Friday, June 04, 2004

i've been had...

you know.. i consider myself to be pretty street smart. there's no doubt in my mind about that. but at the same token i can also be a little too trusting of people that i don't know. it's the part of me that seeks out the goodness in people no matter what... my own private naivete, if you will.

last weekend was the most hectic weekend of my entire adult life as far as i can possibly remember. as you know, it was the weekend of the big move. while i never really got into the details of the move here in blogland, i guess i'll spill the beans now and say that c and i have moved separately. it was a mutual, mature and logical decision that we both made and while i will miss her sorely, it's probably for the best for both of us. i sincerely hope that the friendship we've maintained this past week will continue forever.

that said, allow me to indulge you in a story which outlines a part of why the weekend was so hectic.

having stood in line for, i kid you not, an hour and a half for the u-haul truck on what appeared to be the busiest moving day of the year, we finally loaded up all of c's stuff and headed to her new apartment. it was just the two of us moving her stuff and it took us about an hour and a half to load and unload. hard work indeed. just as we were finishing up, this guy rolled up in a car that looked like one of those white chevy caprice undercover cop cars. he was a white guy, in his early 40's and pretty much looked like your average construction worker/handyman. as we got out the last load of boxes, he asked c and i if we needed any help. we told him that we were pretty much done, but that i had another move (my stuff) later that afternoon which might require an extra hand (since one of my male friends wasn't sure if he could make it). he offered to help load and unload for $40 which was a steal in my opinion [missed clue #1]. so i gave him my name and cell phone number and asked him to call me at around 2:30 and i'd give him directions to my house.

so mover guy called and showed up on time, and helped load among other things, a pretty heavy queen sleeper sofa. that was my main concern, really because that thing is heavy as shit. so anyway, there's 2 guy friends, myself, c and 2 girl friends and mover guy. i never knew how much shit i'd accumulated until we started loading! we loaded up the truck and headed out to the new pad which is just about 4 blocks away. when we got to the new pad, we found out that the elevator was out of service until after memorial day and that just put a huge damper on things!!! nonetheless, i was only on the 2nd floor, so it wasn't too bad. things were going pretty smoothly for a while there with everyone trying to carry as much as possible to avoid too many trips up and down the stairs. mover guy included.

and then my cell phone rang and the caller id said "restricted number". in my rush to get things doen, i didn't hesitate and answered the phone:

caller: hello, is this 773-###-####?
me: yes
caller: ma'am, my name is tom scott and i'm calling from verizon wireless. our records show that you have a past due bill in the amount of $45(and change).
me: ok.. (thinking that sounds about right..)
caller: ma'am, your account is currently 3 weeks late and we'll need to have you take care of this today or else we'll have to disconnect your service.
me: [flustered, shocked, confused] what??????????????
caller: [repeats above]
me: you're gonna cut me off for a 3 week late phone bill? you can't be serious! [missed clue #2]
caller: yes ma'am, if you want to avoid disconnection you'll have to make a payment over the phone right now.
me: ok, i'm smack dab in the middle of a move... can i call you back in 10 minutes?
caller: no ma'am, our offices are about to close for the holiday weekend. this is your last chance to avoid disconnection. [missed clue #3]
me: [flustered, confused, angry, irritated, annoyed as all get out and partially panicking at the thought of not having a phone at all since my land line wasn't due to be installed until june 2nd] ok, fine. what do you need

[i give my debit card number, etc]

caller: can you give me the last three digits on the signature panel on the back of your card?
me: hell no, i'm not giving you the last 3 digits!!!
caller: ma'am.. i won't be able to process your payment without it.
me: [thoroughly frustrated] ok, fine... [###]
caller: could you spell your name and address for me?
me: you're kidding right? you don't have that on your records?
caller: it's for verification purposes...
me: you want the spelling of my name for verification purposes? are you kidding me? what kind of business are running here?
caller: ma'am, please just spell your name
me: [frustrated out of my fucking mind, feeling rushed and confused and slightly disturbed by the phone call - missed clue #] fine.. it's _______
caller: and your address?
me: i don't have time for this shit right now.. verify it against your records dammit.. [click]

now, perhaps you're reading this and thinking.. that whole thing was damn shady. but when you're in the middle of the move and in a time crunch to return the u-haul and stressed the fuck out by the general tediousness of moving, it doesn't register that there might've been something wrong with that whole transaction. i was just focusing on the thought of not having any form of phone service for the entire weekend. but still, at the back of my mind i kept thinking something wasn't right.

moving on... about 15 minutes later we finished unloading and mover guy asked if he could leave so i paid him the $40 and he left. about 10 minutes later, we all headed back to my old place to grab the second load of stuff and on the way we drove through an alley, and i noticed that mover guy was parked in the alley and there was a someone in the car with him in the passenger seat. i immediately thought that was kind of odd, because i hadn't noticed him before.. so when i got back to my house i asked carlos if he noticed the other guy in the car, and he had. and then almost like magic a lightbulb went off and i turned around to face all my friends and said "i think i've been conned!".

to make an already long story short, as we all retraced the events of the afternoon, i realized that basically this mover guy had a partner who was waiting in the car all along, only no one ever noticed him. and while mover guy helped load boxes, he possibly found the one box that was open because i was just tossing miscellaneous crap into it as needed, and that one box probably had a few unopened bills in it. he probably took the verizon bill and quickly put it in his pocket and then when we drove over to the new place, he handed it to his buddy, who then perfectly timed the phone call to catch me off guard during the move and scam me for my credit card number.

thankfully i figured it all out in a short period of time and proceeded to cancel all my credit and debit cards just incase he got his hands on any other bills that might have been in that box. luckily he didn't have enough time to do anything before i cancelled all the cards, so no transactions went through. the next day i called the police to report it and they weren't much help because since no fraudulent transactions had been made, i technically wasn't a victim of fraud and had no way of proving who the caller was. nonetheless the were helpful in that the detective gave me the number to put a fraud alert on my credit information with all three major credit bureaus which i almost didn't think to do.

what a fucking retarded ass mess! i had no access to cash all weekend, but managed to borrow some money from a friend.

i never thought something like that would ever happen to me.

then again, isn't that what they all say?

luckily he wasn't successful at screwing me out of anything more than the $40 i paid him... but i definitely learned my lesson about being too trusting.