Following the Money

I’ve had the craziest things happen money wise…So much has happened that it even warrants a blog post about my money issues…or rather bank issues maybe.  I do want to preface this that none of the things that happened are the fault of my bank.  I love our bank and have only ever been very happy with them.

So the first thing that happened was in August.  I got a bill in the mail from the local co-op.  I really buy nothing there except LP for heating the house.  In July I had changed so that I was going to monthly payments rather than paying at the time of filling our LP tank.  I figured it would be easier for budgeting.  At the time I also decided to go with autopay thinking it was one less stamp to buy…one less bill to pay…one less thing to worry about.

WRONG.  First off I got a statement in the mail that said I needed to pay…but I was set up for autopay.  So I called.  Yes, I was set up for autopay and yes, they were taking the payment out.  Ignore the bill…okay.

Then in August, I got a bill for a 270ish dollar bill.  It said I bought calf starter and watering tanks.  Um…No I didn’t.  So, I called and talked to the person about my bill.  Yes, they could see that I likely didn’t purchase that as the charge initiated from a branch co-op in Minnesota.  After a few back and forth on hold conversations, they assured me it was taken care of.

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NOT.  A couple of weeks later I got an email and that $270ish came out of my checking account.  So another phone call.  This time I was told again, it would be taken care of.  I stepped in and said, “No.  I wanted a call back telling me HOW it was going to be taken care of.”  I did get a call a bit later and was assured that a check was being written to me and it would be put in the mail immediately.

They did follow through and it was in the mail promptly.  UGH.  It has made me question if I really want autopay with this company.  I’ll let it go for a couple of more months but if I have more problems, I’m done with that.  It’s actually been more trouble to have autopay so far.

My next unusual incident regarding money happened this month.  This came out of the clear blue…here goes the story….
Back in May of 2019, my husband Kramer was still with us.  He was struggling with lung cancer that had moved to his bones and he had broken his neck.  We were trying to get to Lacrosse (two hours away) from daily radiation appointments.  He had a setback and we were in the hospital for a several day stay.  We finally got the go-ahead to go back home.

Kelli was at my house doing childcare for me.  She called me and said the company that provided home equipment services for us was at the door and they immediately needed a check for $833 or they would not leave the equipment with us.  Well, the “equipment” was oxygen, and the food for his feeding tube.  It wasn’t “equipment” it was what Kramer needed to live.  The person had told Kelli sometimes this stuff isn’t covered by insurance so we needed to pay upfront.  Oh my.

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Thankfully I had the money and I told Kelli to write the check and I’d deal with it all later.  Kramer went from bad to worse.   A week or so later Kramer passed away.  Little of the supplies they brought to us were used and they were unable to take back any of the feeding tube stuff, even what was unopened.

In my grief, I completely forgot about anything doing with the home supply company.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the mailbox and there was an envelope from the company.  I walked from the mailbox to the trash with the intention that I’d toss it unopened into the garbage.  In my mind, I had no reason to be in contact with them anymore.  I didn’t need to see their ads.

I ended up opening it.  I really don’t know why I did.  In the envelope was a check for $833.  WHAT??  WHY??

That’s when I remembered that day that the company had called Kelli demanding a check for $833.

The whole thing really ticks me.  Yes, I’m thankful I got the check but seriously, Kramer died 15 months ago.  The supplies were delivered to us in May of 2019.  NOW you are finally resolving your bookwork??  That is shameful.  How is it that companies can be that late on bookwork but people can’t.  Oh my.

Again…I am thankful for the check….I never thought to follow up on that.  I don’t even have the same insurance anymore.

Can you believe I have another unusual money thing???

I was going to balance my checking account and went online to do that.  As I was looking at the balance I saw these charges…

ATM POS Debit SLIMMING SUN ORGANICS 844-3727387 UTUS 605*

ATM POS Debit FUTUREHEALTHNUTRADETOX 866-6709871 FLUS 605*

ATM POS Debit FUTUREHEALTHNUTRA-KETO 866-6709871 FLUS 605*

The bottom two were only for 8ish dollars…the top one, it was for $270.

WHAT??  You all know me.  I wouldn’t buy anything from a place like “Slimming Sun Organics” or “Future Health Nut”.  Those were not my charges.

So..a call to my bank and then a transfer to the fraud department.

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The charges were still pending.  They had to be allowed to go through and then the fraud department can do something about that.  I will get a provisional credit to my account.  A new debit card was ordered.  It makes me wonder how my card number was gotten.  UGH.  I hardly go anywhere…so where could the theft have taken place.

So…this is all my cautionary tale…check your statements and check your accounts regularly, make notes to follow up with insurance, and open mail, even if it looks like junk mail.   You can bet I’ll be doing all of those things.

23 thoughts on “Following the Money

  1. Molly Hill

    Wow! All I can say. I overpaid a medical bill, unknowingly, and got a check in the mail six months later. I also almost threw it out without opening, knowing I didn’t owe them anything. My husband’s credit card was scammed while we were in Washington State. He used it to pay for parking at the ferry to Seattle, from Bainbridge Island. Within the same day, several charges at a horse track in Kentucky showed up. We got the money back. So, yes, it always pays to check statements and mail. Good for you, Jo!

