Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Taxes and Credit Cards

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I am not superstitious, yet I felt a little shudder when my Lucky Bamboo suddenly just died, and then on Chinese New Year’s, I shuddered again when I saw that my cookie, still in its little plastic shroud, was smooshed, not just broken a little, but broken a lot. (It turned out to be a good fortune.)

Things happen; as I said I am not superstitious. I’m a believer; I believe these things are in God’s hands.

So this week we were playing catch-up, and AdventureMan gathered all the materials for our taxes. He had a few extra minutes before our tax appointment, and made a phone call trying to straighten out a charge we had that was supposed to be removed, and we did not see that it had. While the customer service agent (who was really very good) was running through the list of charges, and I was saying “Yes.” “Yes” “Yes” she started running through a list of credits and I was saying “No, there is only a credit for X” and she is reading off a list that . . . is growing.

And then she says “I need to talk to a supervisor; I will be right back” and comes back very shortly and says there is some suspicious activity on my card and the bank will be sending us new cards immediately.

Just in time, because we have to go to the tax meeting. That meeting went well, except that there were a couple pieces of information our tax person needed and I knew I could get for her, so I would call her before the end of the day.

When I got home, I went to the file where I found two of the missing pieces of information, but not the third. I knew I could find it in my August credit card statement, but it was the only one I couldn’t locate.

Went online so I could download and print, but . . . there were only four months there. Call to the credit card company again, transfer to IT who says that once that card is cancelled, they can no longer “see” the information online, but that they can send me a copy. Yes, yes, good for documentation, but that doesn’t help me with the exact amount I need to provide to my tax lady. Aargh.

It wasn’t a big deal. AdventureMan tracks things through the year and the pieces of information are long-run things, not immediate tax things, but . . . all this happening on the same day.

“It’s a good thing I have my back-up card,” I say to AdventureMan, reminding him of a card I got for just these circumstances (yes, I charged ONE item during the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas at Target, ONE item) so I always have back-up, as well as in case a hurricane hits our house and we have to live in a hotel while our home is rebuilt, yes, I am a planner . . .

And AdventureMan turns white. “Oh no,” he said, ruminatively, “I couldn’t figure out why we had that one, so I cancelled it yesterday . . . ” and then he got on the phone to straighten it out. LOL, a lot of small stuff, all of which ended well, but I couldn’t help thinking maybe I need to get better at growing Lucky Bamboo . . . all these dribbles had to do with money.

My Chinese friend just laughed when we talked today; I had told her I didn’t notify my bank about the Target charge because I figured with 12.5 million people affected, I was just a drop in the bucket. I’ve had this happen now four times, and I was tired of re-doing my automatic charges.

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“Oh!” she laughed, “You think it’s like the lottery, that you only had one chance in 12.5 million,” and she is laughing like a crazy woman – at me. Yeh. She’s right. Sometimes,it’s better to bite that bullet right at the beginning, before things get worse.

February 7, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Privacy | , , | Leave a comment

Target Hack Letter – I Believe it is Real

Yes, I shopped at Target during the worst time, the time when all customers using a credit card had their information taken by system hackers.

 

Yes. I used a credit card. I’ve been monitoring my account closely since, and am considering going ahead and changing out this card for another. It is annoying and inconvenient, but less inconvenient having my account compromised.

 

Today I received this letter from Target – the reason I think it is really from Target is because it doesn’t ask me to click anything and enter my important information:

 

Dear Target Guest,
As you may have heard or read, Target learned in mid-December that criminals forced their way into our systems and took guest information, including debit and credit card data. Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

 

I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Because we value you as a guest and your trust is important to us, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all Target guests who shopped in U.S. stores, through Experian’s® ProtectMyID® product which includes identity theft insurance where available. To receive your unique activation code for this service, please go to creditmonitoring.target.com and register before April 23, 2014. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.

 

In addition, to guard against possible scams, always be cautious about sharing personal information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords, user IDs and financial account information. Here are some tips that will help protect you:

 

  • Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number.
  • Delete texts immediately from numbers or names you don’t recognize.
  • Be wary of emails that ask for money or send you to suspicious websites. Don’t click links within emails you don’t recognize.
Target’s email communication regarding this incident will never ask you to provide personal or sensitive information.

 

Thank you for your patience and loyalty to Target. You can find additional information and FAQs about this incident at our Target.com/databreach website. If you have further questions, you may call us at 866-852-8680.

 

Gregg Steinhafel
Chairman, President and CEO

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Crime, Customer Service, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Florida, Living Conditions, Shopping, Social Issues, Technical Issue | , | 3 Comments