Your mouth is writing checks the bank won't accept – Got the Jimmy Legs

Your mouth is writing checks the bank won't accept

A couple of months ago, somebody stole my credit card info and charged a bunch of stuff with it. It was only because I obsessively check my online statement that I noticed it, and at first it didn't even register. This was about the time we booked our tickets to lovely sunny Cleveland, and I noticed there were charges that looked like airfare; at first I didn't think anything of it. But then I saw there were 3 charges, not two. Plus, each was for in excess of $500, way more than one should spend to go to The Heart of It All. There was also a charge for some stupid VoIP company, but that $20 charge paled in comparison. I canceled the card and was refunded the fraudulent charges.

Now, this is what irks me: a few weeks before this happened, my creidt card company had shut my card down; it discovered suspicious charges and stopped my account from working pending my approval. What sort of charges tip off the credit industry? For me it was Century 21, Netflix and cat food … stuff I buy all the time. So I buy some stuff form stores I have bought from for many years, alarms go off and the security details suspends my account until I call into their lame automated call center. I verbally approve every charge and my account is back.

Cut to a month later: I notice airfare charges (from a company based in ROME, no less) and now it's up to me to convince them I didn't make these charges. What, are hackers so talented nowadays they can make stolen work seem more legit than the real stuff? Anyway, I will say the credit card company was rapidly compliant, closing the account and getting me a new card quickly. Among other things, we went out to Ikea with the new card and spent tons of dough on some new furniture and other crap we may regret in a couple of months. Then I tried to buy something with the card and it says it's not working again. Here we go again …

I call in to find out what's up and they lame automated system tells me they have reason to believe (again) that fraudulent activity has taken place. They recite the list of suspicious charges, all legitimate, all mine, all for companies I buy stuff from all the time. But in all of this, they didn't mention the Ikea purchase at all; I asked about it and they said it wasn't suspicious. So my 20-dollar charge to a pet supply company I buy from almost every other month is more suspect that the enormous purchase from Ikea, from whom I've never bought from before? I just don't get it.

Anyway, it's all settled now at least and as far as I can tell, my account is safe for now. But one ironic outcome: I checked with the VoIP company to find out who used my card and they gave me the email address associated with the charge. It was my email with my first and last name reversed. Clever! So I emailed it:

From: jimmylegs
To: legsjimmy
Subject: having a good time

hey
are you using my credit card?

I didn't expect a reply, but the other day I got one:

From: legsjimmy
To: jimmylegs
Subject: RE:having a good time

yes. i have ur info when i hacked one shop. im sorry

I wanted to find out how he got it, so I wrote

From: jimmylegs
To: legsjimmy
Subject: RE:having a good time

ha! wow i didn't expect a reply. can you tell me what shop you hacked? i'm trying to figure out where it got out.

From: legsjimmy
To: jimmylegs
Subject: RE:having a good time

becos im úing thí mail for búyome thing 😀 that reply u man hehe i dont remember shop was hacked i have many many

I'm not sure why his spelling got so bad at the end there, but it momentarily spooked me that he still uses the email address to buy stuff. But he doesn't have my card info any more, and as his email is a gmail account, there doesn't seem to be anything to do about it. It feels like that episode of Seinfeld when Jerry's car gets stolen and he calls the thief on the car phone:


JERRY: can I have it back?

CAR THIEF: Mmmm, nah, I'm gonna keep it.