  2. Brenda

    I have to confess to having similar issues with fraud.usually occurs just enough in advance of Christmas to mess with shopping and needing new debit or credit cards. I was told the numbers are like a roll of the dice for who gets the treatment.

  3. Ila Migut

    Ouch! Sadly, I’m in the “been there, done that” group when it comes to debit card fraud. Scammers will usually put through small transactions to see if the account number is good and then a larger hit. My guys put through $6 and $10 and then tried for a vacation in the Bahamas. Luckily most banks will reverse the charges. I use a budget payment for several of my utilities and instead of letting them have my checking account number, I’ve set a recurring payment from my checking account. HTH!

  4. Juls E

    Yup, same here. Apparently “I” bought a $9 wig in Miami, then some fast food, and the bank called when “I” tried to spend several hundred a day later! The bank was awesome, and the fraud dept lady laughed when I told her I was a quilter, so she could pick out what were really my purchases at a big quilt show the weekend before. She nailed them- her mama was a quilter. The crazy thing is, this was the third time it happened on a new debit card. The second card was a replacement for the first card that had fraud committed, and I didn’t even get to use it. The bank called on the second card the day I received it! Someone involved with the big national credit card company that issues the debit cards for the bank was causing all the fraud.

  5. PamJ

    Jo, I’ve had some of the same problems. But I had someone attempt to use my Nordstrom’s credit card in Colorado for $8000.00. I do not even live in Colorado, I live in Texas. Yes, it’s a real p*sser to have to sit down, spend hours on the phone, to prove that those charges are not even mine. Happened with another JCPenney charge card in Chicago. Again, a felon out on parole, must have had a buddy that worked for a credit card company that managed numerous big box stores credit accounts. She had a small little notebook with all kinds of credit card account numbers for people that had the initials of P S Johnson, the same initials as her’s. It was a nightmare from hell to say the least. And it took several months to get it all straight. Needless to say I canceled almost every credit card I had in my name. I felt as though I had been violated royally. One has to be so cautious nowadays. But I have limits on cc I have left, to immediately send me an email/text when it is used, also every time there is a transaction on any of our bank accounts, I immediate get a text/email about any changes. Yes, it’s a pain, but It’s nipped a lot of problems almost immediately.

  6. Frances Elmore

    Ooh, Jo! Don’t let anyone automatically debit your bank account except maybe insurance premiums. Don’t let banks automatically tap your account for mortgage payments, car payments, etc. I agree with one of your other commenters, don’t let energy companies, or utilities into your account either. There are too many horror stories of double or triple billing, and your bank will pay it out if you authorized it. It sounds like it could have been worse. Best of luck.

  7. Gayle Shumaker

    I’ve had debit card fraud also. Someone used it at a Kansas City motel that rent rooms by the hour. I used my debit card here in northern Michigan an hour or so later.
    Jo please give the supply company a break. Insurance companies can pay up to a year later I’ve run across it professionally and personally. BCBS just finished paying for care for my husband in January 2019.

  8. sew happy

    We all have had this happen to us and we just have to be extra careful. This site should be made secure. Hope things improve.

  9. Priscilla

    Don’t ever let the companies/bank do an automatic payment. It’s best to put the bills in yourself. I’m so sorry you’ve had so much trouble

  10. DebMac

    We have had to get new credit cards 3 years in a row now because of fraud. Once the charge was for 6 cents. Earlier this year, I was charged $250 for CBD oil that I had not ordered and they wouldn’t even talk to me about a refund. My credit card company issued a credit and turned them into BBB. I get so tired of the hassle involved.
    Years ago, I received a letter from a bank asking that I send them a check for over a hundred dollars as they had lost my check (it was a a secondary level clearing center bank). I sweetly sent them back a note asking them to pay my fees for cancelling my check, my time and effort to send them a replacement check, and postage and handling for returning a check to them. It just happened that my charges were the same as what they wanted from me. I never heard from them again.

  11. Nan V

    I worked in a job uncovering fraud years ago, and we saw so much of this kind of thing that I will never have a debit card, and will never allow anyone access to my bank account without my signature. At least when it happens on your credit card, you still have your money. With your bank account, your money is already gone most of the time, and you can have bunches of bounced checks to chase after. And if someone used your accounts in your own area, it can be really hard to prove that you didn’t do it yourself. Debit cards and auto pay seem easy and convenient, but it’s not convenient once things like this happen to you. Writing checks doesn’t seem all that hard after hours on there phone trying to get your money back.

  12. Diana S

    Been having similar problems on our cards recently. Got a new citibank mastercard last week, activitted it. End of last week had 3 very small purchases on it from CA. Nope-just activated another new card! Think how much better off we would be if these people used their talents for some good!!! I check all accounts through Quicken every day

  13. Elle

    Never use debit for payments. Use a Credit Card. Debit can literally drain your entire bank account and there is generally NO coverage and rarely refunds.

