mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Somebody stole my credit card...

So I was sitting at my desk at work today, trying to get through a pile of laptops that needed to be set up, when my phone rang. Caller ID didn't show that it was anyone I was trying to avoid, so I answered it.

It was American Express, asking if I'd purchased a computer monitor from some no-name site this morning. I hadn't. Nor had I made the purchase at some online paintball store the day before, or some other site (I don't remember what it was, but it was something off the wall). Evidently, my card had been "compromised". Stolen.

They asked me if the card was physically in my posession. It was, nestled in my wallet next to my Giant frequent customer card. I asked them if they knew how it was stolen, and they didn't. They are sending me a new card, and removing the fraudulent charges, which is great, but it's a little disarming not knowing how it was stolen. I'm usually pretty careful. I'm a pro at spotting phishing emails, I shred pretty much anything with personal information, and I even try to avoid buying stuff online with it while I'm on my wireless router at home. I guess it could have been a randomly generated dictionary-type attack, or that some online or brick and mortar retailer I shop at stored it and had their database compromised.

So this is going to be a pain. Partly because I'll need to re-enter my card at every online merchant that I have it saved with (and I buy a lot of shit)- including autobills for stuff like my RePlayTV subscription and eBay, and partly because I can't use the card until I get the replacement (not that it's a huge deal, since I'm going to be working so many hours this week that I won't have time to buy shit - I actually made a point of doing a bunch of shopping this weekend so I'd be stocked up for the next two weeks. But more than that, there's the scary fact that despite my best efforts, someone managed to steal my credit card number. Now I have to worry that they've stolen other info, or another number, or my identity, and I have to watch my statement to make sure that there aren't any other charges they missed.

My parents are always paranoid about using their credit cards online, and refuse to buy anything online - the complete opposite of me, someone who has bought everything from cereal to shoes to electronics on the interweb. But maybe they have a point...

I do have to give props to Amex for catching it as quickly as they did - I don't know what secret algorithms they use to detect fraud, but they caught it very quickly, and the charges they asked me about were all fraudulent. Obviously, it's in their best interests to - since they are liable for it, and since they want to keep angry calls from customers wanting to know why they got charged for paintball supplies to a minimum - but it's still pretty cool that they know I got robbed before I did, and their rep was also very professional.


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