March 15, 2014

I didn't think it would ever happen, but the temps have moderated and there has been an abundance of sunshine the past week or so. The frozen banks of dirty, gritty, icy "snow" are disappearing. I can see grass! Well, it's filled with snow mold, mouse tunnels and frozen rabbit droppings, but it is still grass, promising better things to come. As you can see from the photos snapped around Maison Newton this morning, it's a mess! The backyard is littered with peanut and nut shells. The shrubs out front suffered some windburn, but nothing that can't be pruned away. Everything needs a good clean-up! There are twigs and branches, large and small, ALL over the place. But, the ground is still frozen rock solid. First yard waste pick-up is not until mid-April. That clean-up will have to wait. Mother Nature is also reminding me that in southeastern Wisconsin, melting snow does not necessarily signal "spring." Tonight the temps will drop down to 7 degrees F, with a "high" tomorrow below freezing. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FRAUD ALERT! Bogus Charge Using My Debit Card to Checking Account by HOTELS.COM

Hola darlings.  I try not to cross post to Maison Newton from my other blog, Goddesschess.  They are two such entirely different worlds!  But sometimes, bad things happen, and I want to ALERT you to a bad thing that happened to me just yesterday/today.  So please read this:


As you know, I was on vacation for a short while. I returned home the evening of April 26th.

Lo and behold, this morning, I discovered a charge posted to my checking account for $534.60 by HOTELS.COM US 800-219-4608 WA 04/28. ON MY DEBIT CARD.

The problem is -- I did not book my hotel through Hotels.com; I did not book anything through Hotels.com. The amount that I paid for my hotel room (booked, incidentally, directly on the hotel's own website), was much much lower, and I paid for my room at check-in with a CREDIT CARD.

I called my bank immediately upon discovering this bogus debit charge. But before I did that, I called the "800" number embedded in the debit information and this was what I heard: We're sorry. The number you have called is no longer in service. Please visit out website." CLICK. Dial tone. No website url given on that recording, OF COURSE.
I knew at once I had been victimized by a thief or gang of thieves. How they got hold of my debit card number, I have no idea, because I do NOT use it to buy airline tickets, book vacations or make hotel reservations.

After explaining what had happened to a very helpful bank representative, I was waiting for a call back and I went directly to google.com and typed in the HOTELS.COM US 800-219-4608 WA on the search bar.

Immediately I discovered hundreds of reports of FRAUD, some outright fraud with unauthorized charges on debit cards and credit cards, some where unsuspecting consumers had booked hotel rooms with hotels.com only to arrive at their destination and discover that no such rooms had been booked. And lots and lots of other stories, too.

Within 30 minutes or so I received a call back from my bank rep and later, an email, indicating that my "claim" against the charge had been granted and my account would be credited for the full amount of the debit.

So, please BEWARE! And this is a lesson to me to check my online bank account and card activity EVERY SINGLE DAY. Cuz, darlings, I wasn't looking for this, I was just looking to confirm the deposit of my paycheck today. HOLY HATHOR!

P.S. The thief or thieves struck again today, but this time posting a debit for a mere $1 charged to POS DEBIT HOTELS.COM US 800-248-8357 WA. My bank representative told me that this is often done by legitimate companies to "test" that the card information is legitimate, and once confirmed, the charge is "erased." That being said, it is also done by fraudsters to make it appear that the other charge(s) submitted are legitimate! That telephone number was ALSO "no longer in service."

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