My third greatest fear

19 Sep

Some people are afraid of strangers. Some people are germaphobes. My greatest paranoia is identity theft. I have “ASK FOR ID” written on the signature lines of all my credit cards and I thank cashiers when they check my drivers license. Now it looks like my suspicion is justified.

I got a message yesterday from Chase bank trying to verify some credit card activity. I checked my account online and didn’t see anything weird. Because I hadn’t lost my card I wasn’t that worried about it. Until today, that is, when I tried to buy a book from half.com and my card got declined. I promptly called my credit card company to get it all straitened out. Apparently someone got a hold of my card number and tried to make more than $1200 worth of fraudulent charges. Luckily the bank thought it was suspicious and called me to check it out.

There was no harm done. The bank caught it within 24 hours. None of the charges went through and I don’t have to pay for anything. I simply closed my account and opened a new one. I can’t help being freaked out about it though. It’s like how you always lock your front door during the day even though you don’t really think someone is going to burglarize you in broad daylight and then BAM! You’re standing in the empty living room of your neighbor’s freshly burgled house thinking to yourself, “Man, it’s sure a good thing I lock my doors all the time.” Right now I’m thinking, “Man, it sure is a good thing I have a good bank and paid the extra five bucks for fraud protection.”

As I cut up my credit card into about a hundred different pieces I can’t help but wonder how the thief got my card number in the first place and that sends my mind reeling with the possibility that all the online retailers I shop at are not as safe as they claim. My uncanny propensity to think like a criminal is not helping as I imagine all the ingenious ways I would go about stealing someones credit card number. I have to take a deep breath and a step back to keep myself from becoming overcome with increasing level of anxiety I’m feeling. I keep reminding myself that there was no harm done. The bank caught it within 24 hours. None of the charges went through and I don’t have to pay for anything. I simply closed my account and opened a new one.

My paranoia has been cranked up a notch though, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I will double check my bank statements from now on and be even more nervous about identity theft. I wonder if the would-be felon had any idea the price my already suspicious psyche was going to pay. I guess he thought it was worth about $1200.

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6 Responses to “My third greatest fear”

  1. Kyle Andrew September 20, 2008 at 1:42 am #

    Chel, this is not me trying to sell you anything, but I think you would benefit greatly from Wells Fargo ID Theft Insurance. It’s pretty cheap and with it you get an in depth credit report sent to your house every three months. The first month (including the credit report) is free. It shows you everything that is hitting your credit and insures ALL your credit accounts, not just those with Wells Fargo. If you want, I’ll show you my report so you can see how helpful it is.Just trying to help, honestly.

  2. Rach September 20, 2008 at 2:27 am #

    oh my gosh! that is so scary!!!!

  3. Fyfe Family September 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm #

    Scary, chels! I’m glad it wasn’t worse. Your blog is really cute, by the way.

  4. Williams Family September 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Kyle – I love the shameless plug.

  5. abby September 25, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    That is scary!! Between Nick and I, I think we have lost 3 or 4 credit/debit cards this year. We should probably be more careful

  6. Becky Green September 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Chelsea, I heard you have a deep rooted loyalty to your credit union… I sympethize greatly 🙂 I love my bank, despite them going under yesterday–poor WaMu. I have no idea why I love them so much. Any insights?

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