Adventures in Identity Theft

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So you know how on my last post I was all “oh nothing interesting ever happens to me, why would anyone want to read about my boring life?”????? Next time I say stuff like that, punch me in the arm really hard and tell me not to say stuff like that because I’ll be darned if stuff didn’t happen over the weekend.

So I’m sitting there at my computer just relaxing after a busy Saturday and I get an email from Big Time Store (not the real name, duh) that says “your private information has been changed. If you didn’t authorize these changes, blah blah blah” (the email didn’t really say blah blah blah, but for brevity’s sake, just go with it)… and no I didn’t authorize any changes. Then 2 seconds later I notice another email that says “This is your receipt for your recent Big Time Store.com (not the real name of the website, duh again) purchase” and I was all OH HAIL NO! So then I check my bank account balance and sure enough, there’s a charge for $273.46 from Big Time Store.com.

My stomach did a sensational parallel bar routine that would have made Gabby Douglas jealous.

Oh I was sick. And then I was panicked. And then I was MAD. The most amazing thing of all? I didn’t eat. I didn’t WANT to eat. It’s a rare thing for me to feel ill at the thought of food, but I wanted nothing to do with any sort of food whatsoever. I was THAT upset.

All evening long I fretted about this and paced and obsessively checked my email and my bank account to make sure nothing else had gone through (nothing did). I still don’t know how they got my password and my card number, but I felt really…well I felt about every emotion you can think of.

By Monday morning I realized that I was actually very lucky because there were  several things going on in my favor –

a) I caught the emails not long after they had been sent. Many times I don’t even check my email on the weekends so it’s a good thing I was online when I was.

b) The thief who stole my card number was an idiot and opted for site-to-store pickup. The email receipt listed the name and phone number of the store, which I promptly called and talked with a manager and gave him the heads-up. He was very helpful and gave me the number to the .com site, and I called and talked with them – they also were very helpful.

c) I called the after-hours number of my bank and was able to block my card from being used before any other charges could show up.

d) Payday was Friday so I had plenty of money in the bank to cover the charges.

e) The idiot thief charged less than $300. They could have charged much, much more than that.

f) I live in Northern Oklahoma. The store pickup was in San Antonio, TX – not hard to prove that it wasn’t me doing the ordering.

By Sunday I had received an email stating that the charges would be refunded to me and by Monday morning, they were. I cancelled that particular card and changed every password to every online account I have (of course now it takes me forever to remember which password goes with which site, but that’s an inconvenience I can deal with). I will for SURE be more careful online from now on and not be quite as “oh it will never happen to me”.

Learn from my mistake, folks. Be extra super careful when you are online. What would have been a really good weekend was marred by this incident, and that pisses me off more than anything. But it all worked out in the end and for that I am grateful.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Adventures in Identity Theft

  1. myjourneytofit

    That is scary. We dealt with credit card fraud about a year ago and it’s incredible how fast the thieves work – glad you caught it so quickly.

    Now I need to go and rethink all of my passwords!

  2. debby

    Oh wow. I am one of those ‘it will never happen to me’ people. I am very impressed with your fast work. I guess you don’t know if they caught the thieves, since they were picking up the stuff?

    • I don’t know if they caught them or not. The store manager said they weren’t going to release the merchandise. I asked him about calling the police and he said the problem with that was they didn’t know if/when the thieves would come in and the police “get there when they get there”. He said this actually happens quite often, sadly.

  3. Can I take your identity? I need to be more sassy.

    I wish there would be a trap door in the floor so when the thief tries to pick up the merchandise, the employee pulls the lever and WOOSH! down he or she goes until the police decide to arrive.

  4. I’ve had a game hacked into, which of course is not the same as real money but still represented possibly hundreds of hours of “work” (hah! work, yeah). I logged on to World of Warcraft and found my character in her underwear instead of high level armour, bank empty, bags empty, my Guild’s bank accessed … I did feel really violated, for want of a better word. Blizzard (the game company) replaced all my imaginary stuff which was nice.

    I hate to think how I would feel if it was my real identity stolen! You handled it really well.

  5. Sallye

    My husband had his wallet stolen and within 45 minutes the thief had charged $750 at Wal*Mart using 4 different transactons — not one cashier asked for an ID! Luckily he reported the card stolen quickly because the thief worked fast.

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