Today started as a typical Monday; picking up after the weekend's mess, laundry, some TV for Anna, just a mellow day. I was in the middle of a blog post on how I look forward to Mondays after the craziness of the weekend when my phone rang - the third call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered and found out that someone was trying to use my credit card number, address and strangely, my cell phone number to purchase some wholesale clothing from a store here in LA - putting the order in online and then picking up from the warehouse. That sent my day in a different direction.
Turns out, someone has been using my credit card for two weeks at a couple local home depots and with this clothing purchase would have added up to about $10K in fraudulent activity on my card. Of course, I called and reported that to my credit card and the charges will be reversed. Both Uri and I have new cards coming tomorrow. Normally, this whole thing would have ended there. Credit card numbers are stolen all the time and I'm not paying for any of the charges.
But the fact that they had my address and my cell phone number was really bugging me. Especially because it's a brand new cell phone number - one I haven't even had for two months. I really doubt that any internet credit card schemes are that sophisticated. I knew this had to come from someone who I gave the information to or who stole it from me directly. Luckily, the woman at the wholesale clothing store has been very helpful. She had caller ID so we have the cell phone number of the person who tried to make the clothing purchase. She even called them back to verify it was the same person.
I also called the two Home Depots and talked to their loss prevention departments. They are going to research the transactions and pull the video footage. Interestingly, the person was buying large amounts of copper. Makes sense I guess, copper is probably easy to resell or recycle. A large concern I have is that this is a person could have taken my credit card information from the card in my wallet - someone who has been in my home. I doubt this happened because the contractor our home owner's association uses is pretty legit - but he has other guys he hires. We have had a few of workers in our home in the past few months. I really hope that's not it. We did have a storage unit delivery last month and that company knew my credit information, as well as my address and phone number. Also, the two home depots are kind of close to the storage unit place. So that's my best bet right now.
I went down to the police station and filed a report. They gave me the number for the commerce crimes department and I've left two messages. I am not feeling hopeful that the LAPD is going to be all over this. This city is huge and I'm sure they have other problems. I just feel like I have so many clues and it wouldn't be that tough of a case to solve. I'd like to have the case closed to that I can figure out how this person got all my information. I know I give my information like name, credit card and address out on a lot of things I buy online but I'm really careful with my cell phone number. And the fact that all these purchases are local here in LA, it just seems a little more low tech than someone breaking into the Amazon.com database or something.
There is a small part of me that feels guilty for reporting this at all. I mean, I'm not out a cent because my credit card company protects me from stuff like that. So I'm going after this person that is probably stealing because they don't have enough money. Or I don't know, maybe they are a total creep and deserve it. I guess it's not up to me. Stealing is not okay even when it's a little guy stealing from big guys like the credit card company and Home Depot. My big hope is that they try to pick up some more copper from one of the two Home Depots and get nailed by Home Depot loss prevention. But since I canceled my credit card, that game is up. Man though, it was so simple to cart off thousands of dollars of copper, I wouldn't be surprised if they try it again with someone else's information. Who knows, maybe they have been doing this for years. I do hold out a little hope that maybe the LAPD will call me back and take my case but I'm not holding my breath.
So that's my day! My very first time in a police station filing a report. I will say that filing a police report was not unpleasant and the officer I worked with was very nice. So that's one thing. We'll see if anyone follows up.