Now I understand why some folks still don’t want to buy anything off the internet.
After being victimized by identity thieves last year, I put fraud alerts on all of my credit cards and bank accounts.
I also signed up with Lifelock, the identity theft protection company that claims to be the leader in the industry, and got the identity theft protection offered by one of the credit reporting agencies as well.
If you’ve ever been victimized by identity theft, you understand why I doubled down: Trying to stop thieves BEFORE they strike is a big challenge.
Unfortunately, none of these safeguards helped me Saturday.
An hour after I used my debit card to pay to park at a parking-meter paybox, numerous charges showed up on my account.
Four separate transactions for Groupon Inc. showed up: $20, $23, $88 and $89. A final fraudulent debit for Old Navy USA, Grove City, OH for $113.61 apparently triggered an alert.
Fortunately, the bank was able to cancel the debit card immediately and reverse the charges. But that meant a weekend of not having access to cash or a debit card.
I have no idea how the thieves got a hold of my debit card number. I haven’t used my debit card to buy anything from Groupon, ever.
A spokesman for Groupon didn’t return my phone calls or respond to my email.
A skimmer on the parking meter? I don’t know. My call to Chicago Parking Meters wasn’t returned.
Now, some good news . . .
On another subject, I have some good news.
On Monday, Jennifer Maddox, the Chicago Police Officer/guardian angel of Parkway Gardens Homes, took a group of teens to Six Flags Great America.
Some of the teens had never been to the popular amusement park.
Because of your generosity, Maddox reached her goal of raising the money to take them there within a day or two after my column about her and the teens appeared.
“OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!” Maddox exclaimed in an email.
Maddox, who also is a CNN Hometown Hero, founded Future Ties, a not-for-profit after-school program and summer camp for teens in 2010, after noticing that there was absolutely nothing in the neighborhood for teens to do.
Instead of waiting for the church to do something or for government to do something, Maddox did something.
Maddox sent this heartfelt email late last week thanking you for the outpouring of support:
Dear Ms. Mitchell:
Thank you for forwarding the contact information of people that want to support Future Ties! I am truly grateful and just in awe to know that people (unknown) want to help!!! I’ve been doing this by myself for so long that it really feels good to know that others share in this journey to assist our young people, to keep them safe and to support them along the way.
We had an anonymous donor bring our two college students refrigerators, towels, sheets, irons, ironing boards, toilet paper and an alarm clock. The two ladies got a chance to meet him (73 years old) and thank him personally. We were all in tears!!! It makes me happy to see them happy! It makes me happy to see them not in fear!!! It makes me happy to know that angels near and far are blessing them.
Thank you, dear readers, for being those angels.