Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Identity Theft

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog – life has simply been overwhelmingly busy of late. In May, I completed my MFA in Writing and had the great honor of addressing my fellow graduates and the assembled guests at graduation. The following day, I enjoyed the privilege of giving a public reading from my recently published chapbook, Meeting Dad: A Memoir (Accents Publishing, 2010), at the Morris Bookshop in Lexington, Kentucky. (By the way, if you find yourself in Lexington, pay a visit to this terrific independent bookstore! They are great and friendly and knowledgeable and everything you want in a bookstore experience.)

Earlier this month, I started teaching at DeVry University here in Chicago. I am teaching English 112 (Essay Writing) to 29 high school students who are part of a wildly innovative program called the DeVry University Achievement Academy, whereby the students complete their high school education and earn an Associates Degree at the same time. I’m also teaching HUMN 303 (Introduction to the Humanities) to juniors in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree. Seven credit hours over an eight-week summer session is a pretty heavy load, but I am, by and large, loving it! It is a privilege to teach, and an awesome responsibility. (By the way, I don’t use the word “awesome” very often, but in this case, it is the exact, right word.)

So, why is the title of this posting “Identity Theft?”

I learned earlier today that my debit card number has somehow been compromised. I don’t know whether it was due to some store losing data that a thief got a hold of or whether someone transcribed the numbers while they had my card in order to process a transaction. My debit card is in the right front pocket of my pants at all times, except when it is on my desk when I go to sleep at night. But, I learned today that someone – some thief – made an innocuous charge of $2.49 to some company in Kansas and a very much less-than-innocuous charge of $1,675 to a jewelry store in Los Angeles today! The debit card has been cancelled, a new one ordered, and a fraud claim will be filed within the next day or so.

How the thief or thieves secured my debit card number is a mystery. The good news is that my bank has assured me that once I’ve filed a fraud affidavit, my money will be returned to me – along with any bank fees that might be assessed while this whole issue is working itself out. The bad news is that it’s going to take me a few days to clear up this whole mess, and that during that time, I will have no access to a pretty significant amount of money.

Ah well… these things happen. I’m not going to let it ruin my day or week. I have classes to teach, papers to grade, and an upcoming birthday for my wife to prepare for. I guess I wanted to share this with you simply to say, be cautious. Be careful. Shred anything that might have account numbers on it. And, most importantly, be well.