Guilty As Charged

Did I get a surprise on Saturday.

There was a letter from Saks Fifth Avenue asking if I still required an address change. Since no longer (so I thought) having an account with them, I immediately called.

Someone opened a Saks credit card in my name and charged over $9000.00 in merchandise. When I regained consciousness I asked, “How could you let someone buy that much stuff without question?”

Of course the little girl on the phone hadn’t an answer, but it shocked me. According to her screen they had my social, cell phone number, the address they wanted changed, my age (now that’s just charging way below the belt) and even my mother’s maiden name.

RING RING RING

“Lifelock, I’ve just been stolen…how could this be when I’ve engaged you to protect me?”

“You engaged us ma’am after the incident.”

A little back story…on September 30, a letter came from DELL saying that someone charged a slew of computer equipment on a card that was recently opened in my name. Before we send the shipment, we’d like to make certain it’s you.

RING RING RING

“Of course it’s not me, I’m a MAC girl.” They were at least smart enough to check.

After traipsing to the police station to fill out an Identity Theft report, due to the urging of my friends, hired Lifelock to make sure this didn’t happen again.

The man on the phone who I so wanted to slam, said stealing someone’s personal information is getting easier and easier. Then for the fourth time said, ” For $300 ma’am we’ll take over this latest theft on your behalf.” Over my dead, stolen body you will. It’s ten dollars a month to have them oversee any new activity on old or new accounts which is quite enough cash to shell out for me. His repeated persistence knowing I was under duress was a cheap shot. He was hoping my jangled nerves would fork over the 300. I’ll do the footwork on this one myself thank you very much Lifelock…or should I call you Shylock.

Do you think I’m unnerved, just a little?

Everyone has a different theory. My friend Linda thinks it was an inside job. How else could someone get away with buying so much on a new card without as much as an inquiry. That sounded right until a fellow I know who has worked at Saks for well over twenty years said, “$9000.00 isn’t considered that much merch for it to be red flagged.”

Excuse me?

Who shops at Saks anyway? The Sheik of Arabesque? George Clooney? The Kardasians?

WHO?

That’s a lot of Chanel as far as I’m concerned.

What really pisses me off besides there now being two of me is, someone is shopping when I can’t even afford tights. It’s true. I had to go to Uniglo to get them because they’re so much cheaper. I try to avoid that kind of store as a rule since in order to keep costs down, I’m afraid there’s a little Cantonese boy in some hut somewhere weaving for rice. But what’s a girl to do when her legs need covering. It’s not even 50 below yet and already I’m cold.

And Saks didn’t help.

Something tells me I better suit up because more is coming. I don’t know who these people are but to dig up my mother’s maiden name says they don’t fool around. I myself have to look it up since I always spell it wrong. When I asked Missy at Saks, how they spelled it, she said, they had it letter perfect.

These fuckers are serious alright, and if I ever find out who they are, they better blast outta Dodge…

fast.

SB…the one and only

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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26 Responses to Guilty As Charged

  1. Ugh…this happened to my husband and it was a nightmare. He purchased a TV at Best Buy and the lovely sales girl who talked him into opening an account to get that extra 15% off sold his application to her thieving friends. They went as far as getting a driver’s license with his name and their ugly photo on it before heading to Macy’s to purchase an Engagement ring, a Ralph Lauren suit, a watch, shoes & cologne. Seriously!! Imagine being the girl on the other end of that ring. Good Luck to you Susannah! Try to think if you filled anything out recently, as in the past year.

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    • That’s’ amazing. Your poor husband. To quote Aaron Sorkin in West Wing, ‘It feels like I just got screwed with my pants on.’ I just reopened a Brooks Brothers account, but that’s all. I need to call all my credit card folk to alert them. They also tried using a Paypal account of mine by saying..bill me later…something I didn’t even know you could do. They too were wise enough to consult which makes me feel, the Saks thing was an inside deal. Honestly. I had an account with them that they cancelled in the summer for lack of use, which is another reason I got suspicious.

      The other unfortunate fact is…when I work I always have to give my social. It would be the easiest thing to steal. I think with the exception of what I’ve already done…contacted the credit b…hiring Lifelock…there’s not much else i can do. I’m not responsible for any of it, I’m just worried it will somehow land on my credit which has always been pristine. Oh Top, when you think it can’t get any worse, it does…I appreciate your constancy where athingirl is concerned. Clicked on you yesterday to see what was new. I thought, she’s exercising…too busy crunching and spinning to write. but she will…can’t keep a good a writer as she off the page too long. 🙂

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      • I contacted my State Representative and they were able to contact the 3 major companies that provide credit reports and had them flag everything for us and provide us with updated reports…for FREE. The office was very helpful in assisting us with this mess.
        Desperate people do desperate things to get by at the expense of others…literally. Good luck with all of this and I hope it clears up sooner rather than later.
        Hahahaha..I was writing yesterday, but you are correct about being busy exercising like a maniac.

