By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS)–When the expiration date approached on Debra Mayo’s Sears-branded Mastercard, the credit card company sent a new one in the mail. But before Mayo could activate the card, someone intercepted it and went shopping at the Michigan Avenue Apple store–leaving Mayo with the bill.

Nearly 189 million Americans use credit cards, and this problem could happen to anyone.

Mayo never received her new card in the mail, but instead got a bill for $2,720–for a store she’s never visited.

She found out about the charge when she got a fraud alert in her email. Aside from the Apple Store, the thief also tried unsuccessfully to use the card at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Mayo filed a police report and expected Sears to remove the charge, but instead the company sent her a second card with the $2,720 balance transferred to that account.

“It’s unfair. It’s wrong. it’s wrong,” Mayo said. “They’re still holding me responsible for a card that I didn’t receive.”

Ted Rossman, an analyst for speculated the card was already pre-activated by the bank before it was sent out in the mail, or the thief may have stolen some of her personal information.

“A lot of times cards come pre-activated,” he said.

Citibank, the card-issuer, has since issued Mayo a refund for the charge.

“I definitely emphathize with this viewer’s plight,” Rossman said. “This is a tough one, (and) it doesn’t sound like she really had any fault in the manner.”

Mayo said she planned to set up text alerts so she’s notified each time her cards are used for purchases.


Dorothy Tucker