Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

I tried, I honestly tried, to do a good deed. For the second time in six months, as I was walking through the parking lot of the donation center, I ran across someone’s financial business. A few months ago I found an elderly woman’s pouch full of checks for deposit, and was able to track her down through the address on the checks, and return them to her.
Today, I ran across a credit card on the ground. As I bent to pick it up, I noticed another one a few feet away, then another, and another. Four cards in all, with the name of Hmanes, issued on banks in Australia. Obviously a tourist had lost his cards, and considering they’d all been run over and obviously thrown about, I suspected there was a good chance they had been stolen, perhaps along with his wallet. They all listed international phone numbers to call for customer service, but I was reluctant to place an international call from the work phone, and don’t have the ability to do so on my cell phone.
So I went to the computer and pulled up one of the bank websites. After several screens I found the “contact us” button and clicked on it. No help. An email would take 48 hours to get a response to, and every screen I attempted required account information and passwords. Finally, on the third bank website I attempted, I got through to a call center.
“How can I help you today?” The voice had an accent, maybe a good sign, they were obviously out of the country.
“I found one of your customer’s cards, I think its been stolen, and I’m wondering if you could get in touch with them and let them know I have all of his credit cards.” I explained.
“We appreciate you taking the time to call us today, could I get your account number please?” Came the canned response.
“I don’t have an account, but here’s the card number of your customer.” I read her the number.
“Thank you again for choosing to do business with us, what would you like to do with this card today?”
“I want you to contact this customer, and tell him I have four of his credit cards. He’s obviously stuck in the US with no cards.” I tried to keep the frustration out of my voice.
“My apologies ma’am, and thank you again for choosing to do business with us. It looks like this is an international account, please hold and I’ll transfer you.”
Three minutes of music, steam starting to come out of my ears.
“Thank you for calling today, how may I help you?” A new voice, different accent.
I gave the man the same speech.
“We certainly appreciate your business, please hold while I look up your account.”
More steam building.
“I’m sorry ma’am, this account is for a debit card, this is the credit card division, please hold while I transfer you.”
I hung up. I tried, but obviously there was no way for a customer service representative to actually contact the customer and provide a simple service such as telling him that someone had found his cards.
My reporter instinct kicked in, and I went searching through the bushes around the ATM to see if perhaps the thieves had discarded the poor man’s wallet, which might have some information I could use to track him down. I didn’t find a wallet, but I did find six ATM receipts, ranging from 5:50 a.m. To 6 a.m., with corresponding account numbers of all four cards, (only the last four digits are shown) and the same error message that stated “invalid security number.” Aha! Someone had indeed tried to use them to get cash, and I was sure the ATM camera caught the thieves on tape. I ran into the Subway manager on my way back into the office, and she confirmed she had seen a car parked at the ATM at 6 a.m., when she came into work.
“I wondered what they were doing, they sat there for about 15 minutes,” she said.
I called the non-emergency number for the police, hoping they could at least track down the car that had been seen at the ATM. They sent an officer over, and I presented all my evidence and my concerns that this tourist was stuck in the states with no money. The officer sighed and looked at me apathetically.
“Well, all I can do is put it in property, he might show up to claim it.”
I knew that tone too well to argue. There would be no effort to find this man, no effort to find the thieves. Poor Mr. Hmanes would not be enjoying the wonderful trip to the United States that I’m sure he’d hoped for.
Sorry Mr. Hmanes. I tried, I really tried.

June 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: