A "friend" made $10,000 in unauthorized charges on my card!

Get credit card fraud help: For victims of credit card fraud and identity theft, and those that can help.
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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Tue May 15, 2012 2:41 am

Keep us posted. This can be a learning for all.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero!


branchpoint
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Postby branchpoint » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:52 pm

branchpoint wrote:I talked again to the police today. They talked to the DA last week, who told them to go ahead with it because a one-time authorization does NOT imply indefinite use, which is exactly what JCarter told me last week. So many thanks to JCarter for helping me keep my sanity in the meantime. Thanks also to the rest of you for your comments. It all helps stop the head trips. I'll keep posting about the progress with this in case anyone's interested in how it works out.


Since I last posted in May:
The sheriff's office (I live in a rural area) wasn't doing anything, so I called the Professional Standards Officer and had a short conversation. A few minutes later the sheriff's office called me back and said they'd assigned an investigator who was out of town right then but would contact me the next week, and btw, they hoped I would have no more complaints. The investigator called me on schedule, we talked, and he got started. Then we had a major wildfire in the county that used up all resources, and shortly after they got it contained, another bigger one started (this is Colorado, and I'm sure everyone's heard about this). While that was going on, we had several more fires in other counties, I got evacuated twice, and in the process of cleaning up (fortunately my house didn't burn) I was seriously injured, had to have surgery on August 30, and was back more or less to normal in another month or so. They were still working on my investigation, which they hadn't finished when the fires started. They finally got it to the DA a few weeks ago, and when I called my credit card company (HSBC), they gave me nothing but runaround even though I had talked with them numerous times and done everything they asked of me. They first tried to tell me I'd never reported it to the police, but when I told them I had the fax receipt from them for the original law enforcement report, they said it was too late and that it was a civil suit anyway. I pointed out that the accused had been arrested and was now in custody on criminal charges, and their response was that according to their rules it was still a civil suit and I had no claim against them. I hung up on their rep when she got sarcastic. I'm getting ready to try again, but I'm not sure what my rights are. By my understanding, federal law makes them responsible for at least the more recent charges, but I'm not sure how to wring that out of them. They've so far lied to me, misled me, and witheld information. The trouble is that even if I do get restitution awarded, I'm unlikely to get anything because the accused has no money of her own, which was why I let her stay in my house for several months once in the past.
I've learned some things about credit card security from this. Maybe I'll try to write them down coherently and post them later. They're sure not doing what they could do and did even a couple of years ago.

trumpet-205
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Postby trumpet-205 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:34 pm

You know, I'm going to be skeptical and say you have no grounds to accuse HSBC.

For you to prove HSBC at fault, you must first prove that you have fulfilled your due diligence. Due diligence means,

* You reasonably guard your actual credit card and credit card number.
This you did not do. You told her your credit card number.

* You filed a police report.
This you did.

Since you did not guard your credit card number, it will be tough to win a lawsuit against HSBC.

Keep in mind that federal law only protects you from fraudulent charges that is 60 days or less from the day you reported it. So you are fully liable for any charges that is at or before March.
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Citi Forward (12/2010) | Citi TY Preferred (05/2011) | Chase Freedom (11/2011) | GECRB/PayPal (05/2012)
Discover it (07/2012) | AMEX BCP (09/2012) | TD/Target REDCard (10/2012) | Chase Ink Classic (11/2012)
BofA BBR (04/2013) | FNBO/Overstock.com (02/2014) | Barclaycard Arrival (04/2014) | FIA/Fidelity AMEX (04/2014)

Bksuper
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Postby Bksuper » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:25 am

I'm not a lawyer by any means, but if you can prove that HSBC lied to you, misled you, and withheld info from you and you weren't able to/advised properly to go through the proper fraud recourses in a timely fashion and this caused you to miss the 60 day window, maliciously to avoid having to chargeoff the $10k, then you could have grounds for a lawsuit against HSBC. Just threatening it would make the CSRs take you more seriously or cave to your demands, that has worked for me many times when I get jerked around like that.
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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:06 am

Hi.

Colorado lawyer here. I'm glad your Sheriff is taking care of this. Also glad you made it through the fires in one piece.

It sounds like your "friend" isn't going to be able to fix this, although that shouldn't stop you from getting a judgment against her. As long as you renew them, judgments in Colorado can last indefinitely. If she does get herself back on her feet someday, you'll have a way to get money out of her via a wage garnishment or lien. We just finished collecting on a judgment that was filed ten years ago.

