I Am Being Targeted.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Chuck Messer
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I Am Being Targeted.

Postby Chuck Messer » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:31 am

Well, it happened again. Once again, my bank card has been hacked. Once again, someone has charged less than $300.00 ($231) to my account. Once again to wallmart.com (I would never shop wallmart.com). Once again, my bank card will have to be shredded. It has to be the same slimy person.

Damn. I was just getting my finances stabilized. Someone keeps stealing from me, and I just can't shake them. Where is the gap that the leech keeps seeping through? The bank? Do I have a cyberstalker? I'm going to try a few things:

1. If I buy ANYTHING on line, it will be through Paypal. If the merchant doesn't do Paypal, then I won't buy from them.

2. Use cash or checks as much as possible out here in meatspace.

3. If the above doesn't work, I might have to switch banks. I like the one I'm with, but come on. Six times?

I feel like I've got a red laser dot on my forehead.

Chuck
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FinderDoug
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby FinderDoug » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:37 am

Some thoughts...

Assuming no one else is privy to the actual new card (and the number thereupon), the fact that it's happened six times, with an account at the same bank, suggests right up front that the bank MAY be the source of the problem. A couple of times is a possibility. SIX times smells funny. I'd seriously consider changing banks; as big a hassle as that can be, it's better than having to run this gauntlet repeatedly.

I'd also go back and develop a full list of everywhere the new number was used. If your number is repeatedly being stolen, and the common vector isn't on the bank side, there's bound to be a common factor in where you've used your account (once or twice could be a random hacker buying/obtaining a list; six times, each with new numbers, sounds like a snare - especially if they keep going to the same place to purchase things online).

Are you primarily purchasing online via a wireless router in the home, or use one in a regular location (such as a Starbucks, a Barnes & Noble, etc)? Not for nothing, it might be good to a) run a check for malware that may be trapping your personal data and sending it from the computer if you haven't done so already, and b) if you have a home router, change the password. You can't do much about external wireless spots and their security, except not conduct any business transactions when on their networks.

Is it possible to discover directly from WalMart.com to whom the $231 order was to be shipped? Or to insist with the bank's fraud unit that you want that information for the purposes of a civil suit? Either way, knowing the WHO may not help understand the WHY - but it can at least rule out anyone around you who's abusing your trust.

Odds are that the number was stolen/captured fairly close to the date the fraudulent purchase was made, since stolen numbers will have a limited shelf life - once a theft is discovered, the party's over, so the tendency is to use it as close to the time of capture as possible and then dump it. So timing of the fraud (this and previous) relative to other legitimate purchases you did make may indicate a pattern (i.e., each time I had a fraud, I bought something from widget.com a week before; or each time I had a fraud, I bought something while surfing the web at Pam's Tea Cozy.) because this has happened six times, you've got a good set of data to look at.

Don't know if any of this helps, but having been there myself, I thought I'd offer some grist.

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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby Moderator » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:11 am

I agree with Doug's sound advice: where are the online things being sent? They must have a delivery address, and oftentimes if you turn the bank onto the retailer they will cooperate to find the recipient. WalMart is unlikely to tell you where the items were being shipped (unless the criminal used your name for the purchase, at which point you're entitled to know) -- but if you file a police report and give that info to the bank for follow up, I'm sure WalMart will cooperate with the investigation.

But I agree with Doug -- the common thread seems to be the bank (assuming no one else has access to your system at home, which I am sure you've already made safe). I'd enlist their fraud control department's help, let them know you suspect the bank itself and they'll probably bend over backwards. Doug's suspicion of a hacker is a good one. Since you're inputting your digits into Paypal, a serious hacker can probably find them if they've got access to your computer.

You always start at the point of commonality, and once there you're likely looking at the proper suspect. The two points you have are the bank and your computer. Look for a third one (restaurant, gas station, etc). That may also be a security risk.
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Lori Koonce
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:29 pm

You may also want to invest in a personal shredder as well. That way no one can use documents to to get the information.

Sounds strange, but identity thieves have been known to go through things like trash.

And one more thing. Protect your credit score. Contact the big three reporting agencies and dispute these charges. This will keep them from being used against you in further attempts to get credit.

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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby David W. Pareis » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:04 pm

Chuck,
This might be of some assistance

http://corporate.walmart.com/privacy-se ... tity-theft
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Chuck Messer
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby Chuck Messer » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:48 pm

Hmm. Interesting. I would like to nail the leech who has been targeting me, assuming they're within the US. Who knows? Thanks!

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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FrankChurch
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:34 am

What would you do Chuck? Worried.

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FinderDoug
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby FinderDoug » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:02 am

Despite the desire to do so, I didn't hop in the car and drive to Maryland to take a baseball bat to the side of the head of the shitbag that bought a $3,000 plane ticket on Qatar Air with my credit card (even though the airline happily gave him up to me when I called them to inquire about the reservation, because I was calm and asked all the right questions.) He was discovered before he had the opportunity to travel; the fraud was reported and the charges refunded to me; the card was changed. If there's a failing in the system, it's that I have no idea if he was ever charged with identity theft, if anyone figured out how my card number was obtained, etc.

But believe me, the desire to reinforce to the fucker live and in person why stealing is wrong was there. But ultimately, that's why we have a legal system. Perhaps not as satisfying, but it'll keep ya honest all the way around.

Fraud units could do more to let the victim know about the resolution - if, one presumes, they were so inclined. For all I know, they have some kind of accounting scheme whereby they take the 'loss' as a write-off, and really have little to no interest in spending much larger amounts of money performing a true ad detailed investigation and prosecution through to trial. I'm reminded of "Valerie" - I wonder what the maximum loss is these days that the credit card company just shrugs over.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: I Am Being Targeted.

Postby Chuck Messer » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:44 pm

Relax Frank, I would love to see that person taken away in handcuffs. . .on Cops.

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you. . .

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.


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