Last night my wife discovered a charge on her account that shouldn't have been there. After a call to the 800# on the line item, I discovered it was a company named Complete Savings. Apparently, she had purchased something online (a few months ago) and somehow signed up for a Complete Savings membership. We're not sure how this happened, but let's assume this part is true.
"Maria", at Complete Savings, asked some basic information - last name and zip code - and then verified that information. She then verified the email address as some limited form of ID protection. At no time did she ask a credit card number or any other "sensitive" information. She explained the benefits to membership and offered me some solutions to the charge. She could cancel my (our) membership or I could log on to the website and explore the benefits more. I opted for canceling.
"Maria" explained that I still had 30 days to explore the website and that no future charges would occur. She was very polite about it. I said (not asked) that she could also reverse the charge. She said she could do that, and unfortunately it would cancel my membership immediately. I told her that was fine and she explained it would take 3-5 business days to see the credit on my account.
All in all, this was a reasonably pleasant exchange. How my wife's information got to this company, I don't know, but we plan to email the company we did purchase from to follow up. Before "Maria" answered the phone, there was a series of prompts that asked for Social Security number or charge card number, but I refused to enter it and just hit "0" for an operator. After a not-too-long wait, I got a real person who spoke at least decent English.
The worst part of the process was dealing with my bank. I wanted them to block the charge and they explained that they would have to block the card completely. This seems contrary to what I've heard that Visa Debit will do for you and I'll have to investigate some more.
Moral of the story is that you should follow up on things like this and quickly address the problem. It took less than 30 minutes total to resolve this problem.