HSBC will be a harder nut to crack. I don't see a lawsuit against them going well. I think the problem you are going to face is a lack of documentation. Unless you recorded your phone calls or sent letters via certified mail, it becomes your word against HSBC's. You may get lucky and get a judge that wants to stick it to the banks, but that's an unreasonable risk to take in filing a suit. Without some sort of proof, independent of your own testimony, showing what HSBC said and when, you're, frankly, SOL.

Thankfully, a lawsuit isn't your only avenue to remedying this matter. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now oversees credit card issuers. I suggest filing a complaint with them here. Tell them what happened and submit as much documentation as you can to show what took place and when.

If you'd like to talk further, feel free to PM me. We do a lot of collection work at the firm.
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trumpet-205
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Postby trumpet-205 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:01 am

djrez4 wrote:Hi.

It sounds like your "friend" isn't going to be able to fix this, although that shouldn't stop you from getting a judgment against her. As long as you renew them, judgments in Colorado can last indefinitely.


Wouldn't she be able to use BK Chapter 7 to discharge the debt (restitution)?
In My Wallet:
Citi Forward (12/2010) | Citi TY Preferred (05/2011) | Chase Freedom (11/2011) | GECRB/PayPal (05/2012)
Discover it (07/2012) | AMEX BCP (09/2012) | TD/Target REDCard (10/2012) | Chase Ink Classic (11/2012)
BofA BBR (04/2013) | FNBO/Overstock.com (02/2014) | Barclaycard Arrival (04/2014) | FIA/Fidelity AMEX (04/2014)

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:06 pm

trumpet-205 wrote:Wouldn't she be able to use BK Chapter 7 to discharge the debt (restitution)?


Maybe. I'm not a bankruptcy lawyer.

I can say this though: If she files right now, there isn't any debt, per se. He can get a judgment post-bankruptcy and enforce it then.
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branchpoint
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Postby branchpoint » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:37 pm

Thank you for the info about the time period. That's actually hard to get from the convoluted language of the agreements they publish.

I did protect the information she needed (security code and expiration date) to make the fraudulent charges, which she had to steal from my bedroom while I was asleep. No, she was not a regular or even occasional visitor there.

trumpet-205 wrote:You know, I'm going to be skeptical and say you have no grounds to accuse HSBC.

For you to prove HSBC at fault, you must first prove that you have fulfilled your due diligence. Due diligence means,

* You reasonably guard your actual credit card and credit card number.
This you did not do. You told her your credit card number.

* You filed a police report.
This you did.

Since you did not guard your credit card number, it will be tough to win a lawsuit against HSBC.

Keep in mind that federal law only protects you from fraudulent charges that is 60 days or less from the day you reported it. So you are fully liable for any charges that is at or before March.

kimmixoo
 
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Postby kimmixoo » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:38 am

I don't understand how you did not catch on. I check my credit card, and checking accounts at least everyday sometimes twice a day... Its as simple as signing onto your account online just as simple as it was to post on this sight. Why did it take so long to catch on?

branchpoint
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Postby branchpoint » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:19 pm

First - I keep one computer reserved for nothing but financial transactions and don't log on to my bank accounts unless the three other computers on my LAN are all offline. I worked way too long with computer security in my career to trust the software to keep things isolated. This is a double-edged sword, however, because it makes getting into my accounts a fairly long and tedious process of shutting down and rebooting. So I don't check my accounts every day, and I actually think that would be looking for trouble of an electronic kind. But that's not why it took me so long to catch on.

The main reason it took a while is that she was clever and careful to start slow and charge only to things that would seem familiar to me. She probably learned this technique from her husband (an accountant), who is currently serving a long prison term for embezzlement, having been convicted twice. Her parents think she should probably be in prison too, but somehow she convinced the jury she had no idea where all that money was coming from and was let off. Whether she was involved or not, she was certainly well acquainted with the process. For me, the only way I would have noticed and been sure of the fraudulent charges in the first few months would have been to check everything against my point-of-sale receipts. I actually save them and do that periodically, unlike most people, who don't even keep their receipts. But this is another two edges, since it takes a while. I have to admit I've been lulled into complacency in recent years. I got my first card about 45 years ago, and for a long time checked everything promptly and diligently. But until this issue came up, I think I found only one bad charge in all those years, and it began to seem like a waste of time. I also didn't appreciate the changes in process that have occurred the last few years. It used to be difficult or impossible to order something and have it shipped to anything but the billing address, for example.

kimmixoo wrote:I don't understand how you did not catch on. I check my credit card, and checking accounts at least everyday sometimes twice a day... Its as simple as signing onto your account online just as simple as it was to post on this sight. Why did it take so long to catch on?



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