I’ll Have Some Fraud with My Groceries

24 Apr

Last week I went out to lunch for a salad at the local soup and salad chain, one of my favorite spots that has free wi-fi. As usual I pulled out my debit card to pay and was shocked when the cashier told me it was “no good”. Fortunately, I had cash with me, so I still was able to purchase my salad. I felt very uneasy, because I knew there was no good reason for my card to be rejected.

When I returned home, I immediately checked my account online and found nothing suspicious or extraordinary. Next I called my credit union to find out what the problem was.  It was fraud, or potential fraud in my case. There had been many news reports of late about the local supermarket chain Schnucks and their accounts that had been hacked.  Many customers had found fraudulent charges on their accounts. Some of those were my university students. I had not had any problems, though I did my regular grocery shopping at Schnucks. The cashiers there had assured me that the problem had been resolved. But it was not resolved. My account was compromised along with a million others, 7,000 at my credit union alone. Another big problem was lack of notification. We didn’t learn about our compromised accounts until our cards were rejected. I also lost my credit card. Whenever I tried to go to the credit union to replace my debit card, the parking lot was filled to overflowing with other customers already there for the same reason. Well, yesterday I finally got in and succeeded in acquiring a new card. Yay, me! The personal banking rep told me that the Schnucks problem still was not corrected and that any future shopping there should be done with a check or cash transaction. Not good.

This is not just a rant. I began to think, what if that happens when I’m in Europe? I have only a debit card and one credit card, and this fraud killed them both with one blow. I will receive a replacement credit card in about week, but that is not good enough. Yesterday I went online to research the best credit cards for travel and found one highly recommended. I applied, got approved, and now I will have a back up credit card when I am abroad. Two are better than one. If one gets shot down, I still have another to get by.

Dealing with money while traveling has certainly changed since the last time I was in Europe in 1975.  Back then the standard was to carry travelers’ checks, and I thought that was still a good idea. My travel savvy daughter and her husband informed me otherwise. They said that only certain designated places would cash travelers’ checks and then did it only for a large fee. That second credit card was looking better and better.

On the bright side with the advent of the Euro I won’t have to deal with changing currency each time I cross a border. What is a Euro anyway? I haven’t looked to determine its value in relation to the American dollar. I’ll catch on once I get there. I still remember the five Swiss francs or the 600 lire valuations to the dollar in the 1970’s. There was a different math and accounting in each country. Well, I welcome the simplicity which comes with the Euro.

This has been a learning experience and hopefully a prevention from money problems when I cross the pond.

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15 Responses to “I’ll Have Some Fraud with My Groceries”

  1. mamacormier April 24, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    When my husband and I were in Ireland about eight years ago the only problem we had was with our credit union debit card. It didn’t always work at all debit machines. The one thing we did do was contact the credit card companies and our bank to let them know that we were travelling abroad so that they wouldn’t put a block on using our cards.

    • Rosemarie April 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks. Great tip about notifying the credit card companies.

  2. lagottocattleya April 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    This happened to me a month ago. Suddenly my account was emptied by a betting company! I had to go to the bank and to the police to start sorting it out. In fact I got a minor shock – I’m a bit naive there – how could this happen to me? I don’t use my card in places I don’t trust.

    Now, what I wanted to inform about is the solution that came from my son. He uses his I-phone to move money to his card when he is going to buy something! So, there’s nothing on his card until he practically stands in the queue to pay!

    • Rosemarie April 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Thank you for that tip and I am glad that you got your problem all worked out.

  3. Cancer in My Thirties April 25, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    What an eye-opener! I hear about identity theft so often these days — it makes you wonder about what the safest currency is. Glad you got it taken care of before your trip! 🙂

  4. Kat at travelgardeneat April 26, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    How frustrating! When we traveled to Europe, my husband and I each applied for an additional separate credit card, as we’d previously only shared a single credit card account. This way we had two additional backup options if the joint account was compromised (and we also researched and went with a credit card company that received good reviews for lower transactional and currency exchange fees). Hope this was just a temporary, minor inconvenience.

    • Rosemarie April 26, 2013 at 12:30 am #

      Yes, I looked for a credit card with similar features. It should arrive soon.

  5. Photography Journal Blog April 27, 2013 at 1:43 am #

    Well it’s good to hear that something good has come of the whole Schnuck’s thing!

    • Rosemarie April 27, 2013 at 1:58 am #

      When I went to my credit union, they advised me to use cash or checks when shopping there, because the problem has not been resolved. Some people have had to replace their debit/credit cards twice.

      • Photography Journal Blog April 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

        I’ve replaced once, and now I’m not shopping there. Sad but true.

  6. Russel Ray Photos May 2, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

  7. bebs1 May 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    I haven’t used my credit union card abroad. I would get an MC or Visa card from a reputable bank. And yes, you have to advise them that you will be using your card abroad.

    • Rosemarie May 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      Thank you for the reminder. I certainly will notify them.

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