Tuesday, February 9, 2010


No, this has nothing to do with airlines, past or present.
It started this morning. After my usual coffee stop, I ran into the credit union next door to hit the ATM for $60 cash. When the receipt came out, it showed a balance of $200 + change in my checking account.
I haven't had a checking account balance that low since I was a NWA stewardess in my twenties, when my monthly salary was $212.50.
I scurried back home to look at the bank statement I remembered receiving a few days ago.
Disclosure: I have been derelict in checking my bank statements every month. Until now, that is!!!
I found numerous charges previously unknown to me and vendors I've never heard of. After spending almost two hours on the phone to one vendor, who was unable to verify the charges, I decided my time would be better spent if I went directly to the credit union and talked with a real live person. Angie, short for Angela, (but I think it is really short for Angel,) patiently helped me go through all the debits to my account and highlight all the bogus ones. Turns out every one was an online charge using my credit union debit card! She then put me in touch with their fraud division, where I learned that more charges were occurring as we spoke. My checking account balance was now down to about 38 cents. My debit card number was promptly rendered kaput. The fraud division will proceed from here. I learned that I may be reimbursed for some, if not all, of the bogus charges (roughly $2500) once they have completed their investigation.
In the meantime, I have car insurance due in a week. Yikes! So I had to drain some cash from a C.D. to cover my checking account balance. And I needed spending money, too, as my debit card has been shredded and my new debit card won't arrive for a week to 10 days. That rules out the ATM!
Ladies and Gentlemen, hear my words! Check your checking account balance frequently! Don't wait for the monthly statement to come by mail. You can do it online or by phone, too!
You're going to need all the cash you can muster. Especially if you travel by air. American Airlines announced today that is is charging $8 for a pillow on all domestic coach flights over 2 hours plus all flights to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Canada. Under 2 hours? No pillows, period.


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