Let me tell you about my Tuesday…

…I guess in order to do that we need to get into our time machine and go back to Friday.

On Friday I was sent a wire transfer from one of my clients to pay me for the extensive amount of work I did for him during the last weeks of December. I was very much looking forward to getting this since, although I have sworn off new fiber ’til April, I have NOT sworn off yarn. Dammit.

On Saturday I checked my balance online and noticed that I received the transfer and the bank was holding a large part of it as unavailable. I have had literally no money since Christmas so they shouldn’t have been holding anything unavailable – the last time I used my debit card was 12/26. Since the bank was closed I sent them a secured message through their site asking them WTF?

On Tuesday I received a message back that there was a hold on the account from Western Union dated 1/11 (Thursday – the day before my wire came in. Someone is seriously looking out for me). Um….I’ve only used WU once and that was 5+ years ago before this account was even in existence and even then I went to the grocery store and gave them cash to do the wire. This was starting to stink…and I was starting to panic. I called the bank’s 800 number and got the lovely, helpful Bernadette on the line who managed to decode my panicky shrieking. She couldn’t do anything (eh? COULDN’T DO ANYTHING? I didn’t authorize this freaking hold and they can’t cancel it? Unbelievable.) so she gave me the # to Western Union. Once I finally got a person on the line I learned this:

Someone using my debit card number, my name, my address and my UNPUBLISHED phone number went on their website and tried to transfer cash from my account not once, not twice but THREE TIMES.

Anyone else have shrieking going on in their heads right now? I do. I can’t seem to get it to stop, either.

Thank God that WU got suspicious and froze my card #. When the first transfer didn’t work and they tried it again they were told to call WU to answer some security questions. This is also kinda scary because WU somehow knows what car I drive, the color of the last car I drove, the FULL NAMES OF MY PARENTS AND WHERE THEY LIVE (you reading this Dad?), among other personal information that is very big-brotherish. Frightening, but yet it saved me from having a buttload of money taken out of my account because they are questions that only I and people very close to me can answer.

At this point, the only way I can get the information from WU regarding who was trying to receive the money is to file a police report and have the records summoned. However – get this – my local police department can’t file a report because the crime didn’t happen in the town where I live. Freaking internets. Am I supposed to call the damned FBI now? grrrr Even better, the bank isn’t doing anything other than cancelling my card and filing a fraud report. The fraud report sits in a drawer at my bank and does nothing. Anybody else agree with me that this is why internet fraud is so prevalent? If the f*ckers aren’t going to get prosecuted, they’re going to keep doing it.

Anyway, I have cancelled my debit card and signed up for the TrueCredit service so if there are any changes to my credit report I will receive an email from them. I am also monitoring all of my other credit card accounts to see if there are any other ‘transfers’ happening. Like I don’t have anything better to do.

Now, I went back over my bank records for the months of November and December and here are the places I used my card:

Simply Socks Yarn Company
Computer Associates

I didn’t use it much, but apparently I used it one too many times. The police chief here is very anti-internet and is pretty pissed off on my behalf so she has asked for the phone #’s to these places and will be calling them for me to find out if they can see if their records have been compromised. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

The next step for me was to find a way to shop securely online. As you all know, you find the best fiber/yarn/wheel accessories online and there is no way I’d be able to completely stop the online shopping. Lo and behold when I got home yesterday from my fun adventures I found an email from Paypal – they have implemented a new beta program that gives you a temporary Master Card number that links through your Paypal account. It works like a regular credit card but only works for the one transaction. BRILLIANT! Although you can only use it with IE, after the day I had yesterday I say it’s worth it. I’m not going to link to the site – if you are interested in the program, go to the Paypal website, sign in or sign up and check it out.

That about wraps up my Tuesday. I did virtually no knitting or spinning, I was way too stressed. I’m doing better today, but still feeling just a little bit violated. I hope you all had a better day than I did ;o)