Rise of the dead account….Learn from my ignorance.
When I first became a business owner, I learned the importance of opening a separate account for a business credit card because the IRS doesn’t like to see personal charges and business charges on the same card account.
After a few years of using a particular Chase credit card, I discovered a different Chase card that gave me better benefits, so I opened up a new business card. Many credit experts out there advise you to not limit yourself to one credit card because that will also limit your available credit – which negatively affects your credit score – so I left my original Chase card open, but didn’t use it.
The card sat in my filing cabinet. And sat. And sat.
I was able to see both the new and old Chase credit cards when I logged into my online account dashboard, so I could make sure that the old card wasn’t being used. And it wasn’t…until one day last year when some sneaky thief somehow lifted the number and made a few electronics purchases. I caught those fraudulent purchases during my monthly log in and immediately contacted Chase. They could see that it had been ages since there’d been activity on that card, so there was no question about the fraud. I requested that the account be closed. I cut up the card that had been living in my cabinet.
Even though the account was closed, it still appeared in my online account with the subtitle, “account inactive.”
Fast forward to this past Friday afternoon. I received an email stating that my new card for the account ending in XXXX was being mailed, so I should be on the lookout for it. I didn’t recognize the number, so I dug into my Chase records. The card belonged to the account that I thought I’d closed last year.
Apparently, a merchant with whom I have an active account decided to dig into their way-back machine and use an older card on file when the current one I was using didn’t go through because of an old expiration date. Chase accepted the charge onto the “closed” account. That activated a new card being sent out.
BEWARE when you think an account is closed. Looking back on it, I realized that I never received a confirmation in writing. You can bet that I demanded written notice this time around to make sure that this account could not be resurrected from the dead once again.
Rise of the Dead: Lessons
I share this story with you for multiple reasons:
1) Don’t lose time following up on a zombie account: Get it in writing from a card company that your account is dead and closed.
2) Know where your records are: Keep a paper or secure digital file with a record of your closed accounts. If there’s ever a fraudulent charge, you have proof from the company that you closed the account.
3) The Big Boys need to change the way they do business: I was pretty ticked that Chase allowed this to happen. But I knew that time spent on a letter to Customer Service or to the CEO would be time wasted because it would just go into the circular file. (For the young ‘uns reading, that’s what we old timers call the waste basket.) Instead, my time would be better spent educating you on what to be wary of so that you wouldn’t lose time like I did in dealing with this. And maybe somebody out there from Chase would see this and make sure it doesn’t happen to any of their other customers.