Ontario senior told to pay $2,300 in fraudulent credit card charges

TORONTO —
Credit card fraud has always been an issue, but criminals have become even bolder during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When a senior citizen had $2,300 in fraudulent charges on his credit card he was shocked when he was told to pay them.

“I’m refusing to pay the bill because it’s not my bill. If it was my bill I would pay it, but it’s not my bill,” argued 77-year-old Art Cram of Almonte, Ont.

Cram said he has had a Walmart credit card for many years, but said when he was issued a new card in December of 2020, he became concerned when not long after he got a suspicious phone call.

He said he contacted Walmart and cancelled the card, but on his next statement there were two charges from an Azerbaijan travel company totaling $2,300.

Cram told Walmart he never made the charges, but he was told he had to pay them.

“Every month I get a bill and the interest keeps adding up. I just want to get it cleaned up. Period, that’s what I would like” said Cram.

Frustrated, Cram contacted a Legal Aid Clinic in Perth, Ont. and lawyer James Kafieh contacted Walmart on Cram’s behalf.

“Mr. Cram has never been outside of Canada. The idea that he would be dealing with a travel company in Azerbaijan in the former Soviet Union is ridiculous,” said Kafieh.

Kafieh told Walmart Cram had no interest in traveling during the pandemic to Azerbaijan, a country currently facing civil unrest.

“It made no sense whatsoever. It was clearly a case of fraud as he doesn’t even own a computer,” said Kafieh.

The clinic contacted CTV News Toronto and we reached out to Walmart.

Walmart MasterCard is issued by Duo Bank and a spokesperson told us, “We take customer concerns very seriously. We have followed the industry standard practice of investigating disputed transactions. Our customer was contacted and offered an appropriate resolution.”

When we explained the situation to Walmart, they agreed to take a closer look at Cram’s credit card charges.

The Duo Bank spokesperson then said, “Our customer was contacted and offered an appropriate resolution.”

Walmart agreed to reverse all charges, including interest.

“On top of reducing the balance to zero, Walmart MasterCard is sending Mr. Cram a $50 gift certificate for his trouble,” Kafieh said and added “credit card companies have to do more to protect their customers.”

It’s important to watch your credit card and bank statements carefully. If you do see charges that don’t belong, contact your financial institution right away and escalate matters if the charges are not removed. 

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