Last week someone used a fake credit card with my number and my name to charge a few hundred dollars worth of products at a store near my house.
I discovered the theft by chance when I was looking at my account online. I was lucky, actually. We’ve started buying holiday gifts and I’m not always diligent about checking every statement, so the charge might have slipped through. I called the bank and a few minutes later, that card was cancelled and a replacement was on the way to me.
I’ve been shopping online for close to 20 years and I’ve always expected I’d have to deal with a stolen number someday. Large retailers whose physical stores I’ve used have been hacked; another opportunity for my number to be taken and used. I would have chalked that up to bad luck. However, the fact that the card was used a few miles from my home suggests that it was a local theft, and to me that’s far creepier. I’m careful with my card. So, where did someone copy my number? A store? Restaurant? Doctor’s office? I don’t have any idea and it’s disconcerting.
Identity theft in the swamps of big data, where I am just a number in a list of millions, isn’t personal. The idea that my number might have been stolen by someone that I physically interacted with is intensely personal. Doing the rest of my holiday shopping online is even more appealing this year.
On a lighter note, I’ll leave you with this video in which local boy Eminem mentions the city where my card was used. (Video is NSFW both for lyrics and nudity from the movie Project X).