Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Other Me

About eight years ago, at an open house weekend at Bluefield College, I ran into my doppelganger. This was a kid who was interested in coming to Bluefield. This was a kid who looked just like me. He even walked like me. It kind of freaked me out. I was afraid he would get accepted at Bluefield, show up the next semester, then try to replace me. But then I heard him speak, and I knew I had nothing to worry about. The voice was way off.

This morning I received an e-mail that appeared to be from my bank. I mean, it was very convincing. So convincing, in fact, I fell for it. In the e-mail, I was warned that someone had tried to access my account from a different computer and that I needed to sign on and verify my information or else my accounts would be closed. Now, looking back, I realize I should have rationally taken a look at what they were asking me to do and seen that it was a scam. But I was in panic mode. I thought someone was trying to steal my account information. So I bought into the "sign in and verify" thing. I clicked the link and input my information. I know, stupid right?

Luckily, my security software popped up and let me know that it was a phishing website. Unfortuneatly it was after I had gone through the first page. That means I had already given these people my account number, bank routing number, debit card number, social security number, name, address, phone number, etc. Pretty much all the important information that makes me me in the eyes of the federal government.

Hopefully I caught the problem immediately enough to put the kibosh on any damage that may have occurred had I continued with this little scheme. I called the real bank helpline and forwarded the e-mail to their fraud department. They said if my account is accessed, they can reimburse me for anything that's missing. My concern now is for my social security number. What if someone tries to apply for some sort of credit score altering thing and screws up my financial future? What if I can't get a mortgage in 5 years when I buy that house at the lake? What if they show up at my house (because they have my address) and try to steal some of my DNA so they can complete the cloning process?

Maybe I'm being paranoid. But if you happen to run into someone who looks like me but doesn't sound like me, it probably isn't me. If he seems just a little off, run far away. That means he's stolen my identity, he might try to steal yours. If that does happen, I'll be changing my name to Bruce Wayne. I'll spend years in training, then I'll come back and dispense my own brand of justice against all those identity stealers out there. Yeah, the delusions of grandeur are back.

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