Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Financial Identity Theft - It's a bitch.

A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from my bank's ATM card security company. They were calling to make an inquiry regarding some "suspicious activity" that had recently taken place on my card. Suspicious activity as in:

"Did you buy gas in Virginia this past Friday? OK, did you then make a purchase in a Canadian health spa and drop a ton of cash in Japan less than 24 hours later? We thought we should check with you on this."

Indeed! It turns out that someone actually gained electronic access to my ATM card (including my fabled PIN number) and went on a wild shopping spree in strange foreign lands. A shopping spree totaling nearly $800. Well, after making it abundantly clear to my bank that it was not me spending this lavish fortune abroad, I was informed that my card had been frozen and that a new one would have to be issued...PIN and all. And although the "suspicious activity" was "flagged" by the security company, the bank advised me to monitor my account just in case the transactions do, in fact, post.

Long story short, I was going through my new bank statement last night and three of these rogue transactions appear to have gotten through. Shocker. So, now I've got to visit my nearest bank office and sign an affidavit which declares that it was not me who spent $723 in Japan. Afterwards, I should be reimbursed the full amount.

Yet, now that I'm thinking about it...I can see myself spending some cash in Japan. Whoever this person was that hacked my ATM card...they were probably having a ton o' fun. So, why not give me a heads-up? Why not ask if I'd like to tag along instead of robbing me blind? You never know...I might like to go to Japan. Hell, I'd probably spend more than $723. Just show me where to go and I'll make sure we rock the Land of the Rising Sun. Now would that be considered some sort of weird Stockholm Syndrome thing?

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