An Object Lesson in Identity Theft

Credit Card

Yesterday, I logged into my credit card account to check my balance and see if a particular charge had been reversed. I was surprised to see that the balance was higher than I’d expected, so I dug deeper and looked at the recent transactions.

According to my credit card records, I nipped off to Thornhill on Thursday, put $169 worth of gas in my car (when a typical fill-up only costs me $40-45), and then hopped over to the nearest Walmart Superstore and spent over $1017. This was, of course, a surprise for me, since I have proudly not seen the inside of a Walmart in years.

So I drop everything and call the credit card company. And I have to say that these guys are true professionals. They were courteous and responsive and helpful — precisely what one wants when one has been robbed of more than a thousand dollars. Did I still have my credit card on hand, they ask? Yes, here it is in my wallet. Well, that’s strange because these look to be swiped transactions.

They put a security hold on my credit card immediately and said that a new one would get to me in about eight to ten days. They also disputed the charges and told me that a fraud affidavit would be sent my way; sign it and send it back, and the charges would be off my account. I thanked the operator profusely, hung up the phone, and went about my daily business. The whole matter took under fifteen minutes.

I’m wracking my brains about the last time I actually swiped this particular credit card, and I probably won’t know until I receive the full bill later this month. I do put online purchases on this card fairly regularly, but this isn’t a problem with my online purchases.

These fraudulent transactions were swiped through, meaning that the credit card was forged, and they somehow managed to get a copy of my magnetic strip. Which means that, sometime in the last month, I handed my card over to a cashier or someone, who fed my card through a reader. There has been a rash of such activity in the region, recently, with a gas station convenience store busted.

You hear about these sorts of crimes, but you never really think they can happen to you, until it happens to you, but I don’t know what else I could have done to prevent these guys from getting my information, without just pulling all the money out of my bank and paying nothing but cash.

All I can say is that I’m glad they got a hold of my credit card, rather than my debit card. This will be a lot easier to clean up, although I am left with the task of contacting a number of companies (phone, utilities, fitness center) and getting them to change their records before my payments to them bounce.

Erin suggests that I get a credit report, to make sure that everything is all right, and these guys haven’t compromised my credit rating in other ways. What are your thoughts on this?

In other news, the Unwritten Blog has restarted, which is why there was no post here yesterday.

I’m also watching the Liberal leadership convention. I can’t help it; I’m a sucker for these things; moreso than the Super Bowl. Now that Kennedy dropped off the ballot early and threw his support behind Dion, I think Dion has the momentum. We’ll know for sure in forty-five minutes, once the third ballot results are announced. It looks like Rae and Ignatieff are contemplating a deal, which I think would be a shame, because that would mean that Ignatieff would win. It’s a shame because Rae would be a better leader than Ignatieff, I think, just as Dion would be a better leader than Rae.

Liberal Convention Notes

Manley: We have to watch the numbers closely because, at the end of this ballot, somebody is going to be dead!
Erin: They take them out and shoot them? Man!
Me: Yup. Better than Survivor.

(Rick Mercer makes an excellent point about how the cameras always follow candidates and delegates as they move around the floor, picking apart what this movement means. What about when the candidates go to the bathroom?)
Mansbridge: That’s a good point, Rick. Now let’s go down to the floor.
Erin (voice of a reporter): Ignatieff is crossing his legs and hopping!

CBC Reporter interviews a Dion delegate
Delegate: “The thing about Ignatieff is that experience matters in this science of politics”
Me: “Dare I call it… a political science?”

Man, does Chretien know how to make a speech. I was almost willing to overlook his failings by the end of it. Almost. It’s a shame that sort of oratory is so lacking amongst our current batch of leaders.

And Dion wins it. I thought he would after Ignatieff’s many gaffes. Congratulations to the man. I think the Liberals made a good choice; the best choice of the night.

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