Friday, January 11, 2008


We've been hit.

And I never, ever, not once thought it could happen to us.

Identity theft.

I wasn't going to blog about it, but it has taken over the last few days of my life and will probably take many more to fix.

On Monday, I received a call from my local Costco saying that my check was returned for insufficient funds. I actually laughed at the guy on the phone.
Out loud.

In fact, I told is impossible.

Now, on his behalf, I am sure he hears this all day long, since this is all he does. But in truth, it is nearly impossible for us to bounce a check. We bank at a credit union and our checking account comes with more overdraft protection than we would ever need. Enough to pay our bills for close to 3 months. I'm not saying that we have never dipped into it, but at 22.8% interest, it's not worth it and I can count on one hand how many times we have used it.

So, I tell the Costco guy that he must be mistaken. And he tells me he's not.

So I get off the phone and call M at work. I tell him that I've bounced a check...and he laughs.

I'm telling's just not possible.

While we are talking, I get online.

And then I freak out.

I have my card. M has his card. I have my checkbook and not one check is missing.

But someone has been shopping.

There wasn't a whole lot in my checking account...M is paid only once a month and this is week 3, but there was a ton in the overdraft and it is maxed out.


I was on the phone to the bank while I was driving to the bank. The police are involved. We have an attorney.

Apparently, it all came from my debit card. I'm not sure exactly where, but by following the paper-less trail online, we have figured out close to when it happened and it was at either Chili's or Cheesecake Factory. A restaurant. I gave my card to the server and they copied down my card number and that little 3 digit code from the back.

And then they went shopping.

And by they, I mean she. She is a girl in her early 20's and she lives in Compton. Because of privacy laws we are not even supposed to know that, but our friend is an attorney and has friends at the police station. She bought herself some mighty nice things, including a Dell computer and many items ($6000.00 worth!) at the Apple

That's a lotta iPhones.

She was smart...until she paid her gas bill.

With my card.

What I never knew was that you can charge and charge and charge and it will go straight to your overdraft.

I could have been doing some major shopping of my own all these years.


Live and learn.

She was also experienced.
spent just under the 'go to jail' prosecution amount of $10,000.00.

Good for her.

She will never see the inside of a jail cell, but she will go to court. It'll take years, or so I've been told. There are just too many cases like this out there. The policeman who came to the bank to file the report was so sweet. I wasn't being especially kind at the beginning and I had to stop and apologize to him. He sees this all fact, mine was the 8th similar complaint that day. He was just doing his job and I was in, panic mode.

Fortunately, we will get our money back. Our accounts are frozen this week until the new ones open and the credit union where we bank, which deals strictly with teachers, will handle everything for us. It will take awhile and aside from one bounced check....and they even gave me a letter to give to Costco, it will be OK. The crazy part is that it happened so fast.

Anyway, we will be OK.

We've had things happen before and it all worked out. Last year my car window was smashed and my purse stolen. That was horrible. Quite a few years ago, someone went to Jamaica on our American Express card and it took them 10 months to work it out. That's 10 months of us making payments on a four star really cool deluxe trip that we never took, but in the end they fixed it.

This time...well, it's pretty awful right now, but it was caught early.

So, I am in need today of my friends. M is running a clinic at a local high school and I am going to meet my crazy Greek friend, Maria on Balboa Island. I am planning on consoling myself with some amazing window shopping and something really great for lunch. I need to be at Brian's school in a little's pajama day, and they're doing a little parade.

Aside from some basketball driving afterschool, I think we are all in for the night.

Life is good.


1 comment:

  1. YIKES! That's scary. Last year, we got a call from the bank saying they were investigating a mysterious charge of $600 worth of shoes in Iowa City. Hmmm.... It didn't fit our usual pattern, and I've never spent $600 on shoes! They declined the sale, and re-issued the card.

    You'll get it straightened out, it will just take time. If you see this other person in a store, run over her foot with a full shopping cart! :)


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