Dear A-hole Who Stole My Identity,
Thanks a lot!
Yes, I’m being sarcastic. And I continue to be when I say that I hope you’ve enjoyed your shopping sprees at Sears, Kohls, BestBuy, Pier One, JC Penney, and whatever stupid big box store was next to issue you a line of credit in my name. I’m sure I’ll find out in tomorrow’s mail. They just keep on coming. To quote the unintentionally apt letter attached to today’s Pier One card: “YOU GOT IT. NOW GET READY FOR MORE.”
I especially hope you have a great time with the Applebee’s cash card you purchased with the Kohl’s credit card. Just kidding, I don’t really hope you have fun. I hope you find the atmosphere to be way less convivial than it looks on TV, and that you order a disappointingly dry Zesty Roma Chicken and Shrimp “Under 500 Calories” meal, and that it actually contains 2500 calories, which sabotages the diet you think you’re on –and should be on, because you find yourself wheezing and your thighs chafing when you run through the Middletown, NY mall from store to store to screw up my credit.
Hey, you’re in luck. My friend tells me that Kohl’s sells pants that are generously cut for someone with a big can.
You know what’s great, though? (Besides the fact that all the credit cards are stuck to the letters with that rubbery glue strip that’s fun to peel off and play with.) I’m not responsible for any of the charges. The only thing I’ve lost so far is time, and who needs more time? There’s always more where that came from, because we’re all going to live forever. Some people like to live every day like it’s their last; I prefer to live each day like it’s the last opportunity to talk to credit fraud departments on the phone.
OK, in earnest, Identity Thief, in case you’re confused by my ironic tone: I resent anything that wastes my time in a way I wouldn’t choose to waste it. The hours I spent in the last few days reciting my social security number, address, and 16-digit numbers of accounts I didn’t authorize, I could’ve enjoyed watching Bravo shows I don’t like that much, like Rachel Zoe. So fuck you.
Do you know that, thanks to your shenanigans, I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the police station? Instead of hanging out at home feeling guilty for not being outside, wasting the day on my terms, I sat for 2.5 hours under a water-stained drop ceiling, smiling at every cop who walked by and hoping he’d ask, “can I help expedite your paperwork?”
Some interesting folk came through while I was sitting there. Maybe they’re friends of yours?
One said, “I was arrested last night. I’m here to get my possessions.” While he waited over an hour for what turned out to be just a stainless steel water bottle, he kept laughing to himself, dropping his prepaid cell phone, and staring at me through sunglasses that lit up on the corners when he pressed a switch.
Your other pal, a woman, came in with a walking stick and many plastic grocery bags. Her sweatpants ended a good four inches above her ankles, one of which was wrapped uselessly in a loose Ace bandage. She smelled like medicine and unwashed person. (Maybe you could give her that Someday by Justin Bieber fragrance gift set you put on my tab at Sears.)
She went up to the window, removed her baseball cap to reveal a mullet with lots of bald patches, and announced, “I’m back.” I heard the administrator behind the plexiglass sigh while this woman ranted: “Well, I’m back once again, to report that my landlord is still threatening to throw my mother’s wheelchair in the garbage. This is aggravated assault, and if it continues, someone’s going to be hurt in a fistfight, most likely him.”
I hope you meet awesome people like this when you’re in jail for stealing my identity and wasting my time. And you will be, if the detective I spoke with has his way. He said this is the case of a lifetime, and he won’t rest till he gets to the bottom of it.
No, he didn’t really.
He said, “Oh yeah, there’s a lot of this going around. Don’t be surprised if you get a card for Children’s Place and Victoria’s Secret.”
So, dear Identity Thief, better sleep with one eye open — on your Happy Chic By Jonathan Adler for JC Penneys bedding that’s really not bad. Enjoy.
ps – this’ll make you laugh.
It took me a full hour on the phone with a mumbling representative to get immediate access to my credit report. Every question he asked to verify my identity stumped me, and required me to rummage through all kinds of papers in my file drawer. Meanwhile, it was clearly a snap for you to open all those credit cards in my name. I bet the toughest question they asked was, “How many shopping bags would you like?” What’s your secret?
i just wanted to say i’m so bummed for you. i hope u r getting everything worked out.
Carlyle Coash says
Despite the fact I just laughed till I pee’d just now, I am sorry for this wretched event. I trust that all will be regained. Especially good that you will not have to pay for all the crazy purchases. I am not sure where Middleton NY is, but it is now on my scorn list. I am Hungarian and we protect our friends!
About 8 months ago I had someone pretend to be me and con my dad out of $5,000. Apparently I was in a Mexican prison. Who knew! Not me – or my dad.
It is not good when your hearing goes. My dad really thought it was me but upon speaking to me for real he realized that his mistake was a big one. The police said the same thing basically – “yep this happens several times a day.” They did decide to put together a task force to go down to Mexico….no not really. He then spend the next several days making sure he did not give the thief too much information.
