Private No More

images-2Last May, some highfalutin criminal waltzed into a Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store charging 10 thousand dollars in merchandise in my name. When I asked Saks Security why no one questioned a brand new card with such high purchases they casually said, “Why would we, it happens all the time.” Not the answer a hysterical, female fraud victim is quite looking for.

I am what is known as a victim of identity theft. Some charming, upstanding individual stole all my personal information before going on a lavish shopping spree that continues even today.

I only knew about Saks because they sent a letter saying how happy they were I was a customer again having closed my account ten years ago.

This alerted me to what was to come. I almost owned a house in the Catskills, a golf cart along with a fur coat and eight computers.

This is what happens when you have such good credit. Seems your thieves do too.

Even Apple sent a note asking if my address had really changed.

NO NO NO!

Since then, every card I have has been cancelled and reissued. Three of them more than  once.

I have to say, American Express is the easiest to deal with. Next comes Discover who keeps apologizing like a reckless roommate.

Apparently, anytime a business has its database compromised, anyone who’s ever shopped there has to be notified…hence, credit cancelled.

It amazes me even with a high alert on all my accounts as well as hiring Lifelocks to watch over them it’s still going on. Whenever I call to say, it’s happened again…why didn’t you catch it? They try to convince me to spend more money to insure even further fruitless assistance.

My latest fraud was on Discover who charged me for a slew of Fandango tickets. The irony combined with insult is due to my ongoing hearing issues since I haven’t been to the movies in over a year. I actually cried on the phone to their Security Department. They felt so sorry, they reiterated their Cash Back Rewards Program with all its bells and whistles.

Thanks, but no thanks.

You have to wonder how the criminals that be, find out your first pet’s name and what grammar school you attended. They even have my mother’s maiden name along with my favorite films, foods and color. I now have to make up new answers to all my security questions that I forget since they’re all lies.

The other uncanny issue…if I want to open up anything short of the door, it seems out of all those pretending they’re me, I have the hardest time getting credit. images-1

Joe Schmo with those pricy wingtips had no problem, but when I tried to pay for a modest meal, I was told my card was rejected.

“Hello, Bank of America, will you please pay for my fish? Yes, it’s really me.”

As the woman at Discover Customer Service said, “These are the times we live in ma’am.” (On top of this, she calls me by the dreaded M word.)

I guess this is true, but it doesn’t make it any easier to handle at 7:15 in the morning with an avocado mask on your face, one of the few legitimate purchases on my now (that makes three) shredded Discover card.

 

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Pictures Courtesy Google Images

SB

 

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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.
This entry was posted in Fashion, humor, money, New York City, shopping and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Private No More

  1. madisonlang says:

    Oh man that sucks! Here’s hoping they figure out just who is doing it and you stop being their pawn 😦

    Like

  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, my oldest daughter (also with excellent credit) has had her identity hacked twice now. I agree that it isn’t one person, it’s a large group selling and trading your info like baseball cards. And it’s so frustrating that these criminals seldom see justice. And when they do it’s merely a slap on the wrist.
    I’ve heard that Europe is light years ahead of us in credit card security, and that the U.S. is finally going to switch to their method in the next few years.

    Like

    • Happy to hear that…sorry your daughter went through it too. It’s so very stressful not mention scary to know someone was able to pull this off with such expertise. The world in which we live…the Discover lady I’m sorry to say is correct.

      Like

  3. katecrimmins says:

    Stories like yours make me so wary of using my cards but I can’t go back to carrying cash. My credit card company changed my card after Target got hacked. I don’t shop there much but I did during that period that it was hacked. I don’t know what to do other than try to be vigilant when I look at my bills.

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    • You can call Experian or Transunion, and have them put a free alert on all of your credit…I do it every three months…it really helps. This way if someone tries opening up an account in your name and it even remotely looks suspicious, they stop it and send you notice. I only learned this after the fact…it’s called theft prevention.

      Like

  4. MJ says:

    Susannah, I’m so sorry that you became a victim of identity theft—yet alone that it’s been ongoing, despite the measures you’ve taken! It’s sickening. Googling phrases like “apprehending identity thieves” and “prosecuting ID thieves” immediately brings up ads for LifeLock and other supposedly preventative services, including speakers for hire, not how these criminals can be caught and brought to justice. Scrolling down a bit, there’s the government website, with contact numbers for the FBI et al, since ID theft is a Federal crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But I get the feeling it’s a crime that’s not being effectively dealt with, despite its potential to ruin lives. Maybe the situation is different in countries where they lop off body parts.

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  5. This is something that I alway fear in the back of my mind. As bloggers we provide so much information to the world about ourselves. Then combine that with Facebook or Google PLus posts and there is a wealth of information for criminals. Throw in image recognition software and its like whoa. Sadly it is the world we now live in and there really is not too much that we can do about it besides stay off the grid I guess.

    Like

    • Just do your best to take precaution. I’ll get notices like, thank you for your application for our new Visa Platinum Card. What application? I have to call and say, it’s not me, please make a note.

      You’re never responsible for any of it, but it feels so sordid and dirty. Discover gave me a list of names of people trying to use my account to see if I knew anyone. No, of course I didn’t. Did they think a friend was swindling me, but they do try to figure out who is behind it.

      Life is short I tell myself so I don’t obsess about it…and it helped to pen the essay.

      Like

  6. I am so very sorry! That sucks, to say the least. Hubby had his wallet stolen from his office of all places, and by that evening someone had flown to Vegas, gotten a new set of golf clubs (which he would have loved) and gotten a new wardrobe… Fortunately it all worked out, but he has so many passwords on all our cards, that we cannot charge at some stores without a third degree and calls to the main office and we can’t even deposit or withdraw from our bank without uttering passwords, blood types, and selling the birthrights of our daughters. It’s a horrible state of times that it has come to this, and I fear, it is only going to get worse.

    Like

  7. Elle Knowles says:

    Oh wow! My card was once used online at USPS for $300. Now who would need $300 worth of postal supplies? Really! I was lucky and it has never happened again. So sorry yours seems to be ongoing. I worry it will happen to my college age son, Andrew because he seems to always get strange things in the mail about timeshare fees. He doesn’t even have any credit cards. I always call the 800 # to be sure. I have better things to do with my time and so do you!

    Like

  8. micklively says:

    You’re such a wonderful person, Susannah: everyone wants to be you!

    Like

  9. pmahaney says:

    Susannah something like this happens and it throws your whole world into utter chaos, as if any of us really had time for more chaos in our lives. Lifelock having difficulty putting a stop to the mess was also very informative.

    Like

    • They want me to spend more than 10.89 a month…the base fee for them to monitor. All my friends who have never had a problem have this. Do they not have a problem because of Lifelocks or because they’ve just been lucky? A very good ? Nice hearing from you.

      Like

  10. It’s just awful! We have been victims as well having someone purchase an engagement ring, Ralph Lauren suit and a wedding dress at Macy’s in less than an hour … talk about a quick wedding. Then they went to Sears and purchased tools, which made no sense and they were stopped in their tracks before the reception hall was built. Of course we still have to give up our first born before we purchase ANYTHING! Good luck and I hope it all ends soon!!

    Like

  11. It’s the joker or prison.

    Like

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