Saturday, February 19, 2005

Phishing Scam: I'm SOOOOOO Over It

In my last message, I mentioned that I was recently the victim of an online banking scam. It was a series of unfortunate coincidences and I was the one who got burned. But now that a few days have gone by, I can talk about it and see the lessons. Not all have to do with money and internet common sense.

I forgot the password to my online banking account so I requested a new password. The bank automatically sent me a new one via email. The next time I checked my email, there was another note from the bank saying due to your recent activity we need you to verify your info. The link took me to my bank’s website and asked for account info. It looked exactly like the bank’s website and the links took you to all the bank departments.

After hitting “submit” I thought to myself, Why did they need all that? But I was busy and just trying to get work done so I didn’t think too much about it. Two days later I received another email from my bank asking me to go to a link to confirm the same info I sent the other day. Not sure why, I called the bank only to be told that they never send emails like that and most likely it was a scam.


“Then what about the one I answered the other day?” I asked the customer service agent.
“Oh, just ignore those ma’am and delete them”, she replied.
“Wait, I don’t think you heard me. I filled one of those out!”
“Well, if you ever get one again, just delete it”.

I felt like she was trying to get me off the phone and wasn’t listening. I was starting to feel REALLY frustrated.

I continued to ask for help and finally she got the clue that I needed more than a scripted response. (I am so sick of these non-thinking replies and will have to write a long diatribe on that at another point in time)

We both pulled up my account info on the screen and I gasped. There were a series of transactions I didn’t make that not only drained my account, but left me with a $150 negative balance.

I freaked.

“My money! It’s gone! You gotta help me. I need my money back!”

The customer service person assured me that all would be well, that my money will be recovered, that I needn’t worry. (Oh yeah, well you act calm when you’ve just been cyber-mugged, I wanted to tell her). She instructed me to go to the nearest branch to take care of it and all would be resolved.

That’s not what I had planned for the day. Wednesdays are reserved for me to take my daughter to a playdate and I don’t have anyone to help me those days. Reluctantly, I carted little 2 year old off with me to the bank where I prayed that she’d be able to sit nicely while I had to fill out paper after paper and deal with this situation.

My little one did great, and the process didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I was able to vent to the Mom group later on about what happened and some people shared similar experiences they’d had. I even told my coaching circle about it that night and everyone was very supportive.

The next day, during my morning meditation time, a message flashed to me.
“Pray for the persons that did this. Pray for their healing. Whatever leads a person to make a living from illegal activity has a dysfunctional root somewhere. Pray for their healing.”

I suddenly felt release. I didn’t need to feel angry anymore, I didn’t need to stew. My money was being recovered, that was already in progress. My attitude was healing and I was learning from this experience.

I can’t even start to share the sense of peace I have now. I told my sister about it and she reminded me that you always need to pray for your enemies.

So yes, we need to be careful and not give out our personal info. Call the bank’s real phone number and go in person if you have to.

But if something does happen to you, holding onto the anger only hurts you. While I was angry I made lots of mistakes (like the teleforum post that follows this one will tell you). I lost attention to details and was distracted. The anger was eating at me. When I released it, everything neutralized. The criminal’s behavior no longer had power over me.

I came out a winner in this situation. My money is recovered, my serenity renewed and my common sense heightened. .

No comments: