Imagine someone racking up $11,000 in charges on your credit card without your knowledge.
That's what happened to a retired Loveland man, who is now responsible for paying it all back.
Don Godding thought he was entering retirement, but he's heading back to work part-time to pay off charges he didn't accrue.
"It's very frustrating," said Godding.
The thief charged nearly $11,000 to his credit card in two months -- driving his balance from $6,000 to $18,000.
"(The thief) was making withdrawals and transactions somewhere out of Denver," said Godding's granddaughter, Chianne Coffman.
Godding was unaware of his exploding balance because he said he never looked at his statements. He just continued to make his minimum $200 payments on time every month.
"I just naturally wrote out my $200 every month and sent it. And like a dummy, I wasn't watching the top of it," said Godding.
That proved to be Godding's first critical error. He talked to a Bank of America spokesman, who said the charges were considered legitimate because Godding continued to pay off the account, instead of contesting the charges.
"When I talked to him, he just acted like that happens. He told me that, legally, once I paid it, that's the same as saying I accepted it," said Godding.
At that point the card was overdrawn, and Bank of America told him he needed to pay $2,500 immediately.
"So, to avoid the $2,500 which I did not have in cash at the time, I just...I talked to (Chase) and I said I want to transfer this amount of money from another card over," said Godding.
He transferred the balance to a Chase account with a high credit line. That proved to be the second critical error. An attorney told Godding that because he transferred the balance, the debt is likely now his.
"I made the total payoff when I switched. I shouldn't have paid it," said Godding.
Now, he's stuck paying a $500 minimum monthly payment.
"There should automatically be fraudulent protection on every credit card issued in the state of Colorado," said Coffman.
Godding blames himself.
"Pay attention. Observe. Watch what you're doing," Godding said.
But his family wonders where the protections are for consumers.
"I think, for one, there needs to be a law in place that enables people who have been taken advantage of, to prosecute those who have taken advantage of them," said Coffman.
"Five hundred dollars extra is a hardship every month. It is. Unless you're one of these wealthy retirees, which I'm not," said Godding.
A Bank of America spokeswoman told 7NEWS it is looking into the matter. She said a customer usually has only 60 days to question an illegitimate charge. The Colorado Attorney Generals Office said Godding should file a federal complaint.
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