When I was living in Atlanta and traveling a lot, I wasn’t the best about having my mail stopped. I just had a pretty cool friend/boyfriend who not only offered to watch the cats (at which time the menagerie was a bit smaller than it is at present) but also check on my house pretty often and get my mail. This dude (who was kind of just like a pseudo-boyfriend since he was dating – and now is married to – someone else the entire time, a shame b/c he was such a great pseudo-boyfriend that I can’t even imagine what a great hubby he’d be…minus that whole infidelity thing, of course) was a few years older, foreign (my lust for those abroad remains today), hunky, great in bed AND responsible. I told ya he was a catch…again, minus that cheating shit. Anyway.
So after he and I stopped doing whatever we were doing (and we were doing a LOT of it) I kind of had gotten myself in the habit of NOT having my mail stopped. As such, I returned from Australia one time with an overflowing mailbox full of bills and credit card offers and actual credit cards…um, what? I hadn’t applied for those. What’s a Fleet card? Wierd. And a Discover Card? Who am I, your crazy cheap Great-Aunt on your Dad’s side whose desire for cashback is voracious? NO! I’m just a menagerie-loving world traveler, geesh. Anyway, within this assortment of unexpected mail was a letter from one of the credit cards that they thought someone had been opening fake accounts in my name. (Um, you think? I *STILL* don’t know what I’d use a Fleet card for.) This was back in the day where my expendable income, on a good month, was $100 so there was NO way I would be able to start charging $7500 in two days. (I may be a lot of things, but a shopaholic I am NOT.) So, I did all the things I was supposed to, put "credit alert" on my meager credit report (again, this was YEARS ago) and though I don’t think they ever caught the person, it was a mere blip in my life. "I’ve been a victim of identity theft," I’d say, "And honestly, it wasn’t that bad!"
Oh, the irony…THE IRONY OF IT ALL.
So when someone stole my purse last month when I was robbed, I knew what to do. Called the credit card companies and canceled them immediately. Called Bank of America to tell them to cancel the checks (thankfully, I had my debit card with me) and then promptly put on all of my jewelry the next morning (a fine accoutrement to my sweatsuit), marched my perky behind into the nearest branch to open a security deposit box and close my account. Annoying, yes. Overly difficult, no. Case closed.
Only it wasn’t. Upon checking my account a week or so later, I noticed a $1000 transfer that I hadn’t authorized from one of my checking accounts to another. I called Bank of America AGAIN, this time freaking out a bit since this was a phone transfer which would have required my SS#, changed my PIN and adhered to their instructions to go into a branch and promptly close ALL of the accounts. Apparently, the dude at the bank was so enamored with all of my bling that he FORGOT to close the account, leaving it vulnerable to this person to transfer money into and then write checks out of.
I was pissed. I was irate. I was a woman with a mission, and that was to kick Dennis Peng in the ass. I MARCHED my PISSED OFF behind right in there before closing time and told them just what I thought of their bank. They apologized (not nearly enough, in my opinion), assured me that it was a mere mistake and that I should close all three accounts and open new ones just to be safe. Pain in my ass, yes. Annoying? Yes. Scary since someone has my SS#? Oh hell yes. But, if that was all there was (and since they were finally agreeing to put bars on my windows) I figured I could survive.
Only that WASN’T all there was.
I checked my balance today and found a ton of overdrafts. What the…how can there be overdrafts on a CLOSED ACCOUNT?
Because the accounts WERE NEVER CLOSED.
While on the phone with one of SEVEN Bank of America associates that I had the pleasure to be transferred to and from over the course of nearly three hours, we also discovered a fun little perk: someone had gotten checks made with MY address and MY account number and was using them all over the city! HI, Robert John Lerma, if that’s even your real name, you do NOT live at my address and you do NOT need to be spending $150 at Macy’s using MY account. NO. YOU. DO. NOT.
So now it’s official: I am the victim of identity theft, and FUCK YES it is a huge hassle and FUCK YES it is annoying and FUCK YES I am steaming mad and physically and emotionally drained from sitting on the phone for THREE GD HOURS WITH PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THEIR TRANSFER BUTTON. I will be marching my FUCKING PISSED OFF AS HELL behind down there today (if my phone arrives in time; if not, tomorrow) and promptly withdrawing all of my hard earned (heh) cash and taking it to a bank where they know how to use a phone system properly and know how to close an account.
Watch out, Dennis Peng, your day is about to get a WHOLE lot shittier, just like mine did.