I’ve just had one of those weeks, the kind that leave me too tired to process much of anything. While Zippy’s arrival was a bright spot, it can’t take away the shadows and dust devils of what I’m going through. In this post, I’m going to share what I’ve been going through so you can watch yourselves and pass the info to your friends.
Early in the week, I got three emails from a business in another country. The email address is one of my lesser used ones, usually used for seeking alternate employment or communicating with people in my new denominational pew. The final one scared me into hypervigilance. It claimed I had applied for a loan online and was denied.
I don’t like putting financial information online; I still cringe at paying bills over the internet every month. Second, I most certainly would not go for a usurious payday loan. When I called the recommended number, I got stuck in electronic dialing purgatory: I pushed the number, got a series of selections, pushed another number, and got the same series.
Getting panicked, I called my homeowner’s insurance. By the prodding of the still, small Voice, I remembered I had purchased some identity theft insurance. They took all the information, but thought it was nothing.
Next day, they called back. They opened a claim and referred me to third-party vendor A. I called third-party vendor A. They believed they could not help since I “caught it so early.” So I was referred to third-party vendor B.
Third-party vendor B gave me a list of things to do, including calling the branch of the credit provider in my country. I called; I had to call the branch in the country that denied the loan. I tried them. Their rep was courteous, but his lack of English language skills was stellar. In the end, I sent him copies of the emails. It didn’t feel good.
Later, I got a call back from their fraud audit group. It was a genuine email and the attempt was genuine. So I called vendor B back. Based on their rep’s suggestions, I have done the following:
- Placed a 90-day freeze on all credit requests at all three major reporting agencies
- Ordered annual reports from all three major reporting agencies
- Filed a report with the state police (may take some time to finalize the trooper’s report since there is the added complexity of jurisdiction with international entities)
Still to do
- Contact the five lesser known credit agencies to get reports and attempt to place a freeze
- Purchase a copy of the report from the regional barracks as opposed to the local barracks
- Make copies of police report and send a mountain of forms to all three major reporting agencies to request a seven-year freeze
But this doesn’t help me as a human being.
I’m still scared this will affect employment and insurance and credit for the rest of my life. The reality is that no one knows whose responsibility this will ultimately become. While I give kudos to my homeowners policy, I am getting frustrated by the responsibility hot potato that seems to be planned to continue until the cows come home.
I’m also frustrated with some of my friends and acquaintances. For whatever reason, they’re not passing the word of caution to others. I don’t know if this is like the Titanic: this is so unthinkable that no one want to admit the possibility and therefore there is no preparation for an emergency. Or maybe they found my mode of expression in another social media offensive and are focused on that instead of the hassle and hurdles others will have if this is just the beginning. Or maybe they don’t walk in my world so they can’t see the dangers inherent in this event or how the dangers could be perpetrated on those less stable or skilled at weathering a storm like this (not sure that I’m that skilled either…the physical toll is tremendous).
And I’m angry as a hornet. I work. I make a living honestly. I pay my bills and wrestle to live within my means. I earned that credit, every point and dollar. I am disgusted that someone is fraudulently trying to steal that from me, a complete stranger. I don’t care whether this is a random, pull-a-name-out-of-an-email-provider attack or whether I fit some kind of profile. Whoever did this sought to achieve dishonestly with little work or effort what I have earned honestly through the blessings of heaven over time. They also didn’t take my kids into consideration; my kids have needs that may last into adulthood. I will have to provide for those needs. This attempt affects my current and future ability to care for them. (Don’t worry; this immobility won’t last long.) Hell hath no fury like a mother with an issue affecting her kids.
What’s sad is that I’m not sure I’m ready to explore the spiritual elements of this situation.
Forgiveness is a requirement, and I know I have to get there before the sun goes down or I give the enemy a foothold (T minus five hours and winding down). The perpetrator doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter the reason. Before sundown, I have to choose on blind faith to forgive; right now, I don’t like that and I am not ready. And I will probably have to choose daily until the situation completely resolves itself.
Moreover, I now have a superb opportunity for spiritual growth. I’ve had so much growth lately I was getting ready to push away from the grace table for a bit, but more has just been dumped on my plate. So again, I profess Romans 5:1-5 (in Contemporary Jewish Version):
So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us CONTINUE to have shalom with God through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. Also through him and on the ground of our trust, we have gained access to this grace in which we stand; so let us boast about the hope of experiencing God’s glory. But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope; and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh who has been given to us.
I apologize if this has rambled or if I’ve come off too strong in my expressions. As I grow toward endurance and character and hope, my desire is that what you learn from this is the following:
- It can happen to anyone, including nobodies, freaks, geeks, and outsiders with limited means (although I do have to consider I am wealthy in comparison to third-world workers).
- There are options for help, but you may have to do a lot of legwork.
- You will survive somehow
- Don’t let the electronic bullies win. Roar to alert everyone when something goes wrong. If we roar together we eventually outshout the bullies.
*steps off the soap box and breaths*
*grabs a note card*
*with frustration and still wrestling the still, small Voice, writes the text of Luke 23:34a on a post card*
*burns the post card in hopes that the negative energy is released with the initial choice of obedience*