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Although I write fiction, I have to say reality can sometimes be more incredible than angels and demons and other supernatural creatures found in my books.
It all started with a strange transaction on my Paypal account. $34.00 were taken out to an unfamiliar bank, then placed back into my account. Weird, but no harm done. Probably a mistake from Paypal. Still, I messaged Paypal on the site to contest the transaction.
Two days later, I jumped as I noticed a large balance in my checking account. Someone was moving money around, transferring all my savings into my checking, including a very large cash advance from my credit card.
I took out my phone to call the bank, only to discover that my phone refused to let me dial out. PANIC!
Then, large cash withdrawals were happening on my retirement account. WHAT? Unable to call, I sent an online message to contest the transactions, but got a message back that they were busy and to expect delays.
The next day, all my IRA rollover shares had been sold and the entire balance in my account was on its way out to an unknown bank account, being processed. Still no phone, and no one to talk to, except sending a message on the site.
Of course, it was the weekend. On Monday, I went to my bank and spoke to a fraud agent. Someone had also requested a personal loan in my name. My bank filed a claim and froze all my accounts and opened new ones. Told me to file a police report and change all my passwords.
I had my phone checked. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, but it wouldn't dial out. Stranger and stranger. They replaced the Sim card. Now it works fine.
I called my retirement account firm, and they stopped the cash transfer and locked my account... just in the nick of time. They gave me a list of places to go and people to call, including IDtheft.gov, and the credit bureaus, etc. They also asked me to have my laptop and my phone cleaned, which I did. I learned that my phone was probably hacked first, to prevent me from reporting the fraud in time.
The worse was averted. I could sleep again. But now wherever I go online, I have to deal with proving my identity as without all the cookies my familiar sites do not recognize me. I have to reset all my bill payments, all my automatic deposits and more...
It has been a maddening two weeks, and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was fortunate. My bank was curious on how I spotted the fraud so quickly. I check the balance on all my bank accounts online every morning, as part of my daily routine. Had I not done that, I would be on the street today.
Now I can start writing again, with a clean computer and a clear mind. I'm working on the next book in the BLUE PHANTOM series, to be released next year. In the meantime, you can read the two first books: