I have to say, banks are awfully helpful when somebody steals your information. I would like to pass this word of advice on to everyone though.
About 10 or 11 years ago I was late making a payment on my van, and realized it was due that day, so I called the finance company to ask how much the late fee was and I to tell them I was putting the check in an express mail envelope, overnight. The person on the phone was helpful and then said that I could pay over the phone and not have to pay late fees. That sounded like a wonderful idea to me, so I gave the person who worked at the finance company my information to do a check by phone and felt great that I’d avoided a late payment and fee. A month later my checking account was dry as a bone.
I went down to the bank and found thousands of dollars worth of “Only on TV” purchases. We called foul and told the bank we had not made these purchases and that’s when they said it was done via check by phone. The bank contacted the companies who had withdrawn the movie to find out the address(es) the goods had been sent to. We sat in the reception area and waited for some news. Then we were informed that the case was being sent to the Federal level and I figured out it had to have been done across state lines. Bank fraud across state lines is a Federal Offense in the US. The bank officer could only tell us where the goods were sent. The city was a bedroom community of where the collection arm of the finance company was located. That’s when I put two and two together.
It takes a long time and a lot of money sometimes. It used to be really hard, but thanks to so many scumbags doing this, the banks now make it easier to get your life back. I asked a friend who works in the biz and he told me that the banks reverse the payments made to retailers who do not check ID when credit cards are being used, so then it’s up to them to file theft charges. They rarely do so unless the theft is over $1000 because it’s simply not worth their time or money. And restitution is non-existent, so they really do get away with it.