    I check my debit account and credit card account a few times a week online to assure no unexpected expense withdrawals.

    I’m glad your bank has a Fraud help for you! That is unusual.

  14. Ellen

    Hi Jo- Like you, we’ve had fraud on credit cards. We have one card that is used just for a few recurring payments, like our security system. That makes it easy to spot something out of the ordinary. With one of our cards, the company actually called and told us about the fraud. However, with so many spam calls now, I seldom answer my home phone. If I get a call like that I will actually call the company myself to see if this is legitimate. Our current card will actually send us text and email alerts, allows us to use the card and automatically sends us a new one. Just an idea in case you ever decide to get a different card.

  15. Virginia Grenier

    There are thieves with sophisticated equipment that can access your cards as they walk past you. They say to scramble the signal wrap your cards in foil or kept in a scan proof case.

  16. Donna T

    We have had fraudulent charges several times on our credit cards! They have always given us a credit but it is scary and annoying!

  17. Stearns Carol

    A word to the wise, thank you for sharing. I would advise getting a credit card whereby you get amazon credits or air mile credits from purchases or cash back and put your monthly payment things on that. you have to train yourself to pay it off but you are safer with a credit card for fraud than with a debit card where they take the money directly out of your bank account and then have to follow it and apply for a refund, like the $833. You were lucky to get it.
    An example for us was we were supposed to go on a pricey dream trip to Normandy, France and Germany in May and we paid through a Chase card where we earn travel miles. Covid sent the company into bankruptcy and then we had to go through Chase to get our money back which we did. Credit card companies have consumer rights they live by. But some other folks on the trip paid through their debit cards and getting that money back was a nightmare that I’m not sure even happened. Also, paying up front on a trip like that is a no no because their are time limits on charges for credit.
    I know people have trouble with credit card debit but those cards do serve a purpose and if you know how to handle it, they come in handy. On your monthly payment thing for oil, you could put monthly cash in a jar and forget about it until it comes time to pay the bill. Just some things to think about. Owned a business for 35 years and knew how to juggle I guess.

  18. Carolyn Sullivan

    ARGH how frustrating. I have a daughter that works in fraud dept. and she tells some wild tales of how people are attempting to fraud others out of hundred of thousands! It’s shocking!

  19. Judith Fairchild

    I had it happen to me once it was a fairly small charge in California. That was the tipoff to my bank and me. I live in Missouri and wasn’t buying anything on line. It took a short while but I got my money back. I don’t do automatic payments.

  20. Ruth

    I’ll bet the difficult part for your oil company was that you went to budget billing AND tried to start autopay at the same time. Budget billing for oil or propane is SO much easier than paying one hefty amount all at once when they deliver it/leave the bill on your door handle.
    Funny connection with fraud and our bank credit card: I do most of the shopping, but one Saturday night my husband and I were in Walmart buying stuff and when he tried to use his credit card it came up “possible fraud.” So there in the checkout lane he called the 24 hour bank number then the fraud number they gave him and told them he was, indeed, at Walmart with his wife buying the aforesaid items. They kept track of him and his card for several months. We keep that fraud number handy.
    About 6 weeks ago we did Saturday dinner at a McDonald’s drive thru. His card was out of his sight for only 10 seconds while they slid it through the cash register, and a “skimmer.” On Wednesday afternoon I was checking our bank online statement and there were 6 new large charges, all beginning with “FB”. He called the bank fraud line and found out that they were FaceBook charges. We don’t have FaceBook accounts, so the charges couldn’t be ours. We kept track until the charges were dropped off our account several days later.
    Always, ALWAYS, open all your mail. You never know when there might be a bill or a check in an envelope. A friend of mine had given up opening her mail and I helped her go through stacks of it. We found two checks totaling $50!

  21. Joan in VA

    I’ve had similar things to the last story happen. My card sits in my office. Never leaves it. Yet, somehow the number got out. My card company was very helpful. All charges were flagged and investigated and eventually (about 2 months) removed and no fees charged against the account. A representative, off the record, felt that the charges had come from an employee at one of the places where I had actually used the card, but never verified that to me.

  22. Bonnie Lippincott

    I love all the pictures of the baptism. All your kids and grandkids are so cute.

    As a retired Letter Carrier, I always advise everyone to OPEN their mail. You never know what’s in them. Ads are easy to throw away and forget them . . . but look at all those people that threw away the debit card that was sent to them for the Stimlus payments. Know what you are throwing away.

    I’m sorry for your debit card problems. We decided long ago to use a bank based credit card rather than a debit card. With debit cards the money comes out immediately, and can drain your account. Yes, the bank will reimburse you, but in the meantime you may be out of luck. We’ve not had that problem with the bank credit cards. We can also pay the credit card bill automatically with the bank.

    I know that you already know all this, but sometimes I forget when I’ve done something the same way for so long.

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