Wednesday, January 11, 2006


The identity thief laughs again

If you were in Los Feliz this morning, and you heard angry shouting, it might well have been Our Man and Our Woman in LA having an angry "discussion" with our bank over the phone.

As you might remember, Our Man in LA was the victim of identity theft over the Thanksgiving holiday. Some evil miscreant managed to make a copy of my ATM card and get my PIN information. Resulting cost: nearly $1,000. Our Woman in LA and I reported the matter, got the money restored, and, we thought, closed the case.

Or so we thought. On Monday, we received a letter from our bank, which will remain nameless, informing us that their investigators had determined no fraud to have been committed, and as a result, we would lose the nearly $1,000 again. Forget the fact that the transactions were made in parts of LA far removed from our house and in Arizona. Forget that it's rare that Our Man in LA even withdraws $100 from the ATM, let alone the $800 from the joint checking account done in less than 24 hours. Never mind that two of the transactions occurred in our bank's machines, meaning that all you'd have to do is just look at the video from the ATM.

Nope. No proof of fraud.

Talked to the bank Monday morning. Oh, they were sure going to appeal the decision for us. Don't you worry. Call back Wednesday.

Called them this morning. Nope, no appeal made. Why can't you people be more patient with us? You have to calm down and be patient.

But yeah, we're taking your money on Friday morning.

The long and short is that Our Woman in LA and I have now re-appealed, and this request is going before the Executive Committee of the bank's fraud squad. That's right, the Executive Committee. Not a few men tremble in fear at the sound of that.

But we're still losing the money on Friday morning. Might get it back. Might have to appeal the Executive Committee's decision. We'll see how that'll work out.

But anyhow, losing a bunch of money again sure did get Our Woman in LA and I in a lather. When we get angry, we get really angry. How do I know? Well, looking at the evidence of this morning's, ahem, discussion with the bank, I can site two pieces of pretty strong evidence:

1) Well, there was the time that I broke the phone by slamming it too hard against the desk in the office; and

2) There was Our Woman in LA's repeated use of the word "bull-s%!t" in describing how we had been treated by our bank.

I mean, it's not ironclad evidence, but it's solid.


Just to make myself clear, too, I'd like to talk a moment about the punishment I'd like to see visited on this particular identity thief. As you all know, Our Man in LA is a fierce opponent of the death penalty. And that goes for this person, too.

No, sir. Death is too good for this one.

Maybe he or she should have to be on the receiving end of a phone call from Our Man and Woman in LA. That he or she can't hang up from. While he or she is being stung by bees and having lit cigarettes put out on his or her stomach.

That's the punishment that fits, in my opinion. It's either that or face the Executive Committee.

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