I am a fairly security-conscience person so it’s a bit of a surprise to me that my credit card number keeps getting stolen. My bank seems to be pretty good at catching fraud as they have always texted or called me to ask about certain charges without me having to catch it on my statement. But after the second time in under two years that my card was misused I started to change things up to try and narrow down the cause. Now I am just about to receive my fifth card in under four years and am getting pretty fed up.
The first time I received a text from my bank was for a couple small charges overseas. (That was soon after my first trip overseas—go figure; I must have done something dumb.) However, the next problem was a small charge to a Lyft, (I have never used them), followed by a couple larger ones to a Home Depot. Both were in Michigan, but not near where I was at the time. (I received this text when I was having dinner with my kids at Panera on Telegraph after a basketball game and not near Northville where the charges were made.)
At that point I figured that the Lyft bit would incriminate someone as they had to have a profile of some sort, right? But, no. A few months later and after getting a new card number assigned there were a couple more charges to the same Northville Home Depot in Michigan! (I don’t think I’ve even been inside that store—driven by, but never visited.)
That changed my focus for a while as it was close to home. Where was I using this card around town that could have security issues? I figured it was my lawn service and a possibly insecure web payment site, so switched the card I used with them. This mystery may be close to solved!
But then a few days ago I get a couple (large) charges to an Autozone in Memphis that triggered a 3AM (with me in San Diego) text to my phone.
Ok, what do these things have in common? Airports. Can it be airports?
The problem there is when I am in a different place it is usually because of work so I use a work-issued credit card for expense purposes. But if I am in an airport getting personal things like souvenirs for the kids I’ll use my personal card. However that does not explain the two times my card was used at a Michigan Home Depot as I don’t buy personal things on my personal credit card in the Detroit airport, (the kids don’t want souvenirs from Detroit).
I’m still looking at airports, though, as it just seems weird that these charges started to appear when work had me travelling a bit and that the charges came from places that I had visited. If my credit card had been stolen on the few Internet sites that do not accept PayPal, (and I started using a different card with so-far no ill effects on things like lawn service payments), then wouldn’t the charges come from seemingly random places? Plus wherever I can locally I use electronic payments from my phone instead of handing over a card. (And in cases like gas stations that do not accept NFC at the pump I use a different credit card.)
I would not call this fun as every time this happens various auto-pay things get screwed up, (like my daughter’s phone bill—which I am still thinking about as a cause even with that weird Memphis Autozone charge), but there is the draw of a puzzle to solve. There must be a logical and mundane explanation, but right now someone or something seems to have laid down the gauntlet and made this personal. Unlikely that it has anything to do with me, but as I said I am getting fed up with this and am pretty interested now to find an explanation.
(Note that my daughter’s phone is now turned off and I don’t have my new card yet to turn it back on and she is supposed to be my ride from the airport tomorrow night because she took my car while I’ve been out of town, but I can’t call her because her phone is turned off…hmmm…I just realized that things are going to become even more personal tomorrow night…)