I'm Broke And It's Not Because I Overspent On Christmas
Someone stole my identity and cleared my checking account.
I am so mad I could scream.
Oh, wait. I did that when the nice bank lady told me my checking account was $76.00 dollars in the red.
"I've been robbed," I screamed into the phone.
Sure enough, someone in Washington, DC, where I just moved from, had gone to an ATM on Dec. 23, 24 and 25 and drained my entire checking account.
How did this happen? I have my ATM card with me. I've haven't set foot in Washington for months. How did this not set off red flags?
One possibility: My mail stacked up and someone noticed I wasn't around. I think sometimes it takes a while for a forwarding address to kick in.
The bank says I'll be fully reimbursed, but I'm so upset. I was robbed. Not at knifepoint or with a gun, but I feel sick that someone used my hard earned cash to go on a spending spree.
The Federal Trade Commission's advice on identity theft is this slogan: "Deter. Detect. Defend." The FTC provides guidance on its website. The US Department of Justice even has a quiz to help you gauge your identity theft I.Q. The Better Business Bureau has a number of resources on its website.
Still, there's no shaking the sense of invasion and violation that comes with this crime. Stay safe. And alert the University City Police if you believe you're a victim.