Chasing Fraudulent Debit Card Charges

NBC 7 Responds helps get one Pacific Beach mother's money back from a credit card skimmer

Melissa Contreras works in finance. The Pacific Beach mother keeps a close eye on her personal finances as well.

But one day last September Contreras noticed ten charges on her debit card for more than $100 per transaction at a Ralph’s Grocery Store in the Midway district.

“I called my husband and I said, ‘What are you doing?’” said Contreras. “He said, ‘What do you mean? I am working.’ I asked him if he went to Ralphs and he said he didn’t.”

Contreras checked to make sure she hadn’t misplaced her debit card. She hadn’t.

She said she called her bank, Chase, and then called the police department to file a report.

The representative at Chase sent her a document to sign. In the meantime, Contreras was given photos of the man that used her card by the San Diego Police Department.

“I signed some paperwork that stated the charges were not mine. When they received the paperwork they placed a temporary hold on my account,” said Contreras.

Everything was fine, thought Contreras, she had caught the fraudulent charges in time before it was too late and she was responsible for the $1,000 in charges.

But two weeks later she said a surprise arrived in the mail.

“I got a letter from Chase,” said Contreras. “It said that they had done their investigation and they deemed those charges to be mine.”

Contreras said she couldn’t believe the news.

“I remember saying, ‘What? Why?’ I mean I proved it wasn’t me. I had the police report. There were pictures of the person that used the card.”

But she said Chase wasn’t going to budge. She was at a standstill, until she thought to contact NBC 7 Responds for help.

An NBC 7 Responds Producer got to work on it and, after two months of mediation, Chase agreed to reimburse the money.

“I got a call from Chase,” said Contreras. They looked into it and apologized. They told me they would reimburse the money, contact credit bureaus and make sure there weren’t any negative reports as a result of the whole thing. I was so thankful.”

Added Contreras, “This would have never happened if I was on my own. It would have gone to collections and I probably would still be fighting it.”

NBC 7 Responds reached out to Chase about Contreras’ case. In a statement, a representative from Chase thanks NBC 7 Responds for “bringing this to our attention. I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to make the customer whole again. 

And while justice was served for Contreras, San Diego Police Department told NBC 7 Responds that the credit card skimmer has not been arrested.

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