Well, it happened to me. I received several e-mails from PayPal, and thinking that is was another scam to get my password, I ignored them. In fact, I put them in the delete folder and would have deleted them if I had not received an e-mail from American Express at about the same time.
The e-mail from American Express wanted to know if I had made a $2,419.49 charged to a large merchant store in Los Angeles. Trusting as ever, I did not call the number on the e-mail and instead looked up the telephone number for American Express on the internet.
Calling American Express, I was put through an alphabet of computer choices, in which the automated computer voice asked me if I wanted to know my credit balance, do I want to make a payment, do I want to raise my credit limit, and finally, having too many choices, I hit the telephone with a hammer a couple of times and got through to security.
Sure enough, some one got my American Express credit card number, my PayPal password and charged over $6,000 worth of stuff on my card.
Anyhow, American Express said I would not be responsible for any charges. The lady from American Express kept apologizing over and over for the theft. I told her it wasn’t her fault and that it was OK. One thing I don’t like to do is to be rude to people, especially someone just answering the phone.
Then I called PayPal, and they seem to have bought the same computer automated voice system. Going through multiple choices, do I want to open an account, do I want to close an account, am I a merchant, and finally, hitting the phone with a hammer again, I got to talk to security.
Interesting, the guy on the phone must deal with so much fraud that I had to ask him questions in different ways to get the answers that I wanted. I felt like I was an attorney cross examining a defendant who had committed some kind of crime.
Anyhow, security said they had let a $3,000 payment slip through and they are going to check that out and, get this, if they determine its fraud, I will not have to pay the $3,000. Security said they were sure it was fraud, so he said I should not worry. I hope he knows how to ask questions.
So how did they get my card number, my PayPal number? My bank offers identity theft protection. For $12.95 a month, it’s cheaper than fire insurance or my auto insurance and it seems like a good bargain for the potential risk of identity theft. So, I’m signing up today for what seems like cheap insurance for what could be a royal disaster if they stole my identity. (Don’t go there with that line)