Yeah, you read that right. I had my identity stolen last month. The crooks got a credit card from Walmart and also opened up a postal box in my name in Montreal.
Of course it was in Montreal. It’s Canada’s sexiest city.
Anyway, this is what I learned:
Get a good book.
You’re gonna be waiting. Sometimes you might be able to work, and that’s great, but scrolling and tweeting and texting will not reduce your misery. Read something with pages. You’ll take your mind elsewhere and perhaps even act like a decent human as you go through this.
Working at a call centre does not seem like a great time. It’s made worse by angry callers. I know… the call centre people mumble or speak quickly or inaudibly. Sometimes English is not their first language.
If I couldn’t understand the person I learned to say,
“Could you speak slower, please? I’m feeling very overwhelmed.”
Boom. They’re on your side.
Take good notes.
Your mind will turn to mush. My excitement of role-playing Nancy Drew ended on day two when I was on hold for over an hour with a credit bureau that I will not name called Equifax.
All heroes do not wear capes.
There is a woman in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario who works in the Philatelics branch of Canada Post.
”Nothing happens in Sturgeon Falls, honey. There’s three traffic lights and not much else.”
She remains among the sacred few who truly helped me and did not try to pass me off. In particular, she tracked down pertinent information about my identity thieves’ post office box. She escalated the matter with Canada Post and notified the RCMP.
I told her she could be a private detective.
“Who would sell the six thousand dollar coins to collectors?”
“You could keep the Canada Post job as your cover.”
I want to send her a Christmas card for the rest of my life.
This stinks, but there are worse things.
After losing both my parents to cancer, then experiencing the pandemic, then going through child birth and then struggling with postpartum depression, this has been paperwork. No one is in danger. No one is hurt or sick. Someone stole $3000 from WalMart, made a temporary mess of my credit history and I finished reading a book in a waiting room.
My family is ok. I’m ok.
Thank you to everyone who has subscribed for the first time or renewed your subscription!! The last month has had annoying moments, but y’all have made me feel very good about writing. And I’ve been at it a lot this year. CBC asked me to write an opinion piece about changing my name when I got married. You can read that HERE. I contributed to a collection about musicians’ first guitars. (When I have more info on that, I’ll share it.) I wrote a couple successful grant applications and, of course, have been keeping up with my commitment to you. If you’re not already a paid subscriber, give it a go.
What was the book?
Hi, sorry to hear about your identity theft situation. As a retired fraud investigator who specialized in identity theft, clearing up this mess is difficult, and I’m sorry to say, some related issues will likely still linger. Keep everything documented for the next few years. Has anyone attempted to determine the point of theft or compromise yet?
Just thought I’d also mention that some credit card companies and some home insurance companies (like Cooperators) automatically provide some coverage for some of the financial costs and loses you may have encountered. It may be worth reading their policies.
I’m sure you have already reported this incident to the Canadian anti-fraud centre, but if not, please contact them and visit their website for some additional tips.
In concluding, my experience shows a great number of these fraudsters do live in my favourite Canadian city, being Montreal. Unfortunately, this was not at all surprising to me.
Good luck with this matter.