Debit Card Fraud and Jenga Blocks
Updated: Apr 2
Two nights ago, my debit card was declined at a pizza place. Confused, I frantically checked my bank account and realized that someone, who definitely wasn't me, had made a recent purchase in New York. Flustered, I called my bank and told them about my situation. The very nice woman calmly responded, "Yes, you are experiencing card fraud. We shut down your card hours ago."
Which is all fine and dandy, since they're doing their jobs and all - but I obviously had no idea. My debit card was closed at 4:23 that morning, and I was huddled in a dark parking lot just past 6:00pm trying to figure it all out. I was told that I could pull out cash at a bank location with an ID and that a new card and paperwork would come to me within five to seven business days.
Furthermore, the fraudulent charge was $100 at a New York Walgreens. I couldn't think of a more lame place to spend stolen money. So, whoever did this, I expected better from you. Their next stop was a hotel, but the card was closed by then. My criminals went wild at a pharmacy and then tried to sneak into a hotel with their spoils.
I got off the phone and my boyfriend gave me a hug. "You did a good job. You asked all the right questions." I laughed. For my job, I regularly write press releases, tip pieces, and give presentations on how to protect your personal information. I know many of the ins and outs of card and ID fraud. I am very careful and don't even know how this could have happened. The last place I used my card before it was hijacked was McDonald's. And if McDonald's betrayed me - well, we have bigger problems.
"Thank you." I responded, truly glad that I didn't sound like a nut-job while talking to the bank people. I wasn't as upset or as frazzled as I could have been. I would get the money refunded, and they were launching an investigation (which sounded exciting, honestly). Mostly, it reminded me of a similar conversation I had about six years ago.
It was around the holidays, and I was driving a friend to Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo. I was 18 at the time, meaning I had my license for two years. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of meeting our friends for some LED light-and-animal fun, or the nervousness I always experience when driving, but I didn't turn my headlights on all the way. It was pretty dark, and I only had my fog lights on.
About a minute from my house, I was pulled over by a police officer. He asked for my license and registration and if I knew why I had been pulled over. "Was I speeding?" I asked, with probably the same tone of voice Bambi would use if he was able to drive a car, speak like a human, and had been pulled over for the first time. "No," he responded. "Your lights aren't on." I was instantly embarrassed, apologized, and turned on the headlights. I was lucky to only get off with a warning, and started to drive away. "Wow, you handled that really well," my friend said. "I thought you would be really nervous or upset but you weren't!"
I think about that moment often, or rather, when something "big" happens. I am anxious and easily put on edge - this is no surprise to anyone who knows me or has read other posts. But it seems to me, that it is always the little things that get to me the most. Everyone says not to sweat the little stuff, but despite my best efforts, the little stuff is what makes me perspire the most. Whenever something actually nerve-wracking happens, I thankfully tend to handle it like a normal person.
Perhaps each little thing prepares me for the next big thing. They are all practice runs, and by the time I really experience something bad, I'm ready. Or maybe my paranoid nature and overthinking readies me for these situations, since I've played out worst case scenarios in my head over and over. I expect the big things, but the little things, like dropping a spoonful of tomato soup on a white shirt or a friend making a small, snide comment send me reeling. Those always catch me by surprise.
It's like each small thing is a Jenga block being removed from the tower. Every time a piece is gone, I'm filled with panic and holding the moment in sweaty palms, unsure of what to do next. Other blocks keep getting pulled out, while the tension heightens, then suddenly, it all falls (symbolizing the big thing). But by that point, I laugh and say "Well, we knew this was going to happen. It's why we play."
My brain isn't too heavily staffed in the "not caring" department, but that is because I do care - about a lot. Training myself to let the little things go is a constant work and progress. But if the tower is going to eventually fall, we might as well have fun and let loose along the way. C'est la vie, right? Such is life. Ask yourself, more like remind yourself, what truly matters. You don't deserve to waste energy. At times, we only have so much of it.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Go crazy spending money at a Walgreens or something. And don't be afraid when your Jenga tower falls. We can always build it back up again.