Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Ok, readers, I need your help. Mr. Darling and I are having a very strange problem, and I can't figure it out to save my life. I spent hours on the internet trying to find some mention of someone else having a similar problem or any explanation as to why and how this good be happening, but to no avail. Finally, I said to myself, "Self, the 40-something people who read your blog are clearly geniuses. (And some of them may be career criminals who have experience in this area, who knows?) I bet they can shed some light on the subject."

Are you intrigued yet? Good. Here's the scoop:

A week or two ago, Mr. Darling noticed that there were like $600 in strange charges on his bank account, even though he had never lost his debit card. (He has a separate bank account for when he travels on rotations. When we were using our joint account, we were getting stuck with overdraft fees when he traveled, because neither of us knew what the other was spending while he was in a different city. Not sure why I felt the need to explain that.) Anyway, he called the bank, they canceled his debit card, mailed him a new one, and refunded the charges. Problem solved, right? Wrong!

Yesterday, when Mr. D came home for Thanksgiving break, he was opening some mail, and he had a package from some company that does home phone service through your computer. They had sent him a computer part to use to hook up his computer and phone. Except, he hadn't ordered the part. And he'd never heard of the company. So after some investigating, we looked on his online bank statement, and saw a recent $75 charge (recent as in, after his old debit card should've been deactivated) to this company. Then, we realized that some of the previous fraudulant charges were to companies like LifeLock and IdentitySweep, which are identity theft protection companies. Companies with which Mr. D absolutely did NOT sign up. And... the confirmation letters for these services had been mailed to Mr. Darling. At our home address.

As Mr. D continued to open his mail, he kept finding more things related to the fraudulant charges. For example, one of the charges was to some weight-loss company, and Mr. D opened one envelope to find six "women's weight loss patches" from that company. (I weigh 125, so don't blame me for that one.)

So, basically, someone has been using Mr. D's card number to sign him up for services and to buy things and have them sent to our house. In other words, the criminal is apparently gaining nothing from this fraud (what could you possibly gain by signing someone else up for identity theft protection?) What the heck??

Now, keep in mind that Mr. D's debit card has never left his side. And, we've now connected most of the charges to things that have either been mailed to our house or services that Mr. D has been signed up for. All without his knowledge or consent. For some reason, I'm kind of freaked out by this. But also really, really confused.

Hours of internet searching has failed me, dear readers. Does anyone else have any idea what might be going on here? Seriously. This is absurd.


Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

It will be where you use it frequently. Happenend to my sister-either the dry cleaners or the gas station. So if you get a new card, it won't matter. The hard part is that the banks really don't care because they have insurance. It is VERY difficult to prosecute. If you call the Police Dept. to file a claim, must will just say HUH? Very few are advanced enough to have an IT dept. that investigates such fraud. Which is ridiculous because obviously most future crimes will be operpetrated in such manner (welcome to the 21st century, dumbass!) Get a new card, think about where you use it and try and use it only at certain places for a while to see if it keeps happening. Also, I would put an alert at Equifax on my credit report. Tell them you have been a victim of credit theft and ANY NEW CHARGE MUST BE APPROVED VERBALLY! Also, file a police report. The last thing you ever want to do is have to disentangle your financials...

.::~P~::. said...

My ex bf did stuff like that to banks and gas station.

Here in Ottawa, we had problems like these a few years ago due to gas stations. The kids would set up the cameras to view your info and then manage to steal it.

There is a lot of electronic ways to get into systems now a days... Mostly why as soon as I get my paycheck I take ALL the money out.

Yes I am very paranoid but after seeing how that Ex worked his way out of all the fraud.... I am not taking my chances.

I agree with the police report. It's always good to have a back up for what you didn't do.

Island Girl said...

I would also call the card company - most seem to be helpful in at least getting your money back. Luckily, I've never had this problem *crosses fingers* but I did talk to my bank about when I signed up and they said that they will put all money back into their accounts that are taken out by fraud.

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

I was also going to take a guess at an ex...

Morgan the (Almost) Muse said...

That is odd.... those are strange things. I have no clue why anyone would do that, but I wanted you to know that I am here for you. :) I am sure it will all work out, somehow. But why the anti-theft stuff? Maybe it is your neighbor, or someone who visits a lot, and was just going to... take it? I do not know, that is a weird suggestion.

LYDIA said...

No help here - but I am sorry, that's a suck time.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Oh my god, that is the craziest thing EVER.

I have no insight except that my debit card number was stolen once and used by someone across the country from me, though I'd never lost the card itself. They somehow managed to use it at a GAS STATION (without having the actual card) and signed a name to the receipt that was not my name. The fraudulent name even showed up on the receipt as though THAT was the name associated with the card and not mine. Yet the charges went to my account! We never figured it out, but I obviously closed that account.

Strangely, all they bought was about $75 in long distance calling cards.

But your situation is different in that this person is buying things for YOU! That. Is. Crazytown.

Deutlich said...

It's probably identity fraud. And even if he's never lost his card, it's not hard to do. Any schmuck that's swiped his card could've taken his information & card number and voila

I wish him the best, though.. it's really hard to solve something like that

notthelifeiordered said...

That's really really weird. The only thing that I can think of is that do you guys have direct deposit for your paychecks? They have your bank information right on there (at least on mine they do) and if someone gets ahold of that it could be bad news. Identity theft/fraud sounds to be the case....

AngieS said...

Our business debit card number was stolen a few years ago. Counterfeit cards can be made. I would call the bank again to make sure they cancel the other number. Not understanding why the theives would have stuff shipped to your home, though... good luck clearing this up. Oh, Mr. D should check his credit report, to make sure no new accounts have been opened in his name, and then maybe put a fraud alert on his credit. All three credit bureaus should be notified. Again...good luck

ÄsK AliCë said...

I had this explained to me the other day. It's at gas stations - they have a separate "debit" machine so when you swipe your card it imprints the numbers, then there is a camera above you that records the pin #. The person doing the fraud can then take that machine and with a blank card imprint your numbers and pin on it and voila - they have a carbon copy of your card. Even if your original is canceled theirs will still work.

Why they would use it to buy you insurance and fraud protection, I have NO idea

J&D said...


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