Evil Santa Charged $700 Worth of Toys on My Card!

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We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

We sure enjoyed the extra family time.  There were lots of laughs, hugs, and home cooked meals (pumpkin pie…Yum!).  But I did run into a small hiccup along the way.

Evil Santa Charged 700 Worth Of Toys On My Card

A Bad Santa Charged Up My Credit Card!!!

Find out what happened and why it didn’t ruin my holiday.

How It All Went Down

‘Twas the week before Christmas and I was at my house, Emily was sleeping and Joelle (the cat) was dreaming about catching a mouse.

We had plans to visit family, but I couldn’t find a reasonable fare.  So I checked to be sure I had enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points to spare.

I logged onto my Chase Sapphire Preferred account and to my surprise, I found charges that I did NOT recognize!

Evil Santa Charged 700 Worth Of Toys On My Card

Exhibit A – $700 Worth of Toys Purchased With My Card

Visions of picking the culprit out of a line up danced in my head.

Evil Santa Charged 700 Worth Of Toys On My Card

It Was You, It Was YOU!

Luckily, the solution was easier than that!  I called Chase and they were on the problem, stat!

Chase to the Rescue!

The ~$700 worth of toys (at least the fraudster’s heart was in the right place!) were easy to pick out.  The charges took place in Louisiana and I was clearly in Texas.

Within 15 minutes Chase had credited my account and sent me a new card!

How Was Someone Able to Use My Card?

I had my card in my wallet, but someone was still able to make in-person charges to my account.  I asked Chase how this was possible.  The representative explained it was very likely that my card was skimmed when I swiped it somewhere.

What’s Skimming & How Can You Protect Yourself?

Criminals will attach a skimming device to a place where you would normally swipe your card such as an outdoor ATM machine, a gas pump, or even in a retail store.

Evil Santa Charged 700 Worth Of Toys On My Card

Watch Out for Skimming Devices!

When you swipe your card, the device records your card information.  This information can then be used to clone your card!  They also insert a camera to record your PIN entry.

Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • Use indoor ATM and payment machines – outdoor machines are easy targets because skimming devices can be attached in the middle of the night when no one is around
  • Protect your PIN – Cover the keypad as you type your PIN code to prevent a camera from recording your movements
  • Watch out for parts that seem out of place – a skimming device is placed over the card scanner and may be a different color or have glue residue around the edges.
  • Keep an eye on your bill – The bank doesn’t always catch fraudulent charges.  So it’s best to always review your monthly statements for charges that you didn’t make!

The Good News

Ultimately, you are NOT responsible for fraudulent charges to your credit card.

My call was handled very smoothly by Chase.

When you have the Sapphire Preferred card, your call is answered by a human right away (not a computer).

So I was able to speak to a real person instead of navigating through a sea of robotic menus, which made it a relatively easy and painless process.

Bottom Line

An evil santa tried to ruin my holiday by charging ~$700 in toys to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  Thankfully, having the charges removed was as easy as a 15 minute phone call.

You are NOT responsible for fraudulent charges to your credit card.  However, it’s still important to try to keep your information safe.

Additionally, look at your statements closely to make certain there are no unusual charges.  That’s because if the charges make it past the bank’s fraud department and onto your bill, you pay for them unless you alert the bank that you didn’t make the purchases.

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11 responses to “Evil Santa Charged $700 Worth of Toys on My Card!

  1. The same thing happened to me, except on my Chase United card. Someone local got my card info. The police aren’t sure how, but they did catch them but they aren’t talking. Since mine was local I called the police in addition to the credit card company because I wanted these people caught so it doesn’t happen again. I guess we will never figure out how they did it. I only used the card 6 times and they got the number. At least I wasn’t held liable.

  2. It is entirely possible that a merchant you use was hacked, and many numbers stolen. Your number gets sold, and a card is made with your number on it. (This has happened to me more than once)

    Another easy way to keep an eye out for fraudulent charges is to set your account alerts. Chase, on all cards, makes this very easy, and it’s very effective. I have alerts set for any gas station charge, any internet charge, and any charge over $10 (the minimum alert level). When any of those things happen, I get a text from Chase.

