Friday, December 30, 2011
I'm Still Me. Mostly.
Yesterday I was busy doing whatever it was that I do, when an email came through, and my phone began to ring at the same time. It was American Express, my credit card company, with a recording asking me to call them back immediately. Immediately? I wondered what they wanted to sell me this time. So before I called them back, I read the email.
Fraud Protection Alert
Please call us immediately
For you security we regularly monitor accounts for possible fraudulent activity. Please review the attempted charge below which occurred within minutes of the timestamp of this message.
Transaction Date: 12/28/11
It had happened. Someone had stolen my identity. I had been hacked. Someone was typing away on a computer somewhere in the world, pretending to be me - not this me - the real me - the me that I am when I'm not me. Oh, nevermind.
Anyways, my first thought was mercy and pity towards the thief. Not really. I was angry. The anger quickly gave way to a bigger question: What in the heck would someone buy at Walmart for $8919.65? Costco, maybe - but Walmart? Besides, I would never run that big of a transaction on AmEx for anything, unless I got some inside scoop that the end of the world was coming before the next due date cycled around.
I found my EC and asked her if she had been doing any online shopping that day. In retrospect that was a stupid question, but I did ask. She said no, and asked me why. They I told her that my identity had been stolen to the tune of 9 Grand. Her look reinforced that it was, indeed, a stupid question. She asked me one back. "What would someone buy at Walmart for $9000 dollars?" I was at a loss.
I picked up the phone and called AmEx back to find out what was going on. I was a little unsteady and unsure of myself, having lost my identity. But enough remained that I pushed forward. I dialed the emergency line, punched in my card number, said Representative. Representative. Rep-re-sen-ta-tive. And then. magically, I was able to get through and quickly began to wait.
Eventually a young lady answered my phone. Her limited use of English made me instantly suspect that this was yet another elaborate scheme to steal even more of my identity. She asked my name - I hesitated, She asked me questions that only I, and now she, knew the answers to. At least I hoped no one else knew the answers. It was difficult- I had never had to function without my identity intact - but her voice didn't make things any easier. I won't show any bias by describing her accent, but it sounded like she was wearing a very colorful Sari.
Finally we got to the point where she told me what was going on. Turns out that after the evildoer had failed in completing his purchase, he had the audacity to call AmEx and pretend to be me to get them to validate the transaction anyway. Apparently, he had stolen even more of me that I had thought. The Rep then put me on hold, forever. I eventually called back, jumped through the requisite hoops, and went through it all again.
They cancelled my compromised card, and had a new one in my hands within 21 hours. Impressive. I changed some passcodes and info so that the new version of me would be stymied, and now life is mostly back to normal. I am still me, for the most part.
I'm proud of AmEx for catching the fraud. Granted, when the majority of the transactions on that card are under $10, a $9000 Walmart.com ding is worth noticing. Hopefully the person will eventually repent, and I can one day joke with him - and ask the important question:
What in the world were you trying to buy for $9,000 at Walmart?
I think I found it. With snacks - $9K - just in time for the BYU-Tulsa bowl game.
mormon humorist, satire, lds humor