Tuesday, January 30, 2007

identity theft frustration

Blockbuster called me yesterday to tell me that my account was about to be charged $150 for my unreturned videos.

"What?" I asked myself. "I don't rent from Blockbuster."

I promptly called the number left behind via the Robotron voice, only to learn that somebody checked out various episodes of Grey's Anatomy under my name.

"You must have loaned your card out," Blockbuster assured me.

"No, I did not," I assured back. "Check and see how they paid for these videos because I swear to you neither I nor anybody I know would ever rent them."

"With a Visa. Oh, and Becky? It's signed with your name."

"But I don't have a Visa card. And Becky isn't my name. It hasn't actually been my name for decades. Clearly this is an imposter."

"Well, we'll just remove the charges on your behalf."

"Okay... thanks. But shouldn't you call the police or something?" I asked, still mildly horrified by the idea of someone signing my childhood nickname across a credit card receipt, twenty minutes on the other side of town.

"No, you'd be surprised how often this happens. Nine times out of ten, you just loaned your card to a friend and forgot that you did."

"But I'm a 31-year old science teacher. It's not like my friends and I run around town, loaning out our Blockbuster cards to rent back seasons of mediocre television programs."

"Don't worry, we are not going to charge you anything."

"But that's not the point!"

"Well, you can call Customer Service, but there's not actually anything they can do to help you."

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