Monday, January 18, 2016

Scammed and Resolutions

Let's start with the "up" side first.  My resolutions for the new year.  Last year I mentioned how I had to get my diabetes under control.  I told some drastic measures and in thirty (30) days I took my A1C from 10.4 to 7.2 and my average blood-sugar was down from 246 to 91.

My doctor was pleased with my results and wants me to continue whatever regime I am doing.  BUT he changed my prescription meds from Janumet to Januvia for my diabetes.

So far, I've been on it a total of 5 days.  I do not like the results I am seeing.  My morning reading is normally in the 90s or very low 100s - like 91 or 102.  The best I've had with the new pills is 130.  My readings during the day aren't better, either.  I'm seeing numbers like 276, 218.  Sometimes I get a "low" reading like 165 and that is 3 hours after eating.  I will continue these pills but will be discussing this with the doctor.

The reason for the change in pills was due to my kidney readings.  My renal was like 1.92 and should be closer to 0 - that's a ZERO.  He wants to check things out so I'll be getting an ultrasound later this week and seeing a specialist the first of March.  More on that as it comes up.

So, for my New Year's Resolutions.  I'm sort of hanging onto what I had last year.  I'd love to publish at least two books this year.  I really want to get "The New York Voice" out to complete the 2nd book in my "The Amish Singer" series.  Plus there are a few other books I'd like to see out there.  And, of course, I'd like to lose another 20-25 pounds this year which would get me closer to my 200 lb goal.  My wife and I have already decided we'll do more traveling this year but I'll still have my garden.  I don't want to make the list too long so it basically is simple - Get my diabetes under control, get at least two books published and lose more weight.  Seems simple enough and over eleven months to get it all accomplished.  Yeah, right!

Now for the "down" part of this blog.

I got scammed.  On my credit card. We're not exactly sure how it was done but fortunately, my credit card company caught it early on, plus I just happen to be checking out my electronic bill.  When we attempted to purchase flowers for my MIL's funeral, the credit card was declined and we just used another card even though we knew there was no issue with the card.  After the funeral I finally remembered and decided to check out the bill and see what might have been the cause.

WOW!  I had a $200 charge made in another very large town approximately 4.5 hours away from me to the south.  I knew I hadn't spent that money and called the 24/7 hotline to see what was going on.  As we talked, I noticed the date - 12/14.  That's my wife's birthday.  In fact, we were almost an hour north of our home.  So where the purchase had been made was now over 6 hours away.  We even used that same credit card for the meal and just a few minutes between the purchases.

I was passed to Fraud Department.  As they checked out the transactions and attempted transactions on my card, it appeared that somebody was "swiping" my card at these businesses.  Yes, plural. The one transaction got through but the card was flagged when they attempted to use it at a business that reads the "chip" on the card.  The card was "tried" at no less than four other businesses but because of the chip on my credit card, when it got flagged, my card was disabled and marked.

As we talked I showed the Fraud Dept where I was and used my card that day and they realized that there was no way I could be at the two locations that fast... if even using a jet.  They cancelled my $200 purchase, removing it from my bill.  And we had new cards issued for my wife and I.

What I found interesting, these scammers were actually using a real card to "swipe" through the machines for the purchases.  I had to make sure both my wife and I had our cards.  Because of the chip in my card and the new scanners using them, they caught and disabled my card.  Sure, it was inconvenient when we attempted to purchase flowers for the funeral, but the other possibility, for us, could have been devastating.  Scammers can duplicate the card, they can't duplicate the chip.  WHY? Because, as I was told, the chip is updated each time the card is used, reading a number and changing it. Each time it is a unique number to your card.  If a scammer were to get that chip number and duplicate it, even if I used it just once before they got their new scam card made, the chip numbers wouldn't match and therefore, voila! Void.

So, here's the caveat.  If you have one of the new "chip" credit cards, don't think it can't be duplicated. The catch is - the store reader must be the new one to force the chip to be read.  Our local WalMart uses the chip with their new readers but many restaurants and stores haven't upgraded to the new machines and thereby just do the generic swipe.  In fact, a local grocery we shop at has the new machines but hasn't "bought and installed" the new software. Using the new card is a waste of time - there is no protection, customers have to swipe their cards.

My wife and I are keeping track of which stores read the chip and which stores don't.  If they don't, we are reluctant to go back to the store unless it is absolutely necessary.

Also, we don't let our card be taken away from us to be used, like at restaurants UNLESS we can see the transaction being done from our table.  Yes, we use cash in those instances.

We have our ideas of where the number got scammed and I notified the Fraud Dept people.  We were at a restaurant and the waitress took almost 20 mins to get our bill and card back to us.  If the place had been busy and I hadn't needed to be someplace at a certain time, I probably wouldn't have noticed the length of time.  We only had 2 incidents where our card has been away from our sight.  Fraud is aware of when and where.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. The scam story is scary, Bob, but unfortunately not rare. Most restaurants here have debit/credit card readers which the servers bring to the table. I don't think I've had my credit card away from view since the restaurants started doing this. Most banks have advanced security measures that will catch abuse of credit cards here, including travel, but of course, they won't divulge their secrets. It must be scary to be the victim of fraud. More interesting to me is your health journey with the necessity for weight loss and the control of diabetes and kidney issues. You're to be congratulated for losing weight and for recognizing the new meds aren't working for diabetes as well as the old regimen.

    1. Maybe it just took a few days for the meds to kick in - I actually was at 117 this morning, a new low for the new meds. As to weight, I really needed to lose a few pounds and I should have been paying attention to my sugar much sooner. My bad. Hopefully I can get things going in the new direction.

  2. It's such an awful feeling to be violated like this. I had a credit card stolen from my mail but we caught the fraud charges within 24 hours. Now I use a P.O. Box for security.

    Take care of yourself!

  3. I set up parameters for charges on my card. I used it at the pharmacy and my bill was higher than the limit I had set. Annoying, but I am glad it worked.

    1. We considered a limit but didn't do it for the main reason of "just because" which now, on hindsight, wasn't the best choice. Still, if we set a limit, it probably would have been higher than the scam took. Dang!

  4. Wow! I've got to stay more vigilant on checking our credit card statements! Thanks for the information and glad you got it fixed right away.

    1. I happen to see the big expense charged. I now search all my charges, even the small ones. My niece was getting a couple of small charges, $10-$15, two and three times a month and really didn't pay attention to them until she noticed the store and realized that she didn't shop there. Somebody had been using her card for almost 3 months before she caught it. Unfortunately, she could only get the current month cancelled since her silence implied acceptance of the earlier charges. She decided to use her debit card more, credit card less, and since she worked at the bank, it helped. She used her card at a restaurant, paid for it with her debit card, and the bank called her to ask if she had purchased an expensive stereo system at Best Buy and had a shopping spree at another store. She informed the bank she had not. Fraud Dept got involved. The waitress at the restaurant wrote down the numbers, gave them to a girlfriend whose boyfriend worked at Best Buy and wrote the numbers down to card the items. They also shopped at the other store where another friend worked. The Fraud Dept roped in a total of about 6-8 people in the end. So, check ALL your statements!!