No, I Was Not at Arby's Today. The Agony of Identity Theft
It shouldn't be that big a deal to let everyone know I have a new debit card
It’s 4:15 pm Friday afternoon . . .
“You see that somebody just tried to charge $6.95 at Arby’s this afternoon?” shouts my wife from the kitchen. She is looking at our online banking on her laptop.
“No! Really?” I ask.
“Were you at Arby’s?” she asks.
“No. I’ve been here all day. With you.” I say.
“Oh god, and look, here’s a charge at Walmart. For $12.32. Did you go to Walmart?” she asks, coming into the man cave.
“No Dear. I’ve been here all day. See what I’m wearing here? I haven’t left the house,” I say standing up at my desk. I’m wearing an ill-fitting dri-fit Adidas running shirt, Adidas shorts, with Adidas socks pulled up to my knees and bedroom slippers.
“Are you sure you didn’t go to Arby’s?” she asks again.
I take a deep breath.
“Tracy. I’ve been sitting here all day. Working on all my cases, writing my memoir and my Medium articles. And I never go to Arby’s. I go to Foster’s Freeze. But I never go to Arby’s,” I say.
“You need to call the bank and tell them there’s fraudulent charges,” my wife says.
“Yes. I know that now,” I say.
“You need to call right away. Because they’re obviously on a spending spree.”
“Yes, Dear. See my fingers here? I’m dialing the bank. My fingers are dialing the bank right now” I say, lifting my phone up, and pointing at it.
“You must have screwed up. You must have let somebody have your PIN,” she says.
“No, Dear. I did not give anyone my PIN. I’m careful with my PIN.” I say.
“Well, how did they get your PIN? This happens all the time with you,” she says.
It’s kind of true. It does seem to happen to me every six months.
“It’s not my fault. There’s a dark web. With teen hackers in Russia. I saw it on ‘Crime Watch Daily’.”
“Well, it never happens to me,” she says.
“Dear. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s the criminals’ fault. It’s not my fault, Dear,” I say.
“Remember that time you yelled your PIN out, inside the Target?” she asks.
“That’s because the cashier asked me for it. That was five years ago. And you were making me nervous standing there,” I say.
“You need to call the bank right away,” she says, going back to the kitchen. I hear her mutter “buffoon” under her breath.
. . .
I call the bank. The nice lady on the phone says:
“Yes, we had flagged those charges, and we were getting ready to call you,” she says.
“Can I ask you a question?” I say. “Where was the Arby’s?”
“The Arby’s was in West Covina California, and the Walmart was in Azusa, California. Were you at any of those places?”
“No. I’m in San Diego. You should see what I’m wearing.”
“Okay, well I’m canceling your debit card and sending you a new one. Please destroy your old card. The new card will arrive in 7 to 10 days.”
. . .
I feel proud of myself for calling the bank, so I head to the kitchen for a snack.
“This is going to screw everything up,” says my wife. “All the automatic payments are tied to that card.”
“Oh, well. You know, it won’t be that big a deal. We’ll just have to report the new card number when we get it,” I say.
I start putting the little cocktail hot dogs on a baking sheet and get the oven going.
My wife turns and looks at me. She shakes her head. Then puts her hand over her eyes, looks down, and exhales deeply. “No big deal he says,” my wife mutters, putting her head down on the counter. Then she says:
“I don’t know how you’re such a successful trial attorney. How can the juries take you seriously?”
That one hurts.
My two sons come down the stairs and have the nerve to shake their heads at me. Like this is all my fault.
. . .
I’ve got 22 minutes until the mini hot dogs are ready.
I get back to the man cave and look at my computer screen. There’s a bunch of new emails.
Here’s one from Dropbox.
URGENT. Payment Failure: We just tried to process you’re Semi-Annual fee but were unsuccessful. Today was the day it was due. If we do not receive payment, all of your lawyer stuff will be deleted quickly. We’ll make sure you can’t get your pdf files back either.
Don’t plan on working from home anymore. Plan on moving all the file boxes into Tracy’s new home gym area.
Here’s one from AT&T.
Your AT&T scheduled payment . . . . FAILED. All of your cell phones will be shut off. Soon.
We’re going to shut your wife’s phone off too. She will have to get a new phone number too, and not be able to use the one she’s always had since the early 90’s when “Friends” was on.
Suddenly, the Doobie Brothers song “Minute by Minute” stops playing on my computer. A prompt pops up on my Sonos app.
WARNING: YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO SIRIUS XM “YACHT ROCK” HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED. PLEASE REAPPLY TO SEE IF YOU CAN GET ALL THOSE PROMOTIONAL DEALS YOU SPENT HOURS WORKING OUT WITH US LAST MONTH.
WE’RE GOING TO TURN IT OFF IN YOUR WIFE’S NEW JAGUAR TOO. REMEMBER HOW EXCITED SHE WAS TO GET XM BACK? AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS YOU MADE HER GO WITHOUT IT ON THE OTHER LEASE?
YEP, INTERRUPTED, WITH FULL CANCELLATION PENDING TONIGHT, MIDNIGHT (E.S.T.). CHEERS- XM STAFF.
“Oh my god!” I say aloud. “No!”
There’s a voicemail on my phone too? I put my Bluetooth earpiece in, and listen to the message. It’s a computerized voice, like Siri.
This is Umbilical Cords Plus. Your payment FAILED. You have 24 hours, holidays and weekends included to update your card on file, or we will throw the two cords out.
Friday is trash day around here. The cords have been laying around here for 14 and 15 years. That would be a damn shame.
© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune