This is what I was left with in my bank account after some scum sucking lowlife skimmed my debit card and went on a crazy night shopping spree. He (or she?) didn’t spend my money in one place but two. And nobody at Merchant #2 thought to question why anyone would want to buy over $300 worth of candles, much less someone who had never bought a single candle from them before, much less someone who is allergic to candles. (But they wouldn’t know that it wasn’t me without a better fail safe than they have in place and hey, look, a big sale!)
I discovered the breach when I went to pay my phone bill. Sorry, insufficient funds. WTF? I checked my balance and statement and sure enough there were charges I never made there. I raced to my bank branch, running a couple of stop signs on the way, I think (don’t tell the good folks who taught at cop school!) and told the bank employees and called the merchants and was reassured I would get my money back. But I don’t know when. And I have $1.34. And some cash. But not much.
When I was held up at gunpoint and when I was mugged- separate incidents no less!- I didn’t feel as victimized. I was face to face with the perps then, I knew who did it and I knew that the gun robber was arrested. I was so mad at the mugger that I started chasing him when I got up off the sidewalk but he was on a bike and gone before I gained five steps on him. All for $2.00 and change. More than I was left with in my account. In both incidents, I lost a lot less money and I felt less violated. I never got any of that money back but I was physically mostly unscathed. I became even more street smart than I already was.
But this was different. I don’t know where my card info was stolen or by whom. Sometimes card hackers make a small insignificant purchase to test, to see if it’ll get by, before they buy out the store, but I found nothing like that in my statement. I made a list of places I had used the card in the past week and wondered “Did it happen here? There?” Was it before that week even? A restaurant? A kiosk in the grocery store? A parking meter? J’accuse!
Waiting on the money lost to be credited back to my account and hoping it’s imminent, I reflect that yeah, there are worse things, but suspicion and paranoia suck. As does getting by on $1.34.