Mid-South woman perplexed by strange credit card charges

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South woman who used her credit card to pay for a recent dinner says someone then stole her number and tried to use it internationally.

Terri Watson learned the disturbing news from her credit card company.

"They told me there were over $500 in charges to Spain and to France," she said.

But the only recent trip Wilson had taken was to Memphis' Los Comales restaurant, on South Perkins, for her son's birthday.

"I'm a single mom with two teenage boys, but because it was a special occasion, we splurged a little bit," she said.

Watson said it wasn't the same restaurant they'd been to in the past.

"It had changed names, and he was fine with that," she said. "We went in, the food was good, and the service was good."

Watson didn't give the meal much more thought, until she learned of the suspicious charges.

"I knew right away it had to be that restaurant because that's the only place I had used it," she said.

Wilson attempted to call the restaurant several times, but no one ever answered.  Monday, the owner of the restaurant did not want to appear on camera, but said Wilson was calling the wrong telephone number.  Action News 5 put the two in contact with one another, and they've started talks.

Meanwhile, Wilson has also filed a claim with her credit card company.

"They're going to send me the forms so we can dispute the charges and get that money back," she said.

Once she gets an affidavit from her credit card company, Wilson will file a police report.  The Secret Service is investigating, but it won't be clear how Watson's information was breached until the investigation's complete.

Late Monday afternoon, a representative from Heartland Payment Systems, which operates the credit card swiper Watson used, said Watson was only charged $48.62.  The representative added that Heartland Payment Systems are secure.

Watson said she would not wish this inconvenience on anyone.

"Check your statements several times a month, and not just that one time you make the payment, because I paid it on the first, and the charges were made on the second," she said.

For information on what you can do to protect yourself against credit card fraud, or if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, click here for a link to Secret Service tips.

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