So a couple of years ago I went out of town for a conference. I spent some money at home in the morning, and then tried to pay with my credit/debit card when I checked into the hotel a state away. Declined. I thought, "Huh, that's weird," and went to dinner, where the card was, again, declined. The next morning I called my credit union, and they said, essentially, that my card had been flagged for unusual activity, and since the attempted transactions were in a major city pretty far away from where I lived, my card had been deactivated as a precaution. Because I was an ungrateful idiot, I did not appreciate this protection (I didn't say anything to the person on the phone, since I figured it wasn't their doing, but I was inwardly annoyed, and that's bad enough).

Flash forward to today. I went out to lunch a while ago, paid with my debit card, no problem. Then I drove to the store two minutes away, spent about twenty minutes shopping, and while I walked to the checkout, I saw that I had a voicemail. When I called, I got an automated message from my credit union saying that I needed to verify some charges. No problem, I thought, I'll do it when I get home. I tried to pay with my debit card. Declined. Figuring that I knew what was going on, I switched to a different card and went out to the parking lot to call and find out what was going on.

Turns out that some jagoff had gotten hold of my card number and charged $150 at a Rite Aid the next state over, and then tried to charge $200 a couple minutes later. The first charge is pending on my account, but the second one got the account flagged and the card suspended.

I just got off the phone with my credit union—I have to wait until the $150 charge clears, then file an appeal, and my card is now completely deactivated and will be replaced.

So, for what it's worth, thanks, credit union, I was wrong to ever question you (on an intellectual level, I always understood the fraud protection, even if I didn't appreciate it enough). As for the scumbags who tried to steal my money, it's funny just how quickly one can go from a mild-mannered, "Well, the rules are in place for a reason, but we should always have empathy" perspective to "Fuck them, I want their hands broken with hammers like the card-counting scene in Casino."*

*-Just to be abundantly clear, I do not actually want to see violence visited upon anyone, but, seriously, fuck them sideways.