Received an interesting phone call last week, from the risk management department at Discover Card.  It was surprising to hear from them, as I haven't used Discover card in years.  This also made returning the call a bit difficult, as I had to find my account number in order for them to figure out why they had called me.
Well, you can probably already figure out where this is going.  They were calling because on the previous day, someone had tried to use my account number to buy something on the Internet.  
My account number?  What account number?  I don't even have a current Discover card - the last one I could find expired in 2002.  The agent explained that my account was still active, though still associated with my Boston address (~4 years since I moved).  This was quite puzzling to me.  I asked how could my account be active if I didn't have a currently valid card?  She responded that they had mailed me a new card on schedule in 2002.  But to my old address?  I wondered if someone had intercepted it.  No, she replied, the account indicated that the card had been returned to them, "addressee unknown".
To me, it seems like that would be the clue for them to deactivate the account.  But apparently not.  As the account holder, it is my responsibility to cancel the account, not theirs.  Thus, despite not having used it in more than four years, and no valid card being in circulation, my account was still active.
Tip of the day -- In the era of identity theft, I suppose this should serve as a reminder about any open-but-sleeping accounts.  For sure, I'll be cancelling the Discover card this week (which, of course, must be done in writing, blah blah blah).  I know over the years I've also opened department or specialty store charge card accounts, mainly to get discounts.  Worse than the mainline credit card, those store accounts typically don't have any expiration dates at all.  Time for a file audit on those.  It probably would be a good time to check out a current credit report -- you never know what will turn up there.

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