Thursday, September 21, 2006

Credit Cards and Las Vegas

Looks like we have some catching up to do! Since we planned to leave California on Monday, we visited Dianna's parents last week. We took the Metrolink train up on Tuesday afternoon and back on Thursday afternoon. A nice visit but sad that we will not see them again for a few months.

On Saturday morning I received a call from Wells Fargo Fraud Department in which we determined that our main credit card had been comprimised. It was not stolen because both Dianna and I still have the cards in our possession. All the fraudlent charges were at Post Offices in the area where her parents live. The only time either of us had our card out of our wallets was when I purchased the tickets from the Metrolink vending machine. There were several people standing there at the time buying tickets as well, but something must have been afoot. They must have somehow seen my number (photographed with phone camera?) and made their own card. According to Wells Fargo the fraudlent charges were made by swiping a card.

This was a real problem since we planned to leave California on Monday and I needed to purchase fuel in Barstow and to rent a car in Las Vegas. I wanted to pay for the fuel ($500) with credit and you absolutely have to have a credit card to rent a car. Wells Fargo worked with us and was able to put a temporary hold on the card which we had removed just before buying fuel and then again just before renting the car on Tuesday. Then we permanently shut it off and have had a new card overnighted to a local bank branch here in Las Vegas. We pick it up this afternoon.

Of course, that is only the beginning of the fun. I have several payments automatically attached to that card so now I will spend several days changing them all over. We don't know what we should have done differently since we are not exactly certain how the card was comprimised, but we know it will take a good deal of time to deal with all the ramifications.

The trip over was uneventful. Towing an RV with our big truck is amazing. We came up Cajon Pass at 65 MPH. Some cars can't maintain 65 on their own. I was in the next to the fast lane and easily staying with traffic. Out across the desert with the cruise control set is just like it would be in a car. None of the mountain passes slowed us down and when we descended the 15 mile 6% grade we just shifted to 9th gear, engaged the jake brake, and never touched the brake pedal all the way down. If I were towing with a pickup it would have been white knuckle time.

We will be in Las Vegas until next Monday. We enjoy seeing the sights and strolling the big hotels. We really like Bellagio where we went a couple nights ago. Their water show is so neat.

We are on our way to a rally in Wichita, KS. It is a gathering of people who have converted the big over the road trucks like ours. There are lots of classes and an opportunity to learn and see what others have done with their trucks.

This is getting long so I will stop. We will try to post more often so it does not get out of hand like this.

Donna, we plan to be here until next Monday so you have a cheap place to stay Saturday if you want to stay with us. We are at the Sams Town RV park on Boulder Highway.


  1. How much did they get away with?

  2. Probably you don't remember, but Dad and I had our cards (or number) stolen. They spent $1200 in less than a week, all at Good Guys in northern CA--can't remember which town now. We still had our cards in our posession. We had used it to buy gas, if I remember correctly, somewhere in southern CA. This was all from our checking account. We had to get cash at our bank for several days (we were living in Tucson at the time.) They really worked with us, and we never found out how it was stollen, or who the thieves were. No fun!

  3. Sorry about the numerical error; it was $12,000.

  4. That's the really frustrating thing about this. They only used it at automated post offices. Apparently they bought stamps which can easily be converted to cash and cannot be traced. They only got about $300 altogether so it makes you wonder why they did it for such a small amount. It looks like Wells Fargo's fraud detection software did a good job and that the crooks were incredibly stupid. They charged the exact same amount of about $45 as several automated postal machines within a 3 hour period and all in the same general area. Wells Fargo detected a potential problem, shut off the card and called us.

  5. Boise to Las Vegas turns out to be quite a long drive, so I'm going only as far as Cedar City Saturday night, and then home by way of Page. Guess I won't see you this time, but thanks for the invite. Looking forward to your visit later this fall.

  6. Same thing happened to my mom. She still had her card but had several charges in Mexico made for about $100 each. The bank worked with her too.

    That is scary that it is so easy!

  7. It just occurred to me that must have been some sight for everyone in Las Vegas to see your big truck rumbling down the strip! How did you do that? Or did you ride the scooter into town?

  8. Donna -- We rented a car for the week as I said in the post. That was one of the charges we needed to make before we turned the card off permanently and ordered a new one. No way you can rent a car without a credit card.

    Renting a car cost only $148 for the week. It is much cheaper for us to do that when we really need one than to tow one or drive a second vehicle. The scooter works fine for many places, but not for a city like Las Vegas.

  9. Oops, I missed that little nugget tucked in the middle there!