Calling Out Sophia
By Nicole Freire
My blood pressure has been high lately. So high, in fact, that yesterday I made the grievous error of googling "sudden high blood pressure". Could it be a stroke? A brain bleed? Kidney failure? Liver failure?
How about my giant banking conglomerate calling to say that someone named Sophia Diaz tried to charge $844 worth of god knows what at the Target in Woodland Hills WITH MY DEBIT CARD????
Yes, that is what making my blood pressure spike a bit. Especially considering that my debit card is still in my wallet. So, I've been "skimmed". That's computer-ese for "some criminal swiped your debit card information".
Do they know where? No. Do they know when? No. But I'm grateful for my giant banking conglomerate and their computer software programs and their obsessive need to track my spending habits. Because what they could tell me was that the transaction was flagged and then blocked -- not because it was out of town, not because I've never shopped in Woodland Hills, and not because I've never shopped at Target -- but because I've never spent that much money at ONE TIME.
So I'm grateful but also a little embarrassed? Weird. My giant banking conglomerate cares about me. Little old me. Little old me with not that much to spend. Not even at Target.
And I'm really angry that my information was skimmed and that someone would try to take my money without my permission. After all, if I want someone to take my money, I usually require some food in exchange.
So now I'm paranoid and knee-deep in paperwork as I try to make my way through this mess. The shredder has been working overtime, I'm making ever longer lists of who has my financial information, and I'm absolutely freaking out. All-in-uppercase freaking out.
Sophia! What were you thinking? Stealing is bad, remember? Skimming is bad! Spending too much money -- especially money that does not belong to you? Bad, bad, bad. Were you led astray? Did I leave a receipt behind somewhere? Was it the sketchy gas station? The grocery store? Netflix? Tell me Sophia, because my giant banking conglomerate cannot.
I know that there are a myriad of risks that I assume by using debit cards, credit cards, Paypal, and a dozen other mysterious digital ways of moving my imaginary money (or lack thereof) around. I accept that risk. But I cannot accept Sophia Diaz trying to take me for $844 at Target.
Bad thief, bad!
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.