts you on line to request your help and financial investment to collect a huge sum of money in some foreign land, but nobody ever made me such an offer, until last week.
The ring of the telephone awakened me from a much-needed nap. A voice on the line informed me in broken and foreign accented English that she was calling from the IRS. Even though I was sleepy, I was suspicious. I asked her to repeat her message.
“I from the IRS,” she repeated patiently, “you know Internal Revenue Service,” she said hesitantly, as if she were reading from a difficult script. “We want to send you a refund of $500, A moment’s hesitation, then, “You get it?”
Oh boy, did I get it! “Sure,” I encouraged her, “I get it, send it right out.”
“Hokay! We do that. But first you must give me name of bank and you account number, and you have you $500 in 5 to 6 days,”
Ha! How dumb do they think we are? Everybody knows it takes forever to get a refund from anywhere, let alone the IRS. “Hokay,” I told her with a chuckle, “You just use the bank and account number you already have on file for us.”
Disappointedly she replied, “Oh, yeah, you get it. Goodbye.”
Yeah, I thought, goodbye $500 refund.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.