A couple of weeks ago, I applied for the Hyatt Visa card. As of today, it still hadn’t arrived, so I decided to call and check on its whereabouts. Before I called, I pulled up my account information online, and was stunned to see that there were already several charges on the account!
Chase immediately closed my account. However, it turns out that this was not a good move. This is because – as I learned after a second phone call – as soon as an account has been closed, Chase is not easily able to determine how the card was activated. The rep I spoke to informed me that it could take “days, months, or even YEARS” to figure out exactly how it happened. (Yes, he really said years.)
The only thing Chase could now see was when the card had been activated, and that the thief did not have the correct Social Security number when he/she called to activate it.
Yep, you read that right. Even though someone completely flubbed a MAJOR security question, he or she was able to activate the card.
I did some research online – was this a thing? – and learned the surprising truth, which is that this is not an infrequent situation. Also, I learned that you can often use a credit card BEFORE it is activated. If the purchases are small enough, and there isn’t a huge flood of them, often they will go through even if you have not called to activate the card.