I am as mad as a wet hen!!

Anger is one letter short of danger.
Author Unknown

“The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.”
― William Shakespeare

DSCN3753
(one of the chickens that calls my dad, neighbor / Julie Cook / 2013)

No this hen is not wet and I don’t think it’s exactly mad but it was the best visual I had for this post regarding my being mad.
I’m not just mad, I’m furious!
I’m so mad, I can’t see straight.
As my students would have said, I’m so mad I could dot someone’s eye!
I am so beside myself that if I could, I’d snatch someone up by the collar and clock them one!!

As you know, I tend to lead a rather low key, low profile, low technology sort of life.
Pretty old fashioned.
I don’t do any of that social media business.
I dont TIVO
I don’t HULU.
I don’t do on-line banking.
I have one credit card and one debit card.
My life pretty much consists of the grocery store, Target (pronounced as Targé), the pharmacy, the dry cleaners, a monthly visit or so to the liquor store to procure any necessary medicinal supplies of something nicely fermented and aged plus the occasional Lowes or Home Depot run–and here is where the trouble began. . .

This morning I decided it would be nice to order a new pair of TOMS shoes. I love TOMS—not because the shoes are great by any means but more so because it is a “get one give one” company. A purchased pair of TOMS leads to the giving of a pair of shoes to someone across this planet in need of shoes.

As the purchase was not expensive, I thought I’d just use my debit card.
Well, oddly the purchase wouldn’t go through.
“Strange. . . ” I thought but chalked it up to maybe something to do with using my debit card verses my regular credit card.

Later I made a run around town for a few small items. I ran into a local shop to pick up a few things. As I went to pay for my purchase, using my debit card, something again rather strange took place.
The card wouldn’t go through.
Hummmmm.
Thinking I had put in the wrong pin the clerk told me it wasn’t the pin and it appeared that I needed to go over to the bank to figure out what’s going on.

Writing a check (and yes I still have a check book as some local business still do not have credit / debit machines—which is actually quite refreshing) I paid for my items and made a beeline straight to the bank.

Once at the bank I proceeded to explain to the teller that for some odd reason I couldn’t get my debit card to work, twice. I knew I had money in the account and thought that maybe the magnetic strip was messed up or the pin, or who knows. . .
Looking at her screen of my pulled up account she asks “Did you make a purchase at Sears?”
“Sears???!! No, I haven’t been in a Sears in years”
“How about $500 at a Walmart?
“WHAT???!!!WALLMART???!!! I don’t even go in Walmart!!!”

She proceeds to tell me that my card has been red flagged over some suspicious activity. She gave me a number to the credit protection agency, told me to call them in order to verify the activity and then I’d have to get a new debit card.

Are you kidding me??!!!

I proceeded to sit down in the lobby of the bank, call the agency on my cell phone, confirm that I had not made the purchases, hang up, then move over to a desk with two women who were in the fraud department of the bank.

The nice ladies pull up my account, again.
It appears my card has been to Illinois, Kansas and south Georgia to name but a few locations all on Saturday and Sunday.
By this time I’m feeling the heat rising to my face.
I am feeling sick to my stomach, I am in a panic and I am mad.

Luckily for me the only thing that went through was a $5.42 charge at a Sears in Illinois.
The other big charges, like the $500 charge to Walmart and the charge for some motel in Kansas were all declined.

The nice bank ladies took my card, cut it in half before shredding it, ordered a new debit card and flagged my account as having been compromised—which led me back to Home Depot.

We’ve all heard or read in the news of the identity and credit breach affecting Home Depot as well as Target . . .
Thankfully my Target Red Card was not affected. Which has made me realize my troubles had to be from Home Depot.

It was Easter and I had gone to Home Depot to get a few things in order to put together an Easter basket of goodies for our son’s new house. . . rake, shovel, broom, hedge trimmers, pruning shears, etc—“stuff” a new home and yard owner would certainly be in need of. . .when I recall using my debit card.

AAAGGGGHHHHH—-I am robbed putting together an Easter Basket—go figure.

Months later the news is rife with the latest and egregious data breach affecting millions of shoppers at Home Depot. As I had not noticed anything “fishy” on my bank statement, all these many months following the news of the breach, I breathed a sigh of relief and went merrily on with my rather boring rut filled life.

That is until today.

Luckily for me, I am only out a little over $5.00, of which the bank will be crediting back to my account.
I know those who have had their entire identities stolen— living now a nightmare existence.

