Yesterday, someone stole my credit card.
I went to my local Publix with a sneezing, coughing, cranky kiddo in tow. I purchased groceries, loaded up the car and strapped in the kiddo when I realized: I couldn’t find my keys. I searched everywhere, under the car, in my purse, the glove compartment and finally gave up when they were discovered safe and sound with my son who then promptly [and quite gleefully] tossed them to the ground.
Clearly, not a brain fully present and accounted for sort of day, I decided to go home and nap when Waleed napped because the brain cells needed time to recharge their batteries. The rest of the day passed uneventfully, a doctor’s visit for my kiddo, a pit stop at Target, and then, that evening I pulled out my purse to make some credit card payments when I realized: my Discover was missing.
This is not an unusual occurrence. My credit cards are frequently missing and typically wedged between couch cushions or inside rarely worn shoes [my son, he’s creative]. I shrugged and logged in to my account sans credit card to see a hefty charge to an online store selling gothic ware.
You might not have met me, but I assure you, a goth I am not. I called up the credit card company and lo and behold, someone was trying to use my card in a full blown shopping spree at online clothing, music, and shoe stores. Said thief also attempted to purchase stocks. Discover caught the issue quickly, removed the charges, and sent me a new card. Don’t worry, they told me, there’s not much more they can do now.
I know credit card theft happens, its happened to me before, but this one wigged me out more than usual. In addition to the bewilderment at how my credit card got stolen from between swiping it at the check out and searching for my keys, the thing that I couldn’t shake, and that Discover really couldn’t answer for me was, don’t you have to put in a billing address for an online purchase? A card in hand is enough to buy stuff in physical stores, but online, its not enough. Maybe the company had lax security standards, the fraud specialist suggested.
I called the goth company’s “contact us” number and reached a human who looked up the order based on my name and proceeded to inform me that the order went through because the thief had my billing address.
Cue freak out.
It’s one thing to take my credit card and buy a box of bunnies from PetSmart, but to do this online they had to know my address. And they did. I’ve only lived at my current address for two months. It’s not really Google-able. So, how did they get it? What else will they do?
The goth site canceled the order and gave me the order number should I wish to give it to the police. Which I did, this morning. I figure the shipping address, which the police can obtain, most likely is the address of the thief. I had to stifle both an urge to feel silly reporting the theft, and the urge to giggle as the officer told me this will be forwarded to our detective for further investigation, as I imagined two detectives Law and Order style with stoic faces reading the report in their dimly lit office and finger printing the Publix parking lot. [yeah, likely not].
This is not my first brush with theft. I’ve been the victim of a home break-in, car-smash-purse-snatch, and we were pick pocketed by Gypsies on the streets of Madrid, to name a few instances. These were all chilling experiences that remind you yet again that as many good and wonderful people there are, there are also people who, well, aren’t.
And while that is part of the disconcerting feeling, its a bit different this time. Maybe its because I have a son now and the thought of some nameless person with my address leaves me feeling vulnerable. Maybe its because they Googled me. They saw this blog, my pictures; somehow this makes the theft feel more personal.
I’m lucky. I live in a country with a police system that took something so small so seriously. They might even investigate [they said they will, but with meth labs and murders I’m assuming this is low on the priority list totem-pole] and my credit card company caught the attempted shopping spree in time. I used to be vigilant but a few years of calm have left me more lax and now I’m the sort of person who, case in point yesterday, occasionally forgets to lock her car doors because well, I live in a safe area. As much as it stinks to be reminded that there is evil out there, it’s important to know that evil exists even in my seemingly safe neighborhood. Better a lesson like this to burst my bubble than something far worse.
Say I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men. . . from the evil of the whispering elusive tempter who whispers in the heart of men, from all temptation to evil by invisible forces as well as men. — Quran, Surah 114