Definite shredder time.
(By the way -for anyone reading this who thinks they might try their hand at fooling my dad again (like the a-hole mentioned above) – be warned. We’re using a code word now – so good luck. And it’s not Swordfish)
Thank you for writing such an excellent message. What is sobering is that it looks like almost every reply has a story about this kind of thing. I think we might need to go back to using gold pieces or something. Or sheaves of wheat.
Sending you thoughts of clear transactions and a nice karmic hole for the slimy dingbat to fall into. Sorry for any good cable that you missed.
Peace – Carlyle
Lisa Van Ahn says
I want to feel bad for you. And I do. Truly I do. But I laughed so hard and actually out loud so much it doesn’t even compare to a stupid LOL + I read parts of it to my half interested sister until I got to one part and then she laughed out loud and asked me to keep reading.
I love your stuff. And on the third try, I do feel really, really bad this happened because I know you would keep writing funny stuff even if nothing bad happened to you ever. And it shouldn’t.
Thank you for your voice, LVA-
Laura, I’m so sorry you had to deal with this kind of douche-baggery. I lived in Middletown, NY for years during my early 20s, it was probably my ex-boyfriend that stole your identity, totally his M.O. Love that you could use your site to call him out on it, even though whoever stole your identity prob wouldn’t have gotten past ‘convivial’ (honestly, I had to look it up too). Much love girl!
Laura Wallis says
GAWD- I feel for you. Been there. Such a bummer and so sorry to hear. It’s really an icky feeling when you know someone has run amuk with your creds all over town. Being married to a Smith (as my gal friend said, Smith wasn’t an upgrade, so I didn’t change my moniker, but my father-in-law was pissed), I have watched his John Doe name be dragged through one muddy Jacques Penney mall parking lot through another. No fun. When it has happened I have felt as confused as Dusty when he heard “One word: Plastics.” Ya pick yourself up, wipe up the ransack and start all over again. Or you cancel everything and run for the hills.
This sucks!! It recently happened to a friend here in London and they hacked into EVERYTHING. We all even got emails saying she was stuck in Sierre Leone and needed money. When you describe the characters in the police station and the person that did this to you I thank God that I was raised better and that I will go to those dark places that they are all in (whether they know it or not). I attended an event yesterday where Prince Charles gave a young man an award for achievement and he described how bad his young life had been before he made the changes. Here’s hoping ‘your’ jerk makes some changes. The world doesn’t need any more idiots.
WTH? So sitting in the ER @ 3 a.m. today w/my husband (apparently for him 2 cups of joe = 18 hrs of heart palpatations) I was reading your blog & thinking “wow, that really sucks, man that girl can write!” Fast forward to one hr ago w/me getting an email from my credit card company to call them about fraudulent activity on my account! Some loser tried to take cash advances for just under $1000 each at 3 different locations & was able to get a charge of about $800 thru from a company called Allied. I’m now going thru my other accounts to make sure there’s no activity on them.
Thanks for the laugh this morning, hope this gets resolved quickly for you. I’m going to get me some heart palpations on to get thru the day:-)
Barb Pierce says
Sorry to hear what you are going through, Laura. I had my purse/wallet stolen and by the time I found out and reported it they managed to buy a pair of sneakers at Bob’s and 3 movies at Blockbuster…all with cameras. I went through hell for a pair of trainers! I finally got smart and made sure I put those card offers in the paper shredder. Didn’t realize it made a difference how it shredded til I saw Argo…yikes. But thanks for making me laugh.
David C Belgray says
I hope (s)he reads your piece on the front page of some newspaper.
That totally sucks Laura, sorry to hear about the fat assed poopy head who stole your identity.
Wait…where do I get sunglasses that light up at the corners?
You could try Kohl’s.
Laura Jones | Link to Yourself says
Wow, this is terrible. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about identity theft, and it’s happened to people around me at a very small scale, but never this seriously. I hope it ends soon, that they catch the bastard and you don’t have to go through too much more trouble to get it all over with. And you do always have an amazing gift to see the humor in any situation, I admire you for that 🙂
Thanks, Laura. I think this is still small scale, since someone else in the comments here had to fight a million dollars in fraudulent loans. Thankful for small favors!
Reading this confirms my militant paranoia about these matters. I’m guessing you do not own a paper shredder, but I’ve had them for decades. The best kind is the type that turns paper into confetti, rather than strips. I feel that businesss at large are finally taking some precautions to protect a person’s identity, but it’s shocking how long it has taken, considering this has been a cultural phenomenon for about a dozen years. This year has been the first time, in fact, that the tax documents sent to me by my financial institutions have the first five digits of my SS # x’d out. But there are still call centers, usually related to health insurance, that ask you to recite you SS # on the phone and then they repeat it back to you to make sure they’ve got it correct. Naturally, I can’t help but wonder who is in ear shot of this person, and I’m even more concerned that they write this number on a scrap of paper that gets tossed in the trash without being ripped into a million pieces.
