Way OT: Identity theft and Dell Computer rant

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Before anyone reads this they should know: I have taken extreme measures to protect my identity and I have reported the incident to the local police and IC3. I have been in constant communications with my bank and everything has been done that can be done as far as my bank is concerned. If anyone has a suggestion other than call your bank Ill be glad to read them. I called Dell because the fraud specialist at my bank suggested it. I am never using my debit card online again and I am even curtailing using it locally.
My bank debit card information was stolen and the thief used it to purchase a computer from Dell India on 1/13/10. As soon as I found out about it, from my bank, I called Dell customer service USA. I found myself trying to negotiate my way through Dell's automated phone matrix. When I finally got to talk to someone they said they needed the order number to help me. When I told them what happened they continued to ask, curtly, for my order number or my Dell ID#. So I kept repeating that all I have is the credit card info and my name. That initiated the call transferring. They kept transferring me until the phone finally went to "If you'd like to make a call please hang up". So I started the same process again and the same thing happened. The whole process took about 2 hours.
I quit calling Dell USA customer service and decided to try and call India customer service at 9:00 pm because that is 9:00 am India time. So 9:00 pm comes and I call the toll free number listed on Dell's website for India. There was a message for a sex chat line. Needless-to-say, I gave up until the next day to let my blood pressure return to normal.
The next day I called, starting fresh, with the USA customer service number. Initially I got the same results but I did get through to someone (somewhere) that was at least willing to take the time to understand that I did not, and never will, have an order number. She took the information I had and forwarded it to the fraud department. While she was still as curt as all the other phone reps, she at least understood that it was an out-of-the-ordinary problem. I asked for the fraud departments phone# and email address and she said she couldn't provide that. She told me she could transfer me to her supervisor and he could help. So I talked to Glen the supervisor. I explained to him the situation (which had to be done with each and every transfer). I asked for the fraud departments phone number and email. He refused to give them to me. Frequently he would cut me off saying "Sir! " in a condescending manner.
I live in Austin, TX, the home of Dell computers. I naively thought it would be easy to talk to someone locally and they would be anxious to take the information and resolve the issue being that it is in both of our best interest. I was sadly mistaken. While I was able to finally get through to someone, I never got the impression that anyone I talked to cared about resolving the issue. Meanwhile, the charges are going through, but Ive been reassured by my bank I will get the money back eventually, but it could take up to two months to complete the process.
Jim
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On 1/15/2010 1:44 PM, Master Betty wrote:

credit card where the thief was probably a Sears clerk. They caught it as it was an unusual purchase.
Not sure how this works with debit cards and I understand they are not as secure. I think the bank should have got you out of this mess and I would threaten not to deal with them in the future.
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Frank wrote:

Debit cards are not as secure...my bank offers special protection for $8 per month :o)
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On Fri, 15 Jan 2010 14:40:39 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

Hmm, that's $96 a year. If you just used a credit card the most you could ever lose would be $50. I have never understood why people use debit cards, there is zero benefit from using them. If you used a dividend credit card you could limit your losses to the $50 limit and make between 1 and 3 % rebate on all purchases. I get hundreds of dollars a year back in rebates from my CCard.
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wrote:

I don't use credit cards. I don't want any. I don't need any. If I were younger, maybe I would. Just don't need them anymore. I pay cash or do without.
I use a debit card and don't need any special protection. The laws vary in each state so maybe the other person needs the special protection for the debit card.
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wrote:

I was a firm believer in the "no credit card" policy but I'm going to make an exception and get a credit limited card for internet use. I don't want to credit limit my debit because it gets annoying at Price Club when the bill gets too high.
I used debit cards exclusively for over 15 years with no problem until now.
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Just because it's a credit card doesn't mean you can't just pay the bill every month and forget the credit part. Why would you bother paying cash and getting no benefit when you could charge it on a CC and get hundreds of dollars a year back as a rebate? Plus many of them will double (up to one additional year) the manufacturers warranty.

If you lose that card you entire account can be drained and the bank has no obligation to correct it. If you lose a credit card the most you can be out is $50. Plus with a CC purchase, if you wind up in a dispute with the merchant you can request your money back. I have done that three times and every time I've gotten my purchase credited back to me. I would never have gotten my money back if I'd paid cash or used a debit card.
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If you have a dispute with the merchant the credit card company (or your bank with a debit card) may ask you to first try to resolve the issue with the merchant.
But if you're not the one who used the card, if it was used by a thief, and you have no business relationship with the merchant, I don't think they can ask you to deal with the merchant. I mean, in this case the merchant was in India.
Even if it's the company across the street, if you didn't order anything then it's the bank's problem.
But I strongly prefer a credit card-- if there's a problem they gotta get money from me. With a debit card they drain your account and you've gotta fight the bank to get your money back.
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Shaun Eli wrote:

