“Identity” with its various connotations is something I think about from time to time, but never so much as yesterday when I learned that someone else was using mine. Yep. She had my social security number, birthdate, and a counterfeit credit card from the bank where I recently got mine. She spent $7,000 at a Target store in Indiana and that charge went through. But the bank intervened a few hours later, when she tried to charge another $6,000 at a Target (I don’t think it was the same store, but it was in the same state).
When an investigator from the bank’s fraud unit called me, the thief was on hold on his other phone line, but apparently had enough sense to hang up after a short wait. The company canceled the credit card and will absorb the $7,000. Since then I’ve contacted my other credit card company and the three main credit bureaus, which, by the way, was a lot easier than calling cable companies or phone companies. Now all I can do is wait to see if the other me reappears in another state or another country.
When I asked the guy from the fraud dept. how this could happen, given that I still had my credit card, he gave me a one word answer: “technology.”
Until now, “identity” meant what my on-line dictionary says: “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is and the characteristics determining this.” Before I retired I wondered how I’d feel when I lost my identity as a representative of the school district (answer: fine); and now my novel’s protagonist is struggling with her identity issues (which she should resolve within the next month or so). Now I have a new meaning to add.
As eerie as having someone steal your data, is something that happened when I was working. Every six months for at least three years, the organizer of a traveling clothing sample sale came to town and rented a vacant storefront for two or three weeks to show her wares. Work friends and I would check it out on our lunch breaks, but at different times or on different days. Every sale, anywhere from one to three work colleagues would return from shopping and say, “I saw you there.” They were always astonished when I told them I hadn’t left the office. “But, she looked exactly like you,” they’d say.
I never saw my double and I’ll never see the woman who seems to favor Target for her major purchases. I’m glad on both counts.