Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sorry about my absence; I was busy having my @&^%# identity stolen

Hey, I'm still alive, but I'm relegated to only posting from home, since I no longer have access to the Internet while at work—including on my own time. (And I'm working overtime again, so that's just less time at home.)

I haven't only been neglecting my blogging. I've also been procrastinating my bill paying, too, since I do all of it online. Tonight, as I was preparing to pay a credit card statement, I noticed some activity on the card that I knew wasn't mine.

For starters, I haven't used the card in more than three months. It sits in a hidden location in my house...I don't carry it around with me.

Second, and most ironically, there were two transactions on the same day (3/19), of more than $500 each, from...Victoria's Secret. Make all the jokes you want to, but the fact is that I have never been into a Victoria's Secret store in my life—heck, when I walk by one, I intentionally look the other direction! I have no wife or girlfriend to buy lingerie for (not that I would need to buy lingerie for a girlfriend anyway), nor do I have any other reason to step onto their real estate. So there.

Third, the purchases made (four in total before I called the fraud department) put my account balance over the credit limit for the card. Not by tens, but by hundreds of dollars. I may not have the brightest mind out there (sometimes I'm about as sharp as a cue ball) but I know not to go over my limit on my credit cards by hundreds of dollars.

This whole thing really came as a shock to me because I believe I have taken many steps to protect myself against this type of fraud. My mailing address is a locked post office box. I don't carry my cards on my person. I do receive those annoying, useless "convenience checks" but I always (cross-cut) shred them. My statements are kept inside of my locked house and I only keep a year's worth, after which I shred them. I rarely make purchases online, and when I do, it's always on a secure site with an https: URL.

Whoever stole my identity was able to manufacture a new card in my name. I know this because the credit card company said that the purchases were swiped, not made online or with a convenience check. This means that there is a fake card out there with my name and number on it, with a forged signature (in case the merchants actually bother to check the signature). Fortunately, the credit card company noticed the unusual activity and stopped a $950 transaction from paying. So sorry, Nordstrom. I'm sure the clothes were nice.

The account is now closed, but I still need to call another fraud office tomorrow to individually dispute the transactions. So there goes my lunch break. Guess I'll have to read my Grisham novel while driving again.

6 Talked Back:

At March 22, 2006 at 12:12:00 PM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

Welcome Back!

Oh my gosh! I have been wondering if everything was okay with you. I'm so sorry about the identity theft. It's frustrating that even when you are careful, things like that still happen. Thank goodness you caught it when you did! A couple of years ago, I found out that someone had used my SSN to open a cell phone account in California, a place I've never even visited. It was pretty upsetting.

Just so you'll know, you have been missed! The blogosphere isn't nearly as much fun without you! My friends who read your blog have been asking me (like I would know, since we've never met. I guess since I introduced them to your blogs, they all think I know what is up with you.), anyway, they've been asking about you. So, I've reported that you are okay and still on the scene!


At March 22, 2006 at 12:23:00 PM CST, Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

You have my complete and utter sympathy here. Before we had our ID stolen, we did get The Wife™'s purse stolen from the top of the car (one of those 'we just took our eyes off it of a second' situations) and the thief promptly took our debit card, used it at the Utopia Club over at NE 82nd and Multnomah, then went out to White Salmon Washington and bought...a bunch of groceries.

When at last our ID was stolen by someone, they used it to AOL account.

We're still scratching our heads over this stuff.


At March 23, 2006 at 8:37:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Thanks for welcoming me back. Since the Internet lockdown at work, I almost feel less inspired to blog about stuff. I'm one of those people that gets the best stuff done when I'm supposed to be doind something else. Like right now, I'm supposed to be in the shower.

Did anyone notice my prank letter to the mayor of Portland?

Nicole, didn't you realize that you and I are old friends now? Of course you are my Carthage liaison. And whenever I have questions about all of your friends, I'm relying upon you to give me the latest news :)

Although now that you know I'm reading Grisham rather than Shakespeare, I'm sure you'll quickly disown me...


At March 23, 2006 at 9:50:00 AM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

I know exactly what you mean. I am most inspired to blog when I'm supposed to be studying for Physics or finishing up the expense report at work. (It's usually when I'm working on something non-literary that I get my greatest inspiration to be literary!)

I did notice your letter to the mayor of Portland. Loved it! Where do you come up with this stuff?

And Stan, I could never disown you, you're my favorite Oreg. resident! Of course, I don't know anyone else in or really even from Oregon, so . . .


At March 27, 2006 at 12:35:00 AM CST, Blogger h-i-p said...

very uncool. well good luck with that. you have made a lot of precautions -- paranoia? for good reason i suppose. a bit unfortunate that everyone else who so blantly just throws away their convenience checks (i'm not one of them!) without ever shredding them never are the victims of identity theft. how does it feel, to be a victim? well, good discernment on nordstrom's part. that's the nordstrom customer service in action for ya. and you weren't technically their customer. be careful reading grisham on the road. i've heard of accidents being caused by crichton, grisham, et al. king and sagan can cause pile ups.


At March 27, 2006 at 1:25:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Well, actually, it wasn't so much Nordstrom's service as it was Bank of America's anti-fraud policy to flag suspicious transactions and hold them for payment. I hadn't used the card in months, then all of a sudden here were four transactions totaling about $2,000. Even if I had been the one making the purchases, it still would have flagged.

So, actually, shame on Nordstrom's for not checking ID on a purchase for $950 worth of clothes. Thank you BofA for having anti-fraud policies in place.

As for Grisham, this book was much less exciting than previous works. If Lost in Translation was Sofia Coppola's postcard from Tokyo, then The Broker was Grisham's from Bologna, Italy. Interesting, but not riveting. So really, I was in more danger from nodding off at the wheel than anything.


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