i've been a bit worried recently about paying my taxes: now that i'm freelance, taxes are no longer being withheld from my paychecks, which means that instead of the phat refunds i used to get, this year i'll owe money... and i could owe a few thousand. plus i need to get started making quarterly payments to the irs, and the information on irs.gov can be hard to decipher. but now it looks like i have another financial problem to deal with.
i had a dentist appointment this afternoon, so i logged on to my bank account to verify that i had enough money to pay for my cleaning, and suddenly noticed i had hundreds of dollars less than i thought i should. when i took a closer look, i found these four debit charges, which i most certainly did not make.
i checked my wallet and my debit card was still there, so whoever made these charges didn't physically steal my card, but still i was concerned. i called the bank, and got through to an actual human reasonably quickly. but the person i spoke to wasn't that helpful. she said that they can't cancel the charges while they are still "pending"; once the payments have posted, she told me, i can dispute them, but until then, unless the retailers contact the bank and cancel the transactions from that end, i'll just have to wait until the charges post. i kept waiting for her to tell me something useful, to maybe suggest that we should close out my debit card and issue a new one with a new number, but she never did. (she did ask whether i still had the card itself, and when i said i did, i guess that was sufficient.)
eventually (after my dental cleaning—no cavities), i called back, and explicitly told the person i spoke to that i was concerned someone might have stolen my debit card number. this new teller quickly helped me out by cancelling my card and issuing a new one (though i'll have to wait a week or more to receive it, which will be a pain). so i think the worst is over, and i should be protected from liability, so i should be able to get most of my $700 back. still, the whole ordeal is rather unsettling.¶