Friday, January 30, 2009

My last 2 weeks have been hell......

I all started Friday morning on the 16th.  I received a call from my bank saying that they were detecting fraud in my account.  As I was on hold, of course, I looked on line and saw that yes, somebody had indeed helped themselves to what little I had, therefore causing my salon lease check to bounce.  Fun.  After finally speaking to a human being, I actually felt secure knowing that they were on top of it.  Wrong.  Sunday evening my sister who lives in Massachusetts was looking for my blog so she "googled" my email address.....called me in hysterics.   I was busy baking cookies and had chocolate all over me so I washed my hands and called her back.  
She told me to google my email stomach dropped into my feet and I felt like I was going to throw up, cry, have diarrhea, scream, pass out, punch something, have a heart attack and was also rendered speechless for a moment.  Staring back at me on the screen of my computer was all my online banking information. Yes all of it. Online ID, Passcode, full name address and social security, along with my birthdate, mothers maiden name, bank account number and routing code, card numbers with cvv and pin codes and expiration dates.  Then just in case you didn't have enough information, all my security questions and answers.  Anything you need to know to assume my identity and better yet, help yourself to my credit cards and bank accounts, which  somebody so graciously did.  Why thank you, I worked had for what little I have so help yourself. Of course this was a holiday weekend for the bank because of MLK day so I couldn't do anything about it until Tuesday.  I was on hold so much at work Tuesday that after 20 minutes or more I would have to hang up, still have to work for my money so luckily I got off work at 4 that day and headed to the bank to see an actual human being.  Waited for the branch manager, he saw my name on the list and looked at me and apparently decided he needed a cigarette before I wasted any time during his last hour of work. Sure why not, I have nothing better to do than wait.  When he walked past me a second time and headed towards his desk after AGAIN looking at my name on the list and picked up his phone to call somebody who apparently is much more important than me, I walked into his office and sat down and looked at him as he spoke on the phone.  As he looked at me with a nice huge fake smile I said "I believe I was next..."  Wow, his break was inconveniently ended, oops sorry for any inconvenience, I know how much that can ruin your day.  As he gave me his "I am much more important than you" look I placed what I printed off the off the internet and told him to humor me and google my email address.  Hmmm satisfaction at last! It was actually wonderful to watch the look on his face and see the pearls of sweat on his forehead and under his arms as he realized what he was looking at.  Things suddenly swung in my favor.  I had his attention.  After I patiently waited for him to google his own address and show half the bank my information, everyone else magically disappeared to their own computers, I am sure they had their own pressing business to attend to. Many phone calls later to their security department I was told I had to change all of my information.  Gee really?  Hmm I guess that is why I am here, I came to the right place then. I then received another list of 1-800 #'s to call and sat down after hours to close accounts and open new ones and got instructions on how to change all my online codes, passwords and information.  Too bad I can't change my name and social also, I've been toying with Trixie Dix...don't think anyone will want that name, what do you think?  It's growing on me and rolls off the tongue.  Now I have a folder and papers, armed with 1-800 #'s I know set out to stay on hold once again as I got home to change my online information.  After 45 minutes I broke down in tears and had to hang up to start over tomorrow, couldn't do it anymore on Tuesday.
    Wednesday, at work I started my quest to protect myself once again, nobody else will protect me so here goes.  I was determined to get through to a person because as of that morning, my savings account ,which they left me with a$150 dollars vanished.  That's right into thin air.  I deposited money to open a new checking account, that was gone too.  This time, I only had to hold for 3 hrs and 55 mins. total.  I was diligent and did not hang up.  I think I was only transferred 6 times.  I got kind of sick of explaining what was going on, so the last human I spoke to in the fraud department at 4:52 in the afternoon, I told to google my email address.  Once again, I had their attention.  Lots of "Oh this is not good,"  "This is really really bad,"  "How in the ?"  "Hold one moment please....."  Wow, now the manager of the fraud unit is on the phone!  I feel so f'ing important.  After lots of new 1-800 #'s to call and another page of internet addresses and agencies to call, lucky me I usually get bored because I have so much free time on my hands,  we hang up.  Not 4 mins. later, I got a call from the secretary of the CEO who asked me to hold for a moment to speak to him.  Oh how nice, they are offering me 2 years of complimentary identity theft protection and he is going to assign somebody to assess my account daily.  Wow, for me?  How sweet.  I feel like I may actually have gotten my point across at this point.
   Thursday, head to Parr to the Sheriff's department, now I have figured out it is so much more effective to just ask them to google my email address.  I love looking at the shock on their faces, priceless.  Oh Thank You, a new list of what I need to make my case so much more effective.  Copies of the bank transactions, of what is found on google etc.  I'm pooped.  Go home and monitor my bank account, oh how nice, apparently they didn't get the memo and the charges from Dubai went through, yeah more frustration, this time too tired of this crap to cry.  More calls only now I am armed with a direct line to the CEO's office.  After 9:35 pm I am pooped have to quit.