I still remember how uncomfortable I was several years ago at the emergency room at St. Vincent’s hospital when the clerk asked me to recite my SS # within relative hearing of other patients waiting to be admitted. I believe I asked for a pen and piec of paper to write it on and then asked for the piece of paper back (so that I could take it home and shred it). I remember purchasing an item at a clothing store that was only available in the catalog, so the clerk telephoned the main office, where the person at that end asked me for my credit card number (as I was standing there in a crowded store of potential eavesdroppers). I declined and, instead, placed the order in the privacy of my home.
I’m curious if you have any idea of how this criminal obtained your personal information.
Bruce, I’m just hoping this is the only area in which your paranoia is valid. Otherwise, I’m doomed.
It drives me crazy that something that’s supposed to be so secure and confidential is printed in full on anything. I have zero idea how these people got my info, but there are so many ways they could’ve. I haven’t exercised your wise paranoia. I don’t think I’ve been sloppy, but I guess it takes real vigilance. Lesson learned.
One area that leaves people ectremely vulnerable, in my opinion, is the application process for a co-op apartment (or a sublet or rental), which involves submitting multiple copies of tax returns that, naturally, have the applicant’s name, address and social security number. When I received these as a board member of my building I made sure to shred them after I finished reviewing them, but I doubt that other board members did the same. In fact, I assume many board members at various buildings simply toss these into the trash, (considering how tedious and time consuming it can be to shred all these documents), and, as I’m sure you’re aware, there are people constantly picking through the trash in New York City.
In any case, I sincerely wish you the very best, and I agree with the all the praise mentioned in these comments concerning your hilarious point of view on this horrible situation. In this regard, I could learn a lesson from you in return.
ID THEFT victims are GUILTY until proven innocent. Sadly, I say this bc I went through it myself almost 10 yrs ago and until this day still haunts me. I only wish I could’ve had it all cleared up as quickly as you. 🙁
I too sat in a police station and talked with the FBI (neither of which helped).
Try $1 million dollars in fake loans. Not to mention court appearances and hundreds of dollars in certified returned receipt mail for 2 yrs. I dropped out of med school to clear my name. I thought it was cleared, but every now and then something pops up.
At first I was as angry as you, if not more. Now, I just do what needs to get done.
I hope this nightmare ends quickly and does not return.
Funny, someone made a $200 Macy’s purchase to my debit card on Saturday and I thought THAT was bad. After reading your story I realize that it could have been way worse.
I know it’s totally sucky, but just think of the karma they’ve just created for themselves for lifetimes to come.
Hang in there. You’ll get through this….. because that’s what you do. =)
Danielle (Your B-School buddy)
Holy crap. See, that makes my situation look like a piece of cake. So far. How does someone get so far as to secure a million bucks in loans? How??
Not sure Laura. But my guess is some really bad people.
A bank account in my name was created for by these people to obtain the loans and then once I found out the account suddenly NEVER EXISTED. I felt like I was in a movie, super creepy.
Laura, You have such an ability to take a horrendous situation and make me laugh. I have such a visual of you looking at that idiot with the light up sunglasses while sitting under the water-stained ceiling. Your beautiful sense of humor and sarcasm make you a winner in the worst of all possible situations- good luck and can’t wait to read your post about when they catch that creep!!! I hope you pay him a visit- that will be a post I will print out and put on my wall! xoxox
Thanks, Beth! Of course, it’s not really the worst of all possible situations, which is one reason I’m able to have a sense of humor about it. It’s not cancer, and it’s not the end of cable TV.
Hey Laura! Nothing witty or helpful to say – just that sucks, I’m so sorry! At least you got a great post out of it. I bet that makes you feel a lot better, right? Right? xoxo
You know it, Sandra. My fear of having nothing to write trumps fear of having credit stolen, so there’s one upside.
Sorry to hear about this, in the interest in adding some value to you and anyone who might read this my suggestion (moving forward) is to do a Credit freeze on your three accounts “Trans Union” Experian and Equifax. (this is a lesson I learned the hard way but has worked like a charm since I implemented it)
This is a $10 fee (nothing really) and it means that not even you can request credit without first unblocking it. So while this will not undo the crap that this gutless punk did it will prevent it from happening again.
If you do get a Disney and Victoria Secret Card you might qualify for a 10% discount on your next purchase 😉 (Just kidding) Love you L!
Thanks, Bern. I wouldn’t call them gutless. Worthless, maybe. But it takes a set to open up that many credit cards under one person’s name and max them all out, in front of store video cameras.
I’ve placed a credit freeze.