I am glad that November is almost over, for it seemed that in November, people were happily stealing from me without my knowledge left and right.
Last Friday, I got my credit card bill, and was shocked to see that the total was almost $4,000. Since moving to Japan, I have adopted the local way of carrying wads of cash in my wallet because a lot of places don’t take credit cards, so it’s extremely unusual for my monthly bill to be over $2,000. Something must be wrong.
Upon further inspection, I realized that out of the twelve transactions, only five were mine, totaling to approximately $700. The rest of the purchases had been made at various jewelry shops and department stores in Ginza, an area I seldom go to. Since the card (an only copy) has been in my wallet the entire time, someone must have gotten the information electronically and made a fake card. I just couldn’t believe it happened to me.
Credit card theft must not be very common in Japan, because when I called to report the incident, the girl on the other end of the line was completely clueless as to what to do. She didn’t understand why I asked her to read me transactions posted after the statement date and said she had to check with someone when I asked her to terminate this card. When that someone, presumably more experienced, called back, he asked whether I want my new card to be issued with the same card number. Duh! Does he even understand the entire reasoning behind having a new card issued?!
All in all, this thief used my card to buy electronic goods, pay for taxi fare, buy clothes, jewelry and who knows what else, and he/she is probably going to get away with it. Japanese sales clerks are so courteous that when this card is declined at the register with big “stolen card” flashing on screen, they will probably politely ask the thief if he/she has any other means of payment, losing the only chance to report the thief to the police. Then again, the police in Japan are equally impotent, so I guess the only outcome I can hope for is to have the charges revoked. I also made a decision to keep every credit card receipt from now on and diligently check every credit card statement. Maybe it’s time to dust off the trusty Quicken software again.