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July 27, 2005

I got identity thefted!

And I'm not even the first person to come up with the term "identity thefted," sadly.

The other day, I got my bill from my credit card company, looked it over, everything looked okay. I went online to pay the bill, and it said there was an error in logging me in and I should call some number. Well, whatever, I thought, they're stupid, I'll do it later. The next day I tried to buy something online with the card, and it was denied. It seemed like it was worth it to call now.

As I waited on hold for a little while, I realized that I had probably set off some warning in their system by buying a new computer and blowing some money in Montreal. I'd tell them everything was fine and to stop being a bunch of nervous nellies with my damn card. When they got to my call, I had trouble convincing them that I was, in fact, Will Carlough, since I wasn't calling from my home phone number (a number which is now defunct) and I didn't get the security question that I had come up with five years ago right, for reasons I won't go into, in case there are any prospective identity thefters reading. (Fuck, I didn't come up with identity thefter either.)

So the guy started listing off things that were bought in The Philippines and Great Britian that I had never heard of: A cell phone bill, an ebay purchase, I forget what else. Nothing too exotic, it all seemed rather mundane, other than the locales. I'm a little disappointed my thief didn't have more fun with it. The guy on the phone wrapped up the list, told me to cut up my card, they'd send me a new one, and they wouldn't charge me for any of the stuff. (I probably should have told him my computer and the Montreal trip weren't me either.)

I went back to my desk and was ready to forget about this petty annoyance. I was in the middle of an instant message conversation with my friend Michelle, so I told her about what had just happened. "You must feel so violated!" she said, or something to that effect. Hey, you know what, I hadn't thought of it until then, I was still on my kick of being annoyed by my stupid credit card company for making me call them. Maybe I did feel violated. I started to think, how could my card have been leaked? I'm usually fairly careful. Was it that tape stock I bought over the phone the other day? Did someone out there have more personal information on me? I'm stealing wi-fi from my neighbor, could he have intercepted something?

Well, who knows. My neighbor's probably out, since he can't even figure out how to password protect his wi-fi network. I vaguely remember an episode of CSI: Miami about identity theft, and they said that most identity theft is all about just garbage picking. I think. Oh, and my friend Peter claims that what happened doesn't qualify as identity theft, because no one actually assumed my identity, they just got a hold of my credit card number. I think he was implying that identity theft is more pervasive than just a credit card. It's true, that lady on CSI had to carry around paperwork proving that she was herself. And then the thief started doing the same thing, it was crazy! Well, you had to be there. And that's how I became an identity theftee. (Finally!) More from Montreal next time.

Posted by Will at July 27, 2005 11:52 PM


I'm sure you've heard this many times since having your identity thefted, but you should really get a shredder. They're not just for CFOs anymore.

Posted by: diana at July 29, 2005 6:18 PM

Thanks for the new stuff! I (we) even got feedback. Apparently I'm (we're) "a great ebay-er. A++++." Manila is lovely this time of year. Tomorrow I'm going to send some hash to a friend in Singapore under your (our) name. Can't wait til the new card comes in!

Posted by: ben at August 2, 2005 9:53 AM