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      • I contacted them too directly…Experian, Transunion and Equifax…they monitor for 90 days, then you have to call again. Exercising is Prozac over the counter…my muscles, along with my mental state, salute you 🙂

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  2. That’s some scary stuff. I hope you get it all figured out soon.

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    • Thank you David, me too. It’s such an invasion of one’s privacy, and as big as my heart is, I feel no sympathy for the desperate. What did they charge, designer shoes and handbags? Jewelry…it’s not as if they are putting food on their table. I appreciate your email, and let it be a warning to be careful when you open, sign, order online etc…wouldn’t hurt to call Experian. They will oversee any suspicious activity for free for 90 days, and contact the other two agencies as well. 800 397-3742…funny thing is, I had them then forgot to reup…if I had this wouldn’t have happened. Be well.

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      • It’s one of those things like backing up your hard drive. It’s easy to put off until it’s too late. Unfortunately, it’s also too easy to think it could never happen to you. I don’t feel any sympathy for them either. Hopefully they’ll get caught at some point.

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      • I hope so, because it’s a real drag to be the victim. I can only imagine what’s coming. This may be the tip of the rip-off iceberg. We’ll see. All one can do is put fires out as they ignite.

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  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Oh Susannah, I’m so sorry this had to happen to you. Crap like this makes me sooooo mad. And I would be equally angry with Lifelock for not doing what you paid for. I hope this gets ironed out and doesn’t get worse.

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    • To be fair to Shylock, I mean Lifelock, I hadn’t hired them yet…but you would think, as a courtesy since I am now a client, they’d help. $300 dollars on top of everything else just sat in my craw like lead. This internet business has such a downside to it Skinny. On the one hand, it’s immediate and amazing, and on the other it’s the devil scavenging online. Thanks.

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  4. Jeanette Hamilton says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Identity theft is one of my biggest fears. I subscribed to Lifelock several years ago and have been lucky so far. Also, I currently use only one credit card and I check the activity online every few days. I had never thought about someone reopening an old dead account but there are so many thieves out there I suppose their little heads are full of schemes that law-abiding people could never dream up. I’m very disappointed in both Saks and Lifelock that they weren’t more helpful. It definitely sounds like an inside job to me and I hope there is some way you can press the Saks people into action. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you, Susannah.

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    • Awe, thanks Jeanette. So kind of you. I am about to call all my credit car companies to alert them. I think it will be much harder now with Lifelock, something I should have gotten way before this…but like David said, you never think it will happen to you.

      Hope you’re feeling well.

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  5. katecrimmins says:

    Well thank God you called Saks when you did. Perhaps they will go back to the dollar store for their stuff. Good luck with this nightmare.

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  6. I am so very sorry. This happens way too often. My sister had her identity stolen years ago. She is in Chicago and someone from Florida called and asked about her divorce and the Sears payment, that is how she found out. She called her hubby, asked about their divorce (which they are happily married) and they got to the bottom of this all. It took a long time though.

    Hubby just had a car rented in his name for a business trip for two weeks in Texas… he has been disabled for two years and if his chair is in Texas then, I wonder who is sitting across from me all day long!

    Life has some great ideas. I hope this ends for you quickly. This is awful. Good luck.

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    • I’m calling all my credit card companies which is a nightmare in itself. The hold, the rap music…I’m ready to blast through the ceiling. I have to say, Am Ex and Discover, which I believe are linked somehow, are the nicest and most efficient. Boy, did I not need this to happen. Sorry about your husband and the car…thieves in our midst DAF…thieves in our mist.

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  7. MJ says:

    Susannah, I am so sorry you’re going through this! Bad enough to be targeted by some criminal, then to get a blase response from the store & an exploitive one from Lifelock. I’m praying to St. Anthony for you; he’s always come through, sorry excuse for a Catholic that I am.

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    • I’m a lapsed Catholic MJ but do like the saints. I do pray to him whenever I can’t find something, something my Italian grandmother taught me and usually within minutes I find whatever it is…don’t say you’re a sorry excuse…so not true. Thanks.

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  8. D. D. Syrdal says:

    What a royal pain. When I was married we had cards stolen in the mail (I think I told you). Know how we found out? We were out to dinner with our two small children, tried to charge the meal: they confiscated and destroyed our card on the spot. Thanks, Citibank. Buttheads. As much as I diss BofA (and I do diss them, A LOT) they have been very good about halting fraudulent charges (it’s happened a couple of times). Flip side of that is, any time I charge anything out of the ordinary, I have to call and let them know the charge is coming so they’ll let it through. I’ve never used Lifelock, but may look into it. Hope you get this all sorted out quickly.

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    • I can’t fathom all these stories. It seems to be rampant. I don’t think it will get sorted out. Lifelock hopefully will be on the prowl for any new activity that isn’t me, but who knows what else they got away with. They also tried using my paypal account but that was caught. I spent the whole afternoon calling all my credit card companies. With the exception of AmEx and a couple of others, it was a nightmare. Here I am notifying them to put an alert on my account and they’re making it so hard. I just hung up on Bank of America and forget Brooks Brothers…it was awful. I’m just letting it go and will deal with it as it comes up. It’s making me too upset. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Like

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