Friday, September 21, 2012

You Can't Steal What I don't Have

This morning, what was supposed to be a quick, albeit long overdue, errand, turned into a ridiculous adventure.

I had to register my car.  TECHNICALLY, the registration expired at the end of this past June.  I didn't do it then, because with my back surgery on July 5th, I reasoned that I wasn't going to be driving for quite a while, and then when I was back to driving, I'd have all those days off, and could run to city hall any time.

Of course, when I got around to being cleared to drive, I wasn't working, and our only income was my short term disability, which didn't have a lot of wiggle room for silly extravagances like vehicle registration, and gold bullion.

I normally need to be at work at 8:00 (about a 25 minute drive from the house), but because the office I needed to go to didn't open until 8:00, I got to sleep in a little - what a great way to start my day!  I woke Azi up with some silly songs (Conni gave me a big bunch of helium balloons last night, so I used one to make myself sound like a chipmunk), with the promise that we'd swing by our favorite bakery afterwards, and I'd get her some breakfast before going to work.

Down to City Hall we drove - walked in the door at 8:04, and only had to wait a moment.  I was all organized, had last year's registration, and my current insurance; I'd even written down my mileage (219,657 if you're wondering)!  We got everything all set, she pulled out my new 2013 stickers, and started to print my registration, took my debit card, ran it through, and told me it was declined.


We tried it as Debit, and it was declined again.  I thought that maybe the bank was running behind processing my direct deposit paycheck.  I called the bank, and they said that there was plenty o' money in my account, and they'd check with visa to find out what was up.  The teller tried the card again, and again it was declined.  She suggested I go to an ATM, but I figured if it wasn't working at City Hall, why would it work at an ATM?

I called the bank back, and the lovely teller explained that she'd talked to Visa, and my card had a hold on it (immediately I thought of every single time over the past 15 years that my account has gone negative because of my lack of budgeting abilities, I thought - 'gasp! they've finally cut me off!').

It turns out my financial incompetence is not why I was cut off.  Some person had attempted a $0.00 transaction at "Rap City" (no idea what this is...) - and Visa immediately shut down the card.  I guess that if someone steals your debit/credit card number, the first thing the do is a null transaction to make sure the card is good.  Unfortunately for them, and very fortunately for me, my account had something like $0.46 in it, and they didn't get their criminal claws on my hard earned pennies.

I ended up having to drive to the bank, get out the cash I needed for the registration and for grocery shopping, and apple picking, then going and paying for it in cash.  My new card will arrive within a couple of weeks.

Has this ever happened to you? I've been trying to figure out when someone could have gotten the information.  I use my card CONSTANTLY (you know, unless the balance is in the forty-cent range, then it gets dusty in my wallet until payday), and am wondering who the big bad is.

Fortunately, it takes a heck of a lot more than a stalled debit card to get me down, and I treated myself to an awesome pumpkin latte from Dunkin' Donuts afterward.  

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