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Monday, November 21, 2011

Identity Theft Victim

Today has been a very frustrating day.  Noticing that someone has been renting pornographic material on our tv, I contacted our provider.  They told me I still had to pay for the movies, even though I hadn't rented them.  I've heard several say that I shouldn't pay it.  However, the payment is an automatic withdrawal from my bank account, so I don't know how I can prevent the payment from going through without canceling the service altogether.  They are sending information on how to block the videos or change my password by mail.

A few days ago, Walmart wouldn't take my debit card payment for my purchases, asking for a smaller amount.  What the heck was going on?  I knew I had deposited a great deal of money to my account just a couple of weeks prior to this shopping trip, and hadn't spent much of it, wanting to save it for Christmas gifts.

Today, I received a call from JC Penney online, reporting that someone had tried to purchase a tv using my debit card information, but it was a different address to ship it to, which aroused suspicion in the clerk.  I told her I had not ordered any tvs.  She recommended I contact my bank, which I did  immediately.  The bank president closed my debit card.

My next step was to go online, and look at all the debits and credits to my account.  What I found shocked me.
There were over $2000 in charges that I had never made.  I printed out the register of entries.  I was really becoming upset.  Was someone coming in to my house?  Or going through my purse at work?  Or getting access to my account information from shopping online?   I felt violated.  The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

I posted a message to the culprit on Facebook.  I told this invisible threat to my well-being that I hoped they were enjoying my grandchildren's Christmas money, and that I was trying to gain the strength to forgive them, but it was difficult, very difficult.  I told them that the card was cancelled, and the account would probably be closed as well.

Then I called the sheriff's department and reported what had been happening.  They took my name and number and promised someone would be in touch.  It was much later when the deputy called and said he had been tied up with a traffic accident.  We talked and he asked a lot of questions.  I gave a lot of  information to him that I usually don't give out over the phone.  I had noticed the caller ID number and knew it came from the police department.  I felt a little uneasy giving out that information, because if the wrong person got hold of that information, I could really be in financial disaster.

The deputy said he would come by Mt. Joseph, where I work, tomorrow afternoon to pick up the itemized list of charges made by the culprit.  I hope and pray they catch this person.  I wonder how many others have been stolen from by this person.  I don't know if it happened in one of the stores when I was shopping last weekend, or if my card was exposed to someone elsewhere.  Or could it have happened when I shopped online?

I do know that I will be much more protective with my card and shopping from now on.  My purse will be kept locked in my locker at work, not left lying on the floor by the desk.  I have a hard time trusting anyone. I'm changing the password on my television, so no one can run up a huge bill again.  The remotes will be kept where the dogs can't step on them.  My peace has been destroyed, in the Season of Peace and Goodwill.  I hope things will be better next year.