Wow!!!! I’ve had quite an amazing ten days since my identity was stolen on June 15, 2015. Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t make excuses for not keeping up with my Blogging 101 assignments, I think I’ve got a pretty good excuse and I think I’m ready to share it.
I’ve debated about whether and how to describe the series of events that unfolded after I got an email from my bank last Monday saying my online banking password had been changed and if I didn’t do it to contact them immediately. Needless to say, I didn’t do it, I did contact them immediately and that didn’t stop the host of horribles that ensued.
Yes – I’ve notified the credit bureaus, I’ve replaced all credit cards, I’ve closed the bank accounts that were affected (not just mine but my recently-out-of-college kids whose accounts were linked to mine to avoid bank fees) and opened new ones, I’ve stopped the $2,000 online order of men’s pajamas, cologne and shoes that were being shipped to Miami, I’ve closed the new credit card that was opened using my social security number and the thief will never get that blue tooth watch he/she ordered via that new account that was being shipped to – you guessed it – Miami!
But unfortunately, no amount of vigilance on my part can control what might happen next. All I can do is deal with it. Just when I was starting to think we might finally be in the clear, a new suspicious charge showed up today on an account using my husband’s card (not a card I carried in my wallet but one that was in our online banking account) so it strengthens the likelihood that all of this is a result of the online banking breach (which of course the bank denies.)
Sure – my branch banking manager has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make things right and I truly appreciate her efforts. But at the end of the day – there is absolutely no way I can remain a customer of a bank that didn’t train it’s online banking staff well enough to place some sort of ALERT on my account when I called to say I hadn’t changed my online banking password. Some sort of ALERT that might have prevented all of this from happening.
I may never know exactly how (and I’m sure I’ll never know who) stole my identity. I do take some satisfaction in knowing that so far – the crook hasn’t gotten anything he/she tried to get. All of the money diverted from my bank account is back, the account they changed the address on has been closed, the orders on two department store cards were cancelled before they shipped, the credit card they opened has been closed and they never got the blue tooth watch.
But what the thief got that can’t be replaced, is my sense of normalcy. I was cautious about how I used the internet and never even did banking on my phone. I keep a pretty close watch on my bank accounts and checked my credit card statements every month. And yes – I still get paper copies.I never really thought much about identity theft – it always seemed like something that happened to other people – until it happened to me.
The worst part is not knowing for sure how it happened or what will happen next. Will the person get a driver’s license somewhere with “her” picture and my name and SSN? Will “she” use my SSN to get a job and not pay taxes? Will she open utility accounts using my information and not pay her bills? Is it only my information that was stolen or maybe my husband’s and children’s too. The list of things I worry about goes on and on. Just when I start to think it might be over, something else happens that makes me wonder when it will ever end.
So this is a rather gloomy post and though it doesn’t really fit any particular theme I suppose it is part of my story now; part of “All Things Kalen” though I wish very much that it weren’t.