Dealing With Identity Theft…. A Sense of Feeling Helpless

Identity theft is a growing problem not only in the United States, but around the world due to the web.  Just like anyone else that has been a victim in the past, I have enrolled in email alerts from the credit reporting agencies and my bank, listened to the news reports on how to protect your self from the real life identity thieves, and even considered opening a Life Lock account to monitor my life. Being a prior victim, I live in fear when it comes to my person information. Each time, it has been a different situation, but the ending result has always been the same; I ended up feeling helpless. I guess one can never be too careful right?

Today I was out most of the day running errands. I did not use any cards.  I had an early afternoon appointment to get my car serviced.  Everything went as normal until I tried to swipe my card.  The transaction declined. I knew how much money was in the account, so like anyone else, I informed him to run it again.  The second time it happened, the clerk tried to make me feel better blaming it on their credit card machine.  Embarrassed, I quietly asked where was their nearest ATM machine.

Like I said, I knew the amount that I should have had  in this account, so when I checked my balance and read as the machine displayed that I had a negative balance, I was horrified.  I quickly called my card company, to have them fix the glitch that had to be going on.  I waited on hold for what felt like an eternity as I listened to their elevator music. I don’t know if it was just my nerves, but the hold music was annoying me to death. Once the customer service rep came on the line, I quickly verified my information and told him my plight.  Quietly he waited for me to tell my story, before he gave me the bad news. He informed me that the reason why I had a negative balance was because of the back to back credit purchases made at a Walgreen’s in Danville on Sunday at 8:37 pm.

I almost passed out. Sunday, at 8:37? I was having car troubles at that time, ie the reason why I was getting my vehicle checked out now! Danville? Where the hell is Danville, and how was the person able to make a credit purchase, when I had my card in my hand? This is when the helpless feeling kicked in. I have heard of cyber crimes, or someone using a lost card, but not one I still had in my possession   Quickly, I canceled the card, and asked the gentleman, could he give me anymore information, but that is all he had. It wasn’t until the third call, is when I found out that there are 17 states that have a city of Danville, but it was impossible for him to narrow it down to which one.  It wasn’t until my fourth call and after the demand that I speak to a supervisor is when I was finally given a number to Walgreen’s online customer service.  The supervisor also informed me that there are new devices now that all one has to do is have it close enough to you to have access to capture your card information, and in turn, they can make a duplicate version of your card.

This information floored me. I don’t know how to wake up out of this nightmare.  I had to cancel all my cards, my pay pal accounts, everything.  The only good thing is that it was a credit card purchase, so hopefully, a signature check can straighten everything out, but it is truly a waiting game.  I am scared on how far this person has went, if they had the ability to recreate a card. Did they get an id in my name as well? I really don’t know. The only thing that I can do is pray that everything will turn out in my favor.

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One response to “Dealing With Identity Theft…. A Sense of Feeling Helpless

  1. As a victim of Identity theft, I can empathize completely with the feeling you have of helplessness. My home was burglarized and one of the few items they actual stole was a wallet which had my checkbook and duplicate checks in it. Unbeknownst to me, one of the duplicate checks was one I had written to the IRS for my taxes this year and of course it had my social security number on it. The very next morning after the break in, I closed my checking account and when I got to work I found out I needed to do a few more things. Because I work as a legal researcher for the Department of Public Safety I was able to flag my drivers’ license number so no one could get a new id with my number and then I was told to put a fraud alert on my credit report or freeze my credit. I initially did the fraud alert because I didn’t realize they had my social security number. The thieves literally waited almost one month from the date of the break in to start attempting to open accounts online with my information. When I got the first call about a supposed account opening, my mind went into a tailspin. Then another call came from a different online store and when that happened I paid more money and had my credit frozen, because each call was causing me anxiety and stress. The next morning I get a call from a bank asking if I had opened a new account with them and that is when I realize this situation was bigger than I thought and quite scary. I spent 30 minutes proving my identity and then they were finally able to close the account, but I had to prove who I was.

    When the denial letters to the online places started coming to my house I literally went into panic mode and frantically called the detective handling my case back to back until he call me back. I asked point blank if they were going to hit my house again since they are using my home address. He tried to calm me down and he did but it took about 20 minutes for me to really calm down. He explained to me that isn’t how thieves usually work, but in order to get credit cards and such they had to use the address associated with the social security number. The shipping address is usually different from the address. He wanted to know if they had gotten anything and I told him no because I froze my credit. I had to because these fools were going to ruin my credit and my reputation. I don’t have anything else to give them and I do not want my name ruin and I needed peace. I had to go to the investigation unit and complete a supplemental report on my case to include the identity theft. The detective said they can try to locate them from IP addresses and the one account they actually gave an address other than mine to, they were going to check it out. All this would take time and subpoenas to work. However, I realized the police are only going to do so much and it was up to me to be the one to follow-up constantly with them and to make sure they understood, I may have lost things, but trying to get my feeling security back isn’t going to happen overnight. I need peace from this whole situation. What is sad is these thieves have hit two other homes in my neighborhood. They are all connected. All of us are dealing with identity thief. We all still feel hopeless weeks and months after the break ins.

    I wrote all this to say, I understand. I pray you can get to the bottom of your situation. I never thought my identity would be stolen due to a break in, because I have lived in the family home for over 25 years and we have never been burglarized in the home. However, with time the climate in neighborhoods change and when the older residents pass, the family members unable to sell the homes in this economic climate are forced to rent them to folks who have no appreciation for home ownership and pride in their living conditions and definitely no respect for other’s property. So those of us who take care of homes and mind our own business are being targeted and are living scared and that isn’t fun or fair. I thought because of my online shopping that would be how the crooks get me, but that isn’t my case. Your case sounds strange as well. Another thing I was told is Georgia and California have a high rate of identity theft. Wow, is all I can say. Just know you are alone in your feeling of helplessness. This feeling we deal with on a daily basis is hard to put into words, but I don’t wish this situation on anyone. We pay for more than things lost; we pay with our sense of security and peace of mind. Sorry to blog a comment.

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