My Fourth Time as an Identity Theft Victim

I’ve been the victim of identity theft, yet again.

Call Mr. Guiness, because this makes the fourth time, and I must be getting into world record territory.

This also makes the second time I have written about it, which is probably another record. After theft No. 3, I couldn’t resist telling how the perpetrator charged up a membership to and two airplane tickets.

In this latest salvo, the bad guy — or gal — racked up more than $6,000 in women’s clothes to my card. I’m no detective, but if I were on the case, I would be looking for someone extremely well dressed. I’m confident the sleuths assigned to my case have thought about that as they’re out there beating the bushes night and day.

Yeah, right. And, I wear a size 6 skirt.

The part that really infuriates me is that — like the times before — I’m sitting here looking at the card. It’s not like I dropped it on a sidewalk on the wrong side of the tracks and made it easy for someone. Instead, I trusted some store to keep my information safe, and once more, some store couldn’t manage to do it.

I would love to think it wouldn’t happen again. I would love to think the people who operate within the law could somehow be as enterprising as the cyber-criminals.

But, I don’t have much hope. Look at the news, and I guarantee you the words “data breach” will show up somewhere in a headline.

Just because I’m a glutton for punishment, I called the customer service department at one of the stores. I explained that someone stole my credit card information, fraudulently charged up thousands of dollars in merchandise and had it shipped to an address not associated with the card.

I thought maybe — just maybe — for once, someone on the other end could muster up a molecule of common sense and tell me where it was shipped. After a long, slow climb up the store’s phone tree, I finally reached a coconut.

“I cannot give you that information.”

“Why not?”

“We can only give that information to the police or your credit card fraud department. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“Yes, you can give me back the last 10 minutes of my life.” Click.

Here’s the part I don’t get: any time I have ever tried to buy something online and have it shipped to another address, it’s like trying to teach a cat to sing Happy Birthday. I have to do everything but cut off a lock of hair and spin around a ginkgo tree three times in the light of a full moon to make the computer accept the transaction.

So, how was someone who isn’t me able to do it three times in the span of less than a week? Shouldn’t a red flag have popped up somewhere? After the “Christian Mingle/Two Tickets to Paradise” incident, the bank at least called me.

I have become good friends with those crazy kids in the fraud department over the years. I have a direct line to a real person now. Sometimes when I call, I feel like the sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when she walks into the principal’s office and the secretary says, “Hello, Jeannie. Who’s bothering you now?”

I guess I should be flattered someone would want to steal my identity. But, I wish they would mix it up a little. How about stealing about four inches off my waistline for a change? We also have a weed growing in our yard called Creeping Charlie, and I would happily look the other way while somebody loaded up some of it.

I would even hold off on calling the sleuths until the thieves got a head start, like they’d even need it.

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