   Friday, get up extra early to fill out my police form as the victim/complainant  and fill out as thoroughly as I am able, staple together and take a shower to start my new and exciting day, wonder what I have in store for me today?  Life is so FUN!  Go to a substation to file my complaint and watch them looking at what I have given them.  Apparently what I have handed them is interesting, the other office goes to his computer and googles his email address.  Not a hit, nobody is as popular around here as I am apparently.  They hand me two more pieces of paper each with at least 20 more 1-800 #'s and websites, then I am told that since they file 100's, yes 1 0 0's of these identity theft complaints a day just at that substation, it is up to me to be diligent and keep at it as I will be put at the bottom of a huge pile of paper as long as I call them and bring them any new information, my file will make it closer to the top, but unfortunately these people over seas, very rarely get caught.  Mine is in Dubai, I am beginning to think crime pays and I am in the wrong business.  Now I have a case # so if anyone assumes my identity, I can give them a number so they know I am the real Lisa Lynch.  Nice.
     Saturday, I open my overnight delivered certified package from the bank and have my website, and code to protect my identity, Oh good because my information has now been on the Internet for at least 8 days.  For some reason I cannot find the website they gave me the address for.  I started this process at a little after 7 am.  Finally call the 1-800 # again and this time after pressing buttons for the 2,978th time am put through to a person, thank god, only now they need to direct me to another person with a short wait time of only 55 minutes, I speak to a person, but they can't help me, let me transfer you,  I snapped, " You will NOT  transfer me, I have been on hold for 55 minutes and need to protect myself right now!"  Doesn't matter, he still can't help me and has to transfer me.  Push 9 push in your account #, etc, etc, I'm sure you know the drill.  After a short wait time of only 12 minutes, a person comes on that gives me the correct website, apparently there was a slight typo, oh, of course.  Ok now I have the correct website, with a code to start my identity protection program.  After answering a series of questions with flying colors, they put me through another test,  well I guess this is good, I need to tell them exact payment amounts on certain bills that show up on my credit report, go get the file and fill in all the answers. Wait, Wait then you have passed the questionnaire you may now continue, punch in a couple of more things then..........YOU HAVE BEEN TIMED OUT OF YOUR ONLINE BANKING SESSION....... ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME....!!@##%&  So I start over, only now I am told that it is a breach of security because the code I have used can only be used once and now I need to use another code or a credit card.  Imagine. Just Imagine.  I broke down in uncontrollable sobs.  I lost it.  Jay and Stevi at this point ran, yes actually ran, outside to play softball, in the snow.  So I called my Mommy, crying, blubbering and sobbing.  Her response was soothing, understanding and caring.  At times like these, even at 40, one needs her mommy.  I had to quit for the day, but not until I called and left 2 more incoherent messages with the CEO's office.  Then I called another 1-800 #.  I was damned if I was not going to get this Identity Protection in place today.  I have no idea how long it took this time, it is a blur but I can tell you if you cry and they cant understand a word you are saying, you are transferred to a human much quicker.  Finally a very nice man came on the phone and I explained to him in just under 15 minutes why I was so upset and he stayed on the line with me while he found someone to help me set my theft protection up over the phone.  This process was like pulling teeth.  I had to speak slowly and spell everything I told her for accuracy .  All in all, I was done just around 11:45, hmm 4 hours and 45 minutes, not bad.  But now I have to wait 7-10 banking days for my kit with another # to call to get my online ID and password as they are unable to give that to me over the phone.  If I had just been faster, I would have been able to chose my own on the website, but I WAS TIMED OUT! 
   Jay and Stevi came in and said they were not going into town without me, I think they were scared to leave me alone with sharp objects, so they waited patiently as I put ice over my eyes so I could look somewhat normal to face the world.  I had another time limit because it was the last day for softball sign-ups for Stevi so that got me moving as we only had until 1pm to get to Vaughn Middle School.   Then off to Scheel's to purchase whatever gear we could afford.
     I took Sunday off, had to, felt like my  brain was shriveling up to nothing and Jay was getting scared of the vacant far away look in my eyes.
     Monday, I spent 2 hours on the phone total during a client cancellation and a no-show and got absolutely nowhere, I did however get more 1-800 #'s to call and some more web sites to log onto to attach fraud alerts.  All in all the Social Security administration had the most information on top of what the police department gave me,  apparently this is a pretty huge problem nationwide.  I have covered a lot of bases in the last two weeks and also gotten nowhere and pretty far at the same time.  I am now trying to accomplish just one thing at a time, one a day unless I am successful with the first chore then I will continue on.  Learn from me.  If you bank online, shop online or do anything on line protect yourself.  Never stay logged on, or on two tabs or more at the same time, don't save online id's and passwords to your computer and the bank told me I was supposed to be changing my online ID and pass codes monthly to protect myself...... hmm didn't see the small print I guess when I was in the SECURE website.  I can tell you now that Lifelock, Privacy Assist or whatever identity theft department you chose is worth it,  I know it seems paranoid, but if I can save just once person from this kind of stress, than I've done my job.


Chrissy and Jack said...

Oh Lisa, I am so sorry. Of all the people this could happen to, you did not deserve this. I bet if anyone has their identity stolen, you will be the expert everyone goes to!

Mom said...

Whew! That was a long post! Did it help you to share? I know that you have helped everyone that you've told to be more cautious.

Madre Adoptiva said...

I still can't believe that happened to you. Let it out, Sister... let it out. Blogs are good therapy!

Perry said...

All I can say is WOW!!! I tried to visit your blog, gone. Send an email to see if all was well, came back undeliverable and I was worried. You fell off the world and that is quite disconcerting. Finally today you visited and I knew you still existed. I am very sorry that first you had to have your ID stolen, but then to go through all the crap by the people "helping". But look at it from my perspective...... you and your family are all safe and healthy. Take care and good luck with "the rest of the story"