When it rains it pours.
If you read the previous post on the sick child, here is something that makes you wonder what the world is coming to.
First the little one got a shot of antibiotics. Later the doctors switched her to an oral anitbiotic suspension. They told us that even if the baby threw up 50% it was okay. Giving her shots twice a day was not an option. So I go to the local Rite Aid (Pharmacy) and picked up her medication. The medicine costs close to 100 dollars but thanks to insurance, we paid only 10 bucks. An hour after I had charged the 10 dollars to my debit card (which ties into my checking account, but can also be used as a mastercard), there was another charge for 400+ dollars which disappeared from our checking account !! This on the same day that I decide to pay University tuition. We suddenly had a situation where checks were bouncing and all hell was breaking loose. My wife called the store and asked them what was going on. The assistant manager claimed that there was no transaction matching that 400+ dollar amount that day ..
My wife got suspicious because the lady didnt think twice before answering and our bank confirmed that it was an "authorized transaction".. that means someone signed a paper recipt for that transaction. With a sick kid at home and another one stuck in daycare, (I had gone back to work in the afternoon to tie up some loose ends), had to drop everything and run to the store.
Once at the store, I told the pharmacy clerk that I need a copy of the receipt I signed for the 10 dollars to prove to my bank that I signed the original 10 dollars (this was actually suggested by my bank - they wanted me to see if there was another transaction in my card). This trick worked. The temporary employee in the store showed me all the receipts and said "tell me which one is yours ?".. I quickly went through them one by one and found out two things :
1. my original 10 $ was no where to be found
2. there was a 400+ dollar charge on my card which someone else had signed !!!!!!
I immediately confronted the store manager who made me stand at the counter for an hour and 10 minutes while he tried to figure out what was going on. NO SORRY, NO Chair for the guy to sit down, no response on how long it was going to take !!!
I told them that I had to go pick up my kid from daycare and cannot wait there indefinitely. By the time I went out of the store and came back in, they had figured out what was going on and had a nice cover up plan ready !!
He showed me the original purchase, Iron tablets, love potions !! and a 400 $ Rite Aid gift card. The funny thing was that my card has always been in my pocket and I could not complain of credit card theft. That is when my bank told me that this was possibly an inside job and that I should call the cops.
So we call the cops and the cop shows up at the store and finds too many irregularities in the store..Their story ?
1. by mistake they left my signed receipt for the 10 bucks on the counter, instead of keeping inside the cash register with the cash
2. some hispanic lady who was hanging around the pharmacy for hours ?!? leaned over the counter and stole my receipt confirmation.
3. she came back 30 minutes later and told them that she wanted to buy some stuff (said stuff being iron, vitamin tablets, LOVE POTION !! and a 400 $ gift card). But SHE FORGOT TO BRING HER CREDIT CARD !!! Here is the best part. She doesnt have her card , but she knows the 16 digit number and was ready to read it to the pharmacy clerk ...
4. the clerk took pity on her (must have really looked bad because she needed love potion and vitamins) and decided to proceed with the transaction without an actual card. They let her sign the receipt with a scribble..and they dont verify the signature with any photo ID (remember, the minute you enter the card number, they will automatically know the name on the card !) and proceeded to give her the goodies with that signature.
I am supposed to swallow this bull and go home with my checking account minus 400+ dollars and blame this on some hispanic woman who stole my receipt according to this store. The fact that the store manager, pharmacy clerk and the lady at the counter where discussing the whole thing in their common language (some south east asian language) added insult to injury. The temp told me something really funny when I had first asked her for the receipt. "no one buys stuff for 400+ dollars at the pharmacy counter.. at the main store counter it is possible.. I would have remembered a 400+ dollar transaction !!". Such a highly non standard transaction carried out without a real credit card, without signature or ID validation ?? I think not. The cops are still investigating and they are going to give out a report.
The next day I spent another hour calling RITE AID headquarters and my bank and finally RITE AID headquarters has accepted that their employees have violated standard protocol and something does look fishy. So they called my bank and cancelled the charge. In the meantime I had to cancel the account and move my money around to make sure that they dont walk away with my checking account ! Who knows, they might charge a few thousand dollars worth of viagra.
RITE AID headquarters is also starting an investigation into the matter.. Will we get compensated in some way for all the crap we went through still dealing with a sick kid, we do not know. But the least we could do is tell the world to watch out for this type of fraud. From now on, if given the option always use a CREDIT card. Do not use your debit card as a mastercard or visa at local stores, pharmacies. If I had used my credit card, and they tried to do this, the card company can at least block the transaction and refuse to pay, provided you find out about this within 24 hours. In my case, the mastercard was tied to my checking account and that means it is like withdrawing cash !!
Our only thought. If they did decide to use an existing card number and defraud some customer, why pick on a dude who is buying powerful antibiotics for a three month old ?? Why cant they pick someone else who is just buying multivitamins or viagra ??