How Identity Theft Happens
I didn't buy that
Identity theft befalls any person at any given time, there are ways to protect yourself from it but when you think you have done everything right it happens. The following article is about my second encounter with identity theft. I am not proud of the fact that it happened to me a second time but it did nonetheless. I took every precaution I thought was needed to protect myself from this occurrence. All except for one…
By the time this had happened to me I had been over the last event by two years. I wrote about the first encounter with identity theft in a previous article, relating to ordering pizza with a debit card. This time I had used my credit card to purchase many things from many different places, one of which being the internet.
How does this happen
I had been warned against this action by both friends and family. I had read articles on the internet much like this one, declaring that this action presents a target for identity thieves to focus on. They can and sometimes do extract your information out of the internet, even in encrypted protocols.
I was on the internet searching for ways to make some extra money, looking for the proverbial pot of gold. I spent a lot of time searching and reading about these “business opportunities”. The whole time I was being extremely skeptical of them all. Well, eventually I found one that I thought would prove to be worthwhile. “Get paid to fill out surveys, earn $75.00 each time.” I only had to pay $30.00 to be able to access all of these so called $75.00 surveys. Well needless to say I did.
I know what you’re thinking, and I agree I was an idiot. After purchasing this program for $30.00 with my credit card I got to work. Funny thing is there wasn’t a single survey worth $75.00; they got me, hook, line, and sinker. However, I was able to earn my thirty dollars back at one and five dollar intervals. Essentially I worked on a thirty minute survey to make a dollar or, if I was lucky, five.
After two months of this I had enough, I wasn’t making enough for the amount of time I was spending so I quit. On the third month I looked at my credit card statement. Two things I know I used it for but there was two more items on the statement that I didn’t recognize. On some statements you can click on each item to learn about where they came from. This statement was that way, so I clicked on the first item, and saw that it originated in London (I’ve never been there by the way.) The other item on the statement was pretty much the same way but it originated in Amsterdam. I have been there but only in an airport and over a year and a half ago at this point. So I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that these charges were not mine.
I immediately called the credit card company because I had learned the first time that expedience in rectifying your accounts makes the theft less painful. When I called I talked to customer service and explained what I discovered. They actually charged the credit card this time. The customer service agent started off speaking rudely to me, I did not like that one bit let me tell you. I yelled at this particular person and demanded to speak to her supervisor.
Now I am upset because of the customer service person and the theft. So when the supervisor got on the phone I was a little curt. After speaking with the supervisor for a little bit I calmed down. They told me that their policy was to send out a dispute form so I can fill it out and return it. Ok, I can accept policy. I then asked if I would be penalized if I didn’t pay towards any of the fraudulent charges.
The answer I’d have to say upset me, but who wouldn’t be. Would you want to pay for something I bought with your credit card? “No”.
So I received the forms, filled them out, and returned them. Within one week my card was shut off and I was issued a new one with a higher limit to boot.
The lesson I learned that day was one that I should have listened to from my friends and family. I now use a free service called PayPal. You may have heard of it you may not have, but if you make purchases over the internet I recommend using it or something like it. Since I started using it I have not had any instances of identity theft. Once again I hope this helps anybody who listens. Don’t fool yourself into believing the old, “It won’t happen to me” because it does and it is a painful wake-up call.
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