    The last time my number was stolen, I was on the phone with Chase about the fraudulent charges by the time Chase tried to call me to tell me there was suspicious activity

  3. Doesn’t have to be an ATM or unattended station. I had this happen in September after visiting family in Florida. Chase called about charges in Oklahoma at a gas station. The card was only used in a couple of chain restaurants, so it was clearly staff. This is the problem with the card being taken to the back of the house to be run. Wish the US would switch to chip and PIN faster!

  4. Had two of my credit cards recently hacked (December 2014). Both had been used at HomeDepot sometime in the previous 10 months so I suspect that’s where it started. One from Barclays, the other from Chase. I spotted the Barclays issue myself (small gas charges out of state, then multiple gas charges), after many calls from me they eventually shut down the credit card and issued another one. On the Chase issue, they called me within hours of the fraudulent charge (online t-shirt company). They automatically shut down the card and issued a new one. As normal I was not liable for the fraudulent charges by either credit card company. Chase was definitely the most proactive.

  5. Only about two month after getting the card, someone stole my Chase Sapphire number and purchased $3500 worth of stuff in Oslo, Norway… but yes Chase came to the rescue. They called me to ask if I was in Norway and when I said no, they didn’t say anything else, just canceled the card and sent me a new one. What a great customer service.

    On the other hand, two Superbowls ago, someone stole my M&T bank accounts debit number, which I NEVER use to purchase anything. i only use it to withdraw cash at ATM. I got an alert from bank VIA EMAIL!!! after 7 charges were made. I didn’t check my email until about 5 hours later. By then 14 charges were made around $750 (Someone had a superbowl party.. sporting goods store, grocery store, $150+ at a KFC ) so i read the email, then call the bank around 7pm. Fraud department is CLOSED!!! I had to have them close the account via phone message. Then following business day I had to go to a branch to file a claim. They said they would have to investigate… it took me 6 weeks to get my money back.
    Needless to say, I changed my bank.. and never use bank debit card ANYWHERE.

  6. I am very suspicious of the line that “your number was stolen via high-tech device.” Account reps ALWAYS say this – either it was “skimmers” or the urban-legendary RFID devices that “can read your credit card while it’s in your pocket.” I think it’s almost always security failures on the part of merchants or the card issuers themselves, which they don’t like to talk about. A skimmer/camera may be able to get your PIN, but who uses a PIN with a credit card? The real question is: how did they get your CVV code, which is usually required for online purchases. And merchants who DON’T ask for that code kind of deserve to get ripped off, IMHO, for making it so easy for crooks to use your stolen credit card number.

  7. Timely post; This happened to me just a day before new year. Someone charged $1.08 on Spotify using my CSP; looks like they purchased a song. It appears like someone was testing the waters with such a small charge; small enough that it was overlooked by the bank and various alert systems I have setup.

    Spotify support, after a few email exchanges, informed me that the account was created using my card as a US account, but the purchase likely originated overseas. They wouldn’t divulge any more info than that. They would not even let me know the general region it was used, citing privacy concerns. This is frustrating because it denies us the opportunity to avoid problem merchants where the skimming possibly could have happened.

    This is also complicated by the fact that it is an online purchase.

    Chase already issued me a new card.

  8. You forget to tell us the most important, useful bit of info:

    Did Chase claw back the 700 Ultimate Rewards points for the toys charged, or did you get to keep them?

  9. Same thing happened to my CSP on Dec 29th. Chase sent me text message and emails asking if the transactions are made my me. there were only 3 changes for less than $50.

    I used my card at chick-fil-a few days earlier.

  10. It’s obvious that Chase has a very big problem. And it’s being hidden from the public. One of my Chase cards and one of my wife’s Chase cards was fraudulently used at a Baby GAP in Skokie and some South Korean small-time online store, respectively. And one of the credit cards had only been used once for Amazon Payments and nothing else afterwards. So clearly someone hacked Chase or there’s a rotten employee at Chase. Smart money is on the former.

  11. Same thing happened to my CSP on Christmas Eve, I visited two restaurants in the Atlanta area. The Cheesecake Factory and Twist, after visiting these two restaurants someone charged over $300 in expenses to peoplefinder.com, a sex site, and a money transfer site. I only use my CSP in Atlanta for restaurant expenses so I feel comfortable that it was one of those two places. I called Chase and they quickly got on the job.