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Inside out

The theft of the invaluable

Jeanne Sager
Posted 2/8/22

When you get the call that there are suspicious charges on your credit card, the first thought is – of course – the money.

How much did they get? How much is this going to cost …

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Inside out

The theft of the invaluable

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When you get the call that there are suspicious charges on your credit card, the first thought is – of course – the money.

How much did they get? How much is this going to cost me?

If you're lucky, the financial cost will be $0 – if you catch it early and are able to refute the charges, the credit card company will take the burden off your shoulders.

By federal law, credit card companies aren’t allowed to hold more than $50 in fraudulent charges against you (although many us have been in that situation where even $50 is too much).

The money isn’t usually the problem.

It’s the web of financial entanglements you now have to unweave.

We live in a world of digital payments and bills set to be paid, where even your toothbrush can be linked to a single credit card. We live too in an increasingly paperless world where fewer of us ever see our paychecks and fewer of us carry around cash.

With a few clicks of a mouse, a thief has just rendered each of them a problem you're going to have to rectify in the days after they’ve stolen your identity.

And in the days after you’ve reported your credit card stolen, had it turned off, and await a new one, the headaches will amplify.

There’s that trip to the grocery store when you automatically set your phone against the machine, attempting to make an Apple payment that you’ve temporarily forgotten can’t go through.

There are the visits to the vet, the pharmacy, the hair salon – all of which now necessitate a stop at the bank to grab cash you don’t typically carry.

And there are the emails that pop up one after another, warning that the credit card on file is no longer valid, leaving you to play a game of whack-a-mole, replacing the details one by one.

It isn’t money that the thieves take away from us, at least not physical money.

Instead they take our time, eating away at bits of our trust and sense of security too.

And those are all invaluable.

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