Monday, April 11, 2005

To the BUSTER Who Stole My Visa Check Card Number (Pt. I)

THE SWALLOWS SINGING, THE BRADFORD PEARS BLOOMING, THE SUN shining - what could be better than a 70-degree Sunday morning in April in Georgia?

As I routinely do in planning my budget for the week, I checked my checking account balance via phone. Much to my surprise, the automated female attendant said:

AVAILABLE BALANCE: negative $334._2

The bottom dropped out of my stomach. I know I didn't just hear what I thought I heard.

I quickly hung up and called back. Again:

negative $334._2

Negative! What the f*ck? My auto insurance was due in a week, as it is every 6 months. Was it possible that, back in October, I had unwittingly set up an automated draft that sent my account tumbling into cash collapse?

I'm essentially no-go when it comes to automated drafts - especially when it comes to something as substantial as auto insurance, for fear that something just like this might happen. Perhaps someone had written me a bounced check. Or could it be the long arm of the IRS? What else could I be overlooking?

As the automated phone system couldn't yet give me details on the vendor associated with the offending charge, I tried to check on-line. But neither was the line item for the charge yet posted there.

These were facts: 1) The offending charge had happened over the weekend, 2) My Visa Check card had never left my possession, and 3) The only two purchases I'd made that weekend were a #6 (Baja w/ chicken) at Taco Bell and a Big Zax Snack at Zaxby's.

Naturally, no live person was available in my bank's customer service on Sunday to help me further investigate. So, I had to wait until Monday morning to get to the bottom of things. And you can best believe that I did...

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