“There are two of me... maybe 100s.”
It finally happened to me. If it hasn’t happened to you, it will. Oh, it’s gonna happen all right. Obviously I’m referring to ear obstructions. No, that was months ago. Seems like. This week we’re talking about identity theft.
I’m bringing it up, ‘cause someone somewhere is pretending to be me, and I’m fairly sure he’s doing a better job of it. Just look at me. Would you trade places? What I’m sayin’?
I was made aware of the charade just yesterday. When I got home I discovered a voice message from a computer sounding person. She said that some odd transactions were discovered on my Discover Card. Suggested I call and talk to Donny in Manipur. (I assumed that’s who it would be.) Or, I could go on line and not have to talk to anyone.
I was given a code to use in reference to my particular odd buying behavior. At no time did the computer ask for it. It wanted some numbers right off my card. And, asked if my grandpa on my Mom’s side was bald. Somebody asked that. I think it was Discover.
It sounded to me as if the computer was trying to steal my identity. I played along, ‘cause… well, sheeesh, I was already out there. I didn’t know how many Marks there were.
The computer eventually spit out three recent purchases. Each was made within a two day period. Two of ‘em were made at Sam’s Club. That’s the only place I use my Discover Card, ‘cause it’s the only one that’s accepted at the checkout. They’ll take anything at the gas pump, but they’re real particular about what you use to purchase your five-gallon can of coffee creamer. Why do places jerk us around like that?
Let’s see… oh, yeah, the third Discovery Card transaction had been made that very day. One of me had purchased something at The Muse Hotel. Something that cost $3.65. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the “me” who lives where I do. Could’ve been Kay, but then she seldom goes to hotel rooms without me.
No, this was odd all right. I instantly Googled the Muse Hotel to determine if it looked like I might’ve enjoyed myself for $3.65. The Hotel was in Bangkok. That’s like in Thailand. It’s at Langsuan Rd, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. That ruled out Kay. I figured that the purchases at Sam’s of the rotisserie chicken on Tuesday and the case of diced tomatoes on Wednesday were legitimate purchases. But, the Bangkok Hotel smelled a bit fishy.
At that point the computer said that it was necessary I call and talk to a real person. I knew this was going to get messy somewhere. It took me several minutes to key in the numbers that the computerized telephone voice required. At one point I was making up numbers. Eventually I was informed me that my conversation might be recorded. That’s when I heard him. Said his name was “Chad.” From his accent, I surmised that he was from Omsk. They pronounced their “R”s backwards there. And, there are no Chad’s in Omsk. A lot of Larrys.
Chad didn’t stay with me long. As soon as I picked the Muse Hotel, he told me that he would need to deactivate my card. I asked if there were a lot of calls about Muse Hotel purchases. He pretended not to understand what I asked. “What u mein. Kiksnov?”
You have no idea how close I came to letting the whole thing ride. Logic being, whoever had stolen my identity wasn’t spending all that much. It took well over $3.65 of my time and effort to deal with the problem. But, who knows when the other “me” might reserve the honeymoon suite? Or buy a Vespa. No, I did the right thing.
Unfortunately, this is going to happen again. Oh, yes it will. There is no way we are safe from hackers. One way or the other, you’re going to get got. Stealing used to be so much less covert.
When I was in college I remember having to memorize my social security number so I could give it out each time I wrote a check. There’d be 10 people in ear distance of me and I’d be rattling off my social security number. Back then, only Richard Kimble was interested in stealing Social Security numbers. But, now if someone gets your social security number, they can pretty much own you. I don’t know how that works, but then I don’t know who it is in this house that keeps hiding one houseshoe from me. Not the same one. Switches ‘em around.
Yes, thievery has gotten so much more sophisticated. The most successful thieves don’t care if you lock your doors or leave your wallet in the front seat of your car. They don’t even have to be on the same continent. Muse Hotel in Bangkok? I don’t see how the other “me” could’ve enjoyed himself on only $3.65. I’m just glad it wasn’t Kay who was using the Discovery card in Bangkok.
EndMark@rooftopwriter.com – Find archived articles at www.rooftopwriter.com