Shaun, I had someone try to use my prepaid debit card to make a car payment to some finance company in Texas, I got nowhere contacting them to find out who the perp was. There was not enough money loaded on the card to make the payment and Mio didn't charge me any fee to deny payment so I let it go. I have a sneaking suspicion of who let my card number out and I won't be doing business with that California company again. I did have an old well known local supplier make a mistake with my debit card from my business account. I was picking up some data networking parts that cost around $50.00 and when my buddy at the supplier ran my card, it was declined. I knew I had a good bit of money in my account so I called the bank and was informed that a purchase for $5,000.00 was just declined. It seems that my buddy got distracted and had suffered an attack of digital dyslexia. When he corrected the invoice there was no problem. The lucky part was that a few weeks earlier, the five grand charge would have cleared.
TDD
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<snip>
So far I've been able to get 2 of the 4 charges reversed by contacting the merchants.
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But you shouldn't have to, that's the bank's job. What if there were 100 unauthorized charges?
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They are. And there is a point to just letting the bank do it. I guess I'm playing super hero and trying to keep the bad guy from getting a computer.
The bank has already given me back all the $$. They did a good job.
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I got all my money back right away with after my debit card was hacked.
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Your bank must not be that good. Or maybe the laws are weaker in TX? Not sure what is wrong. But in NY when my card # was stolen "over the internet" , my bank was aware of it before I was. They shut down my account. It was embarrassing when I was at the checkout and the girl told me the card was declined. It was lucky I had about $200 in cash so I could buy groceries and gas until they gave me a new card #, which was right away. 'cept I had to drive from the store back home to get the money.
The bank sent me a form to sign that I didn't make the purchase. I didn't even have a chance to mail it back and the bank put the money back into my account.
To buy over the internet, I only deal with sites I know are legit. The others I use a Vanilla Visa card that you can find at Walgreens and lots of other places.
Don't bother calling the companies (Dell) where the robber used your number. It's just a waste of time. Your bank is better to deal with it.
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ptember.org:

I had a similar issue and my experience was similar to yours *except* that my bank insisted that I contact the merchant as well as them to inform them that the charges were fraudulent. It was fairly straghtforward and hassle free however, albeit worrisome.
The embarrassing part was that the fraudulent charges on my card were for World of Warcraft upgrades. The part that makes me weep for the future of humanity was that the guy at whatever WoW's parent company is seemed completely unsurprised by the whole thing, as if people calling up to report that their credit info. had been stolen and used to purchase WoW stuff was an ordinary, everyday occurrance.
nate
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My bank so far has been decent considering. They called me the day the debits were made. They shut down the card immediately. She did delete the pending charges but for some reason she said they will go through. I've been assured I will get the money back. She also told me that they are arranging for "provisional" funds so I will never actually be out of the money. Not sure how that works. She's been emailing on the hour practically. I say "so far" they have done a good job. But you never know. The information may have been skimmed at the bank.
Finding a "legit" site is going to be difficult. Many of the sites have companies that handle their internet transactions. The statement appears as Sears (or whatever) but the money often goes through a 3rd party.
I disagree about calling Dell. They are now actually trying to find and cancel the order. (see my update) The problem is the purchase was made in India and they are asleep during our working day. There were a total of 4 transactions and I have already stopped one of them for $100. So it can pay to contact merchant. A place called ccbill.com is the 3rd party for a sex website called Imlive. They gave me the information to get the charges reversed. Imlive was very professional and refunded the money immediately.
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Although I have more problems with CC being stolen at Restaurants, etc. over the years.

Local Cops, too to get the paper trail started that you tried to stop it. Someone once suggested getting touch with the FBI (in the US, the national equivalent elsewhere) but I don't know if that makes all that much difference in Real Life.
--
To find that place where the rats don't race
and the phones don't ring at all.
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

deal with. I suspect that credit card theft, on a small scale, would be way down on the list.
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clipped

Customer service would not be likely to understand how to handle criminal activity....Since you live where Dell HQ is located, try to contact someone in their corporate security....just a thought. Debit cards do not have the same protection that credit cards do, according to my bank. If you have something like overdraft protection that transfers money from savings to checking, I'd be sure to shut it off until you get things fixed. Whew!
Does the local PD or bank know where the purchase transaction took place? Buying from India might have taken place in the US (on a lucky day) and state police then might be able to act. I don't know...just a thought.
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Some one in another group suggested gong to Dell in person but it wouldn't do any good because the purchase actually took place in India. I did get through finally (see my update), Hopefully they will do something. If not I might get a picket sign and stand out side one of Dell's many buildings here. They take up a good portion of Austin.
I have enough money to absorb the loss regardless so I don't need overdraft protection. I wouldn't have been able to say that 15 years ago. This would of been a disaster of Biblical proportion back then.
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