Thursday, October 25, 2007

Contemporary Criminal Activity

A few weeks ago, my friend JBar thought she had been the victim of the stupidest thief on the planet. Someone had apparently stolen her credit card number online, but all the stuff they had ordered with it had ended up at her house. The connection was made when she started receiving a bunch of random shipments, including a package of "colon flow" supplements, a bunch of Disney DVDs and nine bottles of wine. She was annoyed because she had to deal with getting all the charges reversed (fortunately, she didn't have to actually pay anything -- go AmEx), but we had a laugh about our incompetent constipated and alcoholic pedophile.

My brain clicked briefly with the memory that both the SOOTTAD and I had recently had our credit card numbers changed out from under us because Citibank had apparently discovered that some retailer had had their records compromised. Yeah, changing all my automatic bill-pays was fun. Anyway, I guess I figured it was going around, but other than that I didn't think much else about it.

And then the SOOTTAD got an unsolicited order of multivitamins. No idea where that came from, but she didn't have any time to deal with it, so it sat in her office for several days. And then while she was away on business earlier this week, another package of vitamins showed up. And a book order from Scholastic -- apparently she was added to some Scholastic book club.

So it looks like it wasn't an isolated incident of incompetent crime.

The SOOTTAD spent most of the morning talking to customer service representatives (arguing with some that were exceedingly more incompetent than others), calling up retailers, having charges reversed, dealing with shipping packages. In the process, she even discovered that someone apparently even created a fake gmail account with the standard FirstnameLastnameNumber@gmail format.

Just some annoying, juvenile hackers who are having a laugh? Or maybe they're manipulating the market by increasing sales of particular targeted businesses. (Or driving them to ruin by tying up their customer service or eating the costs of return shipments.) Or maybe it's just theh trial run of some more systemic attack... on the nation at large! Terr'ists!


Seems like some crazy movie plot: an underworld organization plotting to undermine the American Way of Life(tm) by disrupting our system of commerce.

But, of course, I'm only kidding. Well, half-kidding.

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