The little ladies at the bank were nice, thorough, efficient and full of advice and warnings. However, I already thought I was pretty savvy.
I do not use my debit card in restaurants, or for fast food, or rarely for on-line purchases, or even when I travel to Atlanta to shop. I simply use it here in little ol Carrollton. But even life in little ol Carrollton is not free from predators, thieves, criminals and crooks.

It’s really hard for me to wrap my brain around how other people can so readily, easily, and often time craftily and creatively, steal from others.
Like I say, I could certainly dot someone’s eye right about now. . .yet despite my anger, my panic and my feeling of betrayal or of being somewhat broadsided out of the blue, I am sad.
Sad that we live in a world that grows less and less safe and trusting with each passing day.

The wolves lie in wait, waiting to devour the unsuspecting around each corner. One more signal that I need to regroup and rethink how I live what I thought to be a rather dull, rut filled and routine laced life.
Maybe the less information out there is better?
Maybe cash is the only way?
Maybe there is something to getting off the proverbial “grid”
Maybe I need to find some deserted island out there with my name on it?

A sad sign of the times to be sure.

Here are a couple of things to look for if you suspect any fraudulent activity on a debit card:
—many thieves are patient, usually waiting weeks or even months after a breach–do not relax your vigilance of monitoring your accounts and statements
—It usually starts with a small insignificant transaction –prime example my initial $5.42 which raised the red flag.
—fraudulent transactions often take place over a weekend once banks are closed for several days in a row.
—I was fortunate that my bank did flag that initial fraudulent transaction and consequently declined the ensuing transactions taking place all over the country.
—be smart when and where using a debit card

. . .yet sadly, the times, they are a’changing and it matters not how safe and smart we think we may be— people will still choose to do bad things and bad things will still happen to good people.

So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
Job 5:16

7 comments on “I am as mad as a wet hen!!

  1. Lynda says:

    You are indeed fortunate that this issue was resolved so quickly for you. What a nightmare it must be for a person to have his/her identity stolen!

    I had to chuckle when I read that you call Target Targé because that is what we do in Canada! I also don’t shop at Walmart – so interesting to read that too.

    Glad that this has been straightened out for you. Blessings.

    • Yes, we all give Target a bit more “chicness” than it has and no, I can’t stand Walmart—-too big and it has done a sad job of going in and putting the “mom and pop” shops out of business—it reminds me of a hungry giant!!
      Happy day Lynda–
      Julie

  2. David says:

    I know that feeling well Julie and remember the day that the bank called to ask if I had just used my card twice for transactions of £9 in a restaurant 200 miles away! When I replied that I had not they then mentioned a couple of other transactions the previous week – one for £3,500 plus for tickets to Pakistan! It was all sorted out and several other transactions were caught before they went through. Quite why the bank picked up on £9 transactions and missed the £3,500 I don’t know.

    That is a rather attractive hen in your photograph.

    Blessings. David

    • Hi David–I am sorry for the dray in my response. I too love that chicken—it is a city chicken as the family next door to my dad, who live smack dab in the the middle of Atlanta, has 4 chickens in their backyard—urban chickens seems to be the current trend 🙂
      My new debit card finally arrived but now I must want another 3 to 5 days for a new pin before I can activate the card. Tickets to Pakistan eh….gives you some idea as to who got your information. . .what a mess we live in!!
      Ireland is a go!!!–everything is set and arranged—all that remains is the airline tickets which we’ll get at the end of the year—-
      Hope all is well and that your traveling is over for a while, allowing you to rest and catch your breath!!
      Hugs to you—Julie

      • David says:

        Three to five days for a PIN in our instant age? I can’t remember how long our replacement cards and PINs took to arrive. Good news on Ireland – something to look forward to. I am trying to catch up with report writing at the moment, but have work trips to Sweden, Norway and Ireland to organise before Christmas at the moment. All well otherwise – Beth is coming home for a couple of days next week – can’t wait. Then there is a big commissioning service for all YFC volunteers next Saturday up in Birmingham.

        Trust all is well with you too. Blessings, David

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry this has happened to you, Cookie, but like you I’m thrilled that the bank was smart enough to decline the big charges. This kind of thing is indeed a sad state of affairs. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  4. lljostes says:

    For a “wet hen” she sure has great color! (We have some chicken neighbors, but they are all Rhode Island Reds–pretty standard red brown.) I’m glad that your bank caught the “unusual activity” and shut your card down before more damage could be done. We had to get a new debit card because of Home Depot, too–thankfully before something happened. Hope you never experience that again! Hugs ~ Laura

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