As if figuring out your budget and finances wasn’t stressful enough when living paycheck to paycheck, I now know what it feels like to have to deal with fraudulent charges.
Big hint – it is very, severely NOT. FUN.
Luckily I keep a pretty sharp eye on my bank account, or else this could have been much worse. As it is, I’m already living like I’m broke and being forced to miss out on a huge rivalry soccer game this weekend – because even though I have season tickets, I don’t have enough money now to pay for parking or anything even remotely resembling food or drink, let alone the special tailgate.
I got a notice my account was overdrawn. Knowing how careful I’ve been with money, I called “bullshit” and went to check my account. Sure enough, there was a lovely charge that I never made. Even better, it was made at my place of business. While I frequently buy things on campus (mostly coffee, snacks, lunch, etc) I have never made a single purchase for this high of an amount. Better yet, all of the financial offices were closed when I found this, and would be closed for the rest of the weekend. I have to wait until Monday before I can get in contact with anyone on campus about the charge.
I immediately called my bank to report it, only to find out that if they went through with the charge that they would have to cut off my current debit card and send me a new one in the mail. Normally that would seem like a pretty smart thing to do. That is, unless you have absolutely no cash on you, you get paid this upcoming Wednesday, and almost all of your bills are tied to your debit card. I cannot be without a debit card for some unknown period of time, as no one could tell me how long it would take to get to me.
The branch of my bank right near my work is able to print cards in-house, though. I told my bank over the phone NOT to file the claim and that I would do it at the branch to get my new card right away. Now, I hate to think I’m one of those women that just breaks down crying in public, but at this point I was tapped out on stress and my body decided that adding any more would result in an overflow of tears.
I explained my situation to the woman at the bank and she started to file my claim, but told me that because my account was overdrawn (i.e. I had a negative balance) that they may not be able to issue me a card at all. This was when the waterworks started. I tried so hard to hold them in, but that only seemed to make it worse, so off I went. Luckily, most claims get an automatic temporary credit in the amount you’re disputing and mine was one of those claims. Crisis averted. I quickly calmed myself down while the amazingly patient woman at the bank went to go print my new card.
Now, with my new card in hand, I have the task of figuring out who to contact on campus and making sure I can get as much information as possible for the claim so it gets through and I don’t get charged again. Oh, and figuring out all of the things tied to my old card so I can go through and update them. Yeay!