Friday, June 22, 2012

My identity is not my own

Yesterday I was looking at my Mastercard statements online and I was shocked to see that my balance was in the neighbourhood of $13K(!).  I was expecting a much lower balance because I pay it off every month or so and I know I haven't run up that much in charges considering I haven't used the card much.

I might not have used the card, but someone did. They purchased over $10K in camera equipment from a Toronto camera shop. I was a little upset because I'd had to change my card number within the last year because someone was booking flights on Vietnam Air. I filed things to dispute the charges and let it go. After all, I'm going to Edmonton on Sunday and I wanted to think about what I needed to do to get ready.

The BMO fraud department called this afternoon and I was surprised that they were contacting me so quickly. After the person identified herself I made some comment that she must have been calling about the charges and she said that she would get to that.

She would get to that? Why else would she be calling?

She would be calling to tell me that someone went and changed my address to someplace in North York (part of Toronto) and that I'm the victim of identity fraud.

While trying to reassure me that this happens all the time, she instructed me to cut up my card (which I did) because it's already been cancelled and they've put new security measures in place for the account. I also had to call Equifax and TransUnion (the credit reporting agencies) to report the identity theft and to take steps to prevent my identity from being stolen again or other people from getting credit from being issued in my name.

The person from the fraud department also instructed me to run virus scanners on our computers because whoever took my information (including information that would allow me to change the address for my credit card) could have done it through a virus on my computer.

This has all freaked me out quite a bit and I'm feel violated. What else does this person know? What else could they do?

This situation has also complicated my trip to Edmonton a bit. I've prepaid for everything - flight, hotel, car - so I hoped that not having the physical card anymore wouldn't be a problem. It isn't a problem for the hotel but it's a huge problem for the car company. It's such a huge problem that I will not be able to pick up the car at all. Not having a car isn't the end of the world, but it's annoying and frustrating that I won't be able to use something for which I've already paid. Tomorrow I'll try to contact Expedia (where I booked the trip) and see if I can get a refund for the car without messing up the rest of the trip but I'm not holding my breath.


Identity theft sucks. 

2 comments:

Robin said...

What a huge ball of suck :(

Vicki Prinsen said...

that is so horrible. i can't believe that happened to you. i don't understand how it could happen through a virus because i lack the background knowledge, but it is scary as hell to think it could happen like that.

it occurred to me just now that i should have offered to put the car on my card, but it is actually very difficult to do. the license holder has to have the credit card in their name in almost all cases. in Toronto we were able to find one tiny rental agency that would use my card and kevin's license, but it took hours of calling around.