Yesterday evening, after returning home from a long trip, I logged onto my bank’s website to check my balance. I was shocked to see a pending charge for $565 that had an unfamiliar business name attached. I decided it might have something to do with hotel reservations, and hoped it would go away once the correct amount was charged. No such luck.
When I checked my account again this afternoon, the $565 charge had completed and the funds had been deducted from my account. I immediately called my local branch to see what was up. They gave me the business name for an event planner and a phone number.
I called and heard several rings before some silence. Then some more rings. It was obvious the number was being forwarded to a cell phone. I heard the line pick up, but no one said anything. I said hello a couple of times, before hearing a man answer. I asked for the name of the business I was calling. He gave it to me. I said, “You have charged me $565 for some reason.” He asked if I had any upcoming events I had paid for. I said no. He said he was sorry and he would have accounting return my money. He then asked for my name, and again said he would send an email to accounting instructing them to refund the money.
After hanging up and thinking over the conversation, I decided something was fishy. He was simply too nervous and unprofessional on the phone. I called my bank back and filed fraud charges. They canceled my card and are mailing me a new one.
I kept thinking over everything this afternoon. I had gotten the date and time of the transaction from the bank, so I knew it happened in a town I was in over this past weekend. I couldn’t figure out who had been able to access my number, since I remembered every place I used it. The hotel, a couple of restaurants, Target, and a gas station. It was driving me crazy.
Finally, I decided to do some sleuth work online. I started by googling for the business name. I found their website, then did a WhoIs search on the domain name. I quickly discovered the guy’s name, address, and a phone number that matched what the bank had given me.
Next, I did a search for his name and city. I found a profile on LinkedIn with a matching name (he had typed everything in lower case on his domain registration and his LinkedIn profile, which is one of my pet peeves). It said he worked for a hotel chain.
Once getting home, I talked it over with Honey. He decided to call the hotel and ask if they had an employee with the name I had found. Not only does he work there, he is the night auditor. A couple of hours later, a police report has been filed and the investigation should start either tonight or in the morning.
Needless to say, I am pretty proud of my detective skills. I am hoping the real detectives get to the bottom of this and get him out of his job and into a jail cell.