My son recently tried to expand his trust horizons and hit me up for my credit card number to make a purchase because he didn’t have a credit card. The statement that he would pay me back after my adamant refusal to cough up didn’t hold much weight considering the thousands of dollars he had amassed over the years in loans, payments, presents and free lunches.
To be honest it was more than my lack of confidence in my son’s ability to control his expenditure that was holding me back, it was my lack of confidence in the banking system after a past-but-not-forgotten incident of fraud that could have been avoided if the bank’s so called ‘Falcon’ had been a little more diligent on his nest that day.
I’m a reasonably paranoid person. My husband has another name for it but I won’t go there. My Internet transactions involve my banking website and a small collection of trusted sites that I use on a regular basis. I rarely deviate and I don’t like surprises. My husband, however, is a different beast and I could find myself with two of something that he just had to have on eBay while he was bobbing around in the middle of the ocean with nothing to do one night. When I saw an exorbitant tag way out of my safe-transacting price range during a general paranoid Internet check, I trained my sights on him and let him have both barrels.
To his credit, he managed to look like a stunned bunny caught in the bright lights momentarily because he wasn’t really sure – until he saw the statement. He stopped sweating, shook his head and pointed triumphantly to the code next to the transaction – GB. As he hadn’t been to Great Britain – ever – he was momentarily off the hook and shoved out of the way as I made a beeline for the phone to yell at a hapless banking operator instead.
After a 20-minute wait imagining our money disappearing at a rapid rate, I was finally put through to an operator who then put me through to a special fraud operator. At this point I asked the special fraud operator if I hadn’t caught the faceless freak’s transaction what would have happened?
The simple and disconcerting answer to that was – nothing. But they might have picked it up after three more large transactions. So it was a good thing that I was online when it happened, they said. Furthermore, they said, it would also have to be proven that we didn’t actually spend that money ourselves and when that was cleared up it would then take at least eight weeks to get our money back. It would also take two weeks or more for our new credit cards to be sent out in the mail.
I managed to get our new credit cards in less than a week by express post. I also got our money back into our credit card in less than two weeks after a relentless campaign of twice-daily phone calls until they finally got sick of me and conceded defeat. I take exception to being told that I might be lying about spending money in a country that I have never been to. I also take exception to being told I will have to wait eight weeks for money that I haven’t even spent to be given back to me. I’m pretty sure the bank has me on a special list with a red flashing light going off whenever they see my phone number on the screen – but I don’t care. To be complacent and apathetic is worse than being vocal and annoying as far as I’m concerned. At least I get my say and I get my way.
Give my son my credit card number? I don’t think so. I don’t even want the bank to have it.