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10 grave tales of financial fright

The tale of the ... Hungarian vintage shop
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The tale of the ... Hungarian vintage shop

At 19, I had my debit card info stolen by a Hungarian vintage clothing enthusiast.

I found out when I went to the bank to make a deposit. I had been saving up to move to Paris. The teller asked if I wanted to deposit the check or use it to pay off my overdraft.

"Overdraft? I don't have overdraft."

"Yes, you do."

"No, you see, I'm saving up. ..."

"No, you've been spending quite a lot. In Hungary, it seems."

The account showed a balance of something like $2,000 all spent over a week in Budapest. That means the person had spent through the $2,000 in my savings plus $2,000 in overdrafts.

"But I've never been to Budapest," I said.

"Then how did you spend $4,000?" she asked skeptically.

"That's my point." She looked confused, as was I.

"I'm confused," she said.

It took two months for my bank to sort out what had happened. In fact, they never did. They just refunded my money. But it took calls to their managers and their managers' managers.

It was simple logic: Look, I made a purchase for $6 from a gas station, and two hours later I made three purchases for $400 each in a vintage clothing store in Budapest. Now, either I'm very fast, very clever or your system should have caught on to this right away. I am not fast and not that clever.

The whole mess delayed my move to Paris, and I had to reorganize all of my finances.
-- Thomas W.


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