Monday, January 21, 2013

Electronic Nightmare?

I’m in San Diego for the day as we go visit Julie and Jon’s 95-year-old aunt. I go to fill the van with gas being the thoughtful husband. I put my debit card into the machine and it says go see the cashier. I am quick to slam the system and go in and give the individual my card and the exact same thing happens. I’m thinking to myself what is going on? How can my card not work? I know that there is money in the account and no reason for it not to work. What in the world is going down?

I can remember almost 20 years ago having an experience where my card had been hacked and I realized it as I got cash out and the balance was close to zero and I should have had $2k in it. This was before online backing existed and I quickly called the hotline and got a real person who helped me track my last 10 transactions and realized someone had hacked my account and was using it to pay their cell phone bills that were over $400 and then they had pizza delivered to their house numerous times. It took like 10 minutes to get the account closed, get a new card on its way and then file a complaint against the individual who had done this terrible deed against me.

This time it wasn’t as drastic but almost humorous. I had received a new card in the mail and had assumed it was for a different account because of the expiration info. I had shredded up the old card and assumed this was what I needed to do. Unfortunately I shredded the wrong card but the reality was that it didn’t matter because the card I typically use was the new card I just didn’t know it. I consider myself high tech savvy but realized that I totally misunderstood why the card had been sent. My normal card for the aaccount had been compromised and had been closed.

I laughed at myself, which I don’t do very often and realized as I’m talking to this customer service person that I had been brain dead when I opened up this envelope and didn’t put two and two together. The good news is that the card that I had ripped up I don’t use very often. I quickly tested the card and discovered that the customer service rep was correct and that I was delirious from having the flu.

I love being able to buy stuff online and manage my accounts from my iPhone or iPad but have to confess that I live in an electronic world that could have issues. So if I don’t have real cash on me and my account happens to get closed I’m in the dog house. I don’t carry lots of cash on me intentionally. So I realized too often that identity theft could happen to me. My life could be compromised too easily by having someone just walk by me when I’m in line at a store, ATM or Starbucks.

As we visit Aunt Betty who has been part of our lives over the last 25 years I know she wouldn’t have a clue about electronic anything. The world has definitely changed but not necessarily for the better. I have to confess that it is too easy to text or e-mail instead of calling or even better talk with someone face to face. I know that Skype or Face Time make it easy to talk via video to anyone in the world but I know that this isn’t the same as being able to touch someone.

Yes, I’m thankful that my Bennett fortunate wasn’t compromised and we can continue on our adventure through L.A. to personally connect with Grandma Mary and Aunt Betty today. I know they will enjoy our real time visit instead of having cousin Conn just Skype them with us. 

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