Chase Thinks Reader Has Amazing Bilocating Credit Card

Chase’s fraud department apparently thinks that Jake is lying. A few weeks ago, they called him about some suspicious activity on his credit card. Jake and his wife verified that the transactions were neither his nor his wife’s, the Chase representative instructed them to destroy their cards, and that was that. Until a week and a half later, when a fraud specialist called them back to deny their fraud claim, claiming repeatedly that his story “doesn’t jive.”

I returned a call from Chase bank on October 14th regarding my credit card, and was asked about some suspicious purchases, including a $289.45 purchase from Walmart and a $26.26 purchase from McDonald’s. Because my wife and I don’t use this card for anything other than a couple of subscription services (Netflix, Zune, etc.), and also because we haven’t shopped at Walmart or McDonald’s for several months, I was very confident that this was a fraudulent use of my card. The individual from Chase informed me that I would not be charged for these purchases, and that the cards would be canceled and new cards would be issued. She gave the impression of a situation handled, and gave me no instructions other than to shred our existing cards, which we did both have in our wallets. No problem, life goes on, I thought.

Then, a week and a half later, I got a call on Friday afternoon from a fraud specialist at Chase. She questioned me a little bit, and arrived at the conclusion that this situation was not fraud. Apparently, the purchases were made very close to where we used to live. She asked if we’d filed a police report, I said no, because I’d never been in this situation before, and the other woman I had spoken to didn’t give me any instructions. She made it sound like everything was going to be handled on their end. The fraud specialist said that they had identified it as my card specifically, and not my wife’s, and was very confident that my physical card was present. The problem is, my wallet and I were 50 miles away that day at a hospital for a new job orientation.

So, she suggested maybe a friend I wouldn’t suspect used my card and and put it back. Except that’s not possible either, because I didn’t see anyone between the last time the card was used and when Chase instructed me to shred it. Except my wife, of course, who wouldn’t lie about this, and also hates Walmart and McDonald’s.

The fraud specialist kept repeating her phrase of choice, “It just doesn’t jive”, which just made me increasingly more agitated.

With that, she informed me that my fraud claim was denied, and that I should file a police report and obtain security video from Walmart. I would need to provide this video to Chase, along with photo ID, so she could verify that I was not present at Walmart. Despite my extreme distress and confusion, she offered me no possible explanation for how my exact card could be used in Portland, OR when I was 50 miles away in Salem.

My question is, besides filing a police report, which I have done now, what should I do? And how can she be so confident that my card was used, when I know it wasn’t? What else could have happened?

We would guess that Jake’s card had been cloned somehow—perhaps from an ATM skimmer, or dishonest waitstaff in a restaurant. Where have they used this card in the past year?

However, a few questions remain for Jake to ask Chase, if he hasn’t already:

  • Why were these two transactions flagged as fraudulent in the first place? Was it because of the retailer, the location, or another reason?
  • Why is Jake responsible for obtaining surveillance video from Walmart?
  • Will proving that he was not the person who made the purchases get these transactions reclassified as fraud?

Good luck, Jake, and keep us updated.

UPDATE: A few readers pointed us toward this delightful gem from the U.S. Code, which dictates that the burden of proof is on Chase, not Jake.

(b) Burden of proof
In any action by a card issuer to enforce liability for the use of a credit card, the burden of proof is upon the card issuer to show that the use was authorized or, if the use was unauthorized, then the burden of proof is upon the card issuer to show that the conditions of liability for the unauthorized use of a credit card, as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, have been met.

(Photo: epicharmus)

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