Always tweaking something!

Losing my $^|#!

Day 1803

(Started this Wednesday? Added some Thursday, still want to get it posted before we head to Pa. for the weekend.  Might end a little abruptly . . .)

Got quite a shock yesterday.  Well, two actually.  Come to think of it, both shockers started a couple of weeks ago and only came to fruition yesterday.

For the last several weeks, I’d noticed a funny sensation while brushing the buccal side of teeth 18 – 20  (the outer side of my lower left teeth for those keeping score)  (Hey, when you’re helping your then future daughter-in-law study for tests, some of it rubs off.  I’m just sayin’.  I wouldn’t NORMALLY know this shit . . .)  (ANYHOW!!)

I switched over to Sensodyne for a while and it subsided.  Tuesday I went to the periodontist for my semi-annual deep cleaning and mentioned the sensation.  She poked around a bit, didn’t see much and passed it off as reaction from exposed root from a crown lengthening I had done a while back.  Then, as she was doing her thing around my very farthest back tooth, the crown back there just popped right out.  She didn’t even pull on it very hard.  I’m glad it happened there & she was able to catch it.  Can you imagine if I’d swallowed it?  Bye-bye crown, bye-bye $800 for a new one!!

She was able to re-cement the beastie in place with temporary goop, so I was good to go for a bit, but I needed to see my regular dentist and get it rectified.

The good news?  It was a 9 year old crown, no damage to either tooth or crown and Joe was able to permanently cement it back in place with no issues.

So that was shocker #1.  #2 came along at home last night.  I was being a good consumer and going through my bills, sorting them in preparation for going through the ritual of paying the little buggers.  Being the semi-anal techno geek that I am, I actually keep a spread sheet of all my bills, date paid, amount paid and balance as of the billing date shown on the statement.  I also use on-line banking to pay 99% of my bills, saving about $10 a month in postage.

I picked up my Amex statement, looked at the balance and figured that it was about $350 higher than I expected.  I started looking through the statement and didn’t recognize 6 of the 7 charges I saw.  $40 for gas at the station across the street from our tract July 9?  Yup, I did that.   iTunes for $1.07 on 7/19?  (I think this was a test run)  Not me.  BiBit Internet somethingorother for $35 on 7/19?  Carfax report for $43.59 also on 7/19?  Uhhhh, nope.  Some internet porn site for $29.99?  (Dudes getting ripped off man!) Again not me.  iTunes again for $107?  There was a 6th charge on the statement I don’t recall, and there was an additional one that didn’t make it in time for this billing statement for another $155 to iTunes.

You can bet your next mortgage payment I was on the phone to Amex in half a heartbeat.  The two people I talked to there were great.  The fraudulent charges were removed from my account, the card was shut off and a fraud report was initiated and added to their stack of eleventeen billion other fraud reports.

What gets me is that my card was in my wallet when I discovered all this.  The gas I bought on the 9th was the first time I’d used that card in well over a month.  I haven’t used it for on-line purchases since before Christmas, and I thought I stuck to reputable, secure sites (LLBean, Amazon, Cabelas – those kinds of places).

Jill mentioned that she’d heard of people taking pictures of people using their charge cards, trying to get account and vfn numbers.  I’ve chopped up my Amex card, but I seem to recall that the account number vfn numbers were on the same side (the face) of the card.  I suppose that someone with a decent camera could have been parked at the gas station taking pictures of people running their charge cards through the gas pump reader.  If you’re on the right side of the pump (or wrong side in this case), someone could park at the store front and shoot pictures of people sliding their cards into the reader.  In the unfortunate case of my Amex card, they’d also be able to get the sooper seekrit vfn number in the same shot.  Makes me want to dig through my trash and re-assemble my card and see where that pesky vfn number really is.

I guess the lesson here is anytime your card is out of your wallet, keep a finger over the account number, or keep the card facing down so opportunists can’t snatch a photo.  It just stinks that you have to be that vigilant about something.  How hard are people willing to work to cheat?  Fuckers.  At the very least, I’m going to contact some of these vendors and try to find out IP addresses (or even better MAC addresses) of the end users.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if any of the fraudulent purchases involved the perps mailing address for shipping any goods.  That would be too damn easy.  One can hope though.

Oh!  This weekend.  We didn’t realize how lucky we were in getting a motel room.  Looking at this map might clue some of you in:

We're just >< this close to the Pocono Raceway!!

We're just >< this close to the Pocono Raceway!!

That little “B” in the green circle is where we’ll be dropping our suitcase.  Up and to the right you see that reddish triangular area?  With the red dots? That’s in Long Pond Pa, home of the Pocono International Raceway.  Guess who’s there this weekend?  Did you guess everybody?  Yeah – race weekend in the Pocono’s.  We got very lucky landing a motel room only a mile from Cindy’s uncle, and a mere 16 miles from the track.

On our way home, we can pass by Watkins Glen, where everybody will be next weekend.  Might be fun to go some one of these years.  I guess the race at the Glen is very camping friendly.  Just you and 100,000 of your very best friends, all inside a 2.3 mile track.  Sounds like a riot, yes?

Last bit of news from Thursday.  Eric had his second interview with the sheriff’s office from a couple counties east of here.  He feels the interview went very well and they even told him the interview went very well.  Best part is that he’s going to be scheduled for a lie detector test then a drug test.  Neither will be an issue for him, so we all hope (think) that perhaps we have a sheriff’s trainee from the next class of the academy on our hands.  Next session starts Sept. 28.  We’re thinking things are looking pretty good.  Keep your fingers crossed for the guy, mmkay?

Gotta run . . .  Pennsylvania, here we come . . .  (sung to the tune of California, here I come . . .)

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2 responses

  1. bikinfool

    Oh shit! The satellite picture didn’t work so well, did it?

    July 31, 2009 at 6:45 am

  2. I don’t have a clue as to how the thieves get a hold of the digits, but AMEX has always been aces in dealing with any of it. I’ve had a couple of situations where they’ve been a little over-zealous! But better to error on the side of caution.

    You know you should go to the race, don’t you? Even if you don’t think you’ll like it? The spectacle alone is worth the cost of admission…..

    July 31, 2009 at 7:18 am

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