First Person: My experience with credit card fraud and theft

I had a chance to talk to someone first hand how a credit card theft affected their life.  Find out what she did to find who did what and how and what she did to get the money back.

Here’s single parent/freelance writer Amy’s story:

Recently, I got my credit card numbers stolen online and the thief used it to charge almost $300 worth of flowers and subscriptions. I used to think that identity theft only happened to those people who went on risky sites and should have known better.  Now I know better.

I have used online banking since 2001, and have never had a problem with someone out of my household using the card for unauthorized purchases. It simply goes to show that everyone is at risk.

I am a single mom and have been for years. In 2007, I began working as a freelance writer to support my three children and myself. My ‘paycheck’ comes from an assortment of websites and funnels into an online banking place. Typically, it stays on the card so I can pay the bills that I need to pay.

I noticed some money missing and I began to question my kids. Sometimes they use the card but they always put the money back. They never borrow much, so when I saw hundreds of dollars missing, I got very mad.

I went online to view transactions. The first thing I noticed were three purchases for Skype.  I never anticipated a fee for Skype, which I thought was a free service.  Since my sons use Skype I first questioned the one who lives with me. When I realized he did not purchase the subscriptions, I called the other son who is living on his own.

Now, angry and upset, worried about paying my bills, I call him at 3:00 a.m. demanding money from him. I ignored his denial, I simply wanted the money so that I could make my house payment. He cursed at me, told me he hated me and yelled never to call him again.  I have not spoken to him in four days now, and its killing me.  I know I was wrong to call him, but my anger got the best of me.

I canceled the credit card and reported the theft. Upon further searching, I found two more purchases for FTD flowers and Zoosk dating. I talked with a group of online writers and they convinced me that this was a case of online fraud.

I talked with customer service for the credit card company and was unable to receive any assistance.  So, I began contacting the businesses where my credit card was used, each and every one of them and told them my story of unauthorized charges.

The effects of identity theft and credit card fraud

It took four days for all money to be refunded but I did it. I have had to put my efforts into this and neglected my paying work. I am waiting new cards, so even though the money is there I cannot use it. This week was writing extra just for grocery money. There is little food in the house, and I still have a child at home who now is hungry because of a thief. I have also screwed up my credit report by having a late house payment, something that was untarnished for ten years.   All of this because some low life stole my credit card numbers for find a date, send flowers and talk on the phone.

The worst thing in all of this is I accused my son who was innocent. He is no longer speaking to me, and that hurts.  I have raised three children solo for ten years, and not having one speak to me because of the online theft accusation hurts. I am sure in time we will be talking once more. With him being stubborn (he comes by it naturally) I also know it will be awhile.


Our guest post is by: Amy Browne, a single mom of three adult children, published author, community activist and freelance writer.  You can find her on  and follow her on Twitter.