If you saw our last post, you already know that Maria’s debit card number was stolen not too long ago. Not to fear, we noticed the theft quickly, cancelled Maria’s debit card and got the charges reversed. So that was it, right? Drama over? Not quite. We got mail from our bank the other weekend with some really interesting information about our stolen debit card and we thought we’d share the rest of the story with you.
The bank wrote to us about the fraudulent charge from Walmart.com, which was the biggest one at $146, and the letter came with a couple items. First (and probably most important to the bank) was a letter addressed to Walmart for Maria to sign that requested a refund from Walmart to our bank. The bank had already provided $146 to us, but they wanted that money back from Walmart. We signed that letter and returned it.
Second, and much more interesting, was all of the order information related to the fraudulent charge. Walmart sent everything, and I mean everything, they had regarding this order to our bank: the confirmation page, the FedEx tracking information, the IP addresses of where the requests came from, just a TON of information. It had been faxed to our bank and then it got printed funny, so it’s really hard to read some of it.
But I’ve been digging through it the best I can, going down the rabbit hole. I feel like some sort of amateur, armchair detective and it’s kind of fun. (Side note: Maria and I may have watched season 4 of Sherlock recently. That might be a factor, too.)
What was Purchased
First off, I wondered what the person ordered with our stolen debit card. The information from Walmart has really tiny, squished font, but I could make out the word “Designs” and “Bookcase” and what looked like “Tall 43”. So I started looking for bookcases on Walmart.com and I think I found it!
Behold! The InRoom Designs Tall 49″ Bookcase. The very same model that I think our culprit ordered. (See, I am having a lot of fun with this.) I suspect that the left part of the 9 in “49” got cut off, making it look like a 3. Also, there weren’t any other InRoom bookcases with the word “Tall” in them and the price is close at $149 (the transaction posted on Black Friday so it must have been on sale when the thief bought it). I could have it wrong, but this just feels right.
How it Was Purchased
Next, I turned my attention to who could have ordered this bookcase. Here’s where things get really difficult and, frankly, a little creepy. First, the person who stole Maria’s card had her name and our old condo address (which was still the billing address for our debit cards). But that makes sense as you’d need that information to even use the debit card online. Then we noticed that our perpetrator made up a legit-sounding email to use: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pretty creepy, right?
But there was more. There was a phone number with a 586 area code, which is in our area, so that kind of made sense. But we hadn’t seen that number before. I did a reverse look-up online and it is a landline registered to someone in Warren, Michigan, another major suburb of Detroit. But then the shipping address was to a woman in Jacksonville, Florida and the woman in Florida does not have the same (or even similar) name as the person who owns the phone number in Warren.
Where the Package Went
Then it gets even weirder. We have the FedEx tracking information, so I checked that out. It turns out the package had made it all the way to Jacksonville when FedEx received a request for alternate delivery. In Hebron, Kentucky. I know, right?! I looked it up: it’s a small town of 5,929 near Cincinnati.
So … I don’t know what to make of any of that. The best I can come up with is that the person in Jacksonville (whom I looked up; she’s a real person) is just some unknowing patsy and the real culprit changed the shipping address with FedEx before it even got to the unwitting lady’s front porch in Jacksonville. And the person who actually stole the card number and placed the order lives somewhere near Hebron or Cincinnati. But I could be wrong. Maybe there’s a whole ring of people doing this all the time, working together, all over the country. I honestly have no idea.
It was fun playing detective for a little while, but I think I’ll leave it to the professionals. The real takeaway here for Maria and me is that, thanks to our preparedness that we learned from Dave Ramsey, we got our money back and only had a minor hassle to deal with. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is no trouble at all.