Saturday, July 21, 2012

The New York Police Department does not care about me. And that hurts my feelings.

This is the story of my identity getting stolen. However, in my eyes, it wasn't so much an Identity Theft as it was someone writing down my credit card number and using it in another state. But we shall get to that soon enough.

On Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 I ate at Dallas BBQ on 72nd St NYC. My waitress was Eva P. I am in no way saying Eva P was the person who did this. I am just stating facts, as I know them. I mention this restaurant because it was the only place within a month that I gave someone my debit card, and it left my sight. It is quite possible I walked by someone who had a skimmer that read the strip on my card.

On Friday, June 8th at 7:40 pm I received a call from Capital One Fraud Alerts. They had some questions for me. I was at the mic so I had my ringer off. When I got home, around 8:45 I noticed the message and called them back. They wanted to know if I had made purchases of $95.56, $427.30, and I forget the other amount in Teaneck, New Jersey. I laughed, because I thought it was some kind of joke and replied, "No, I've never even heard of it". It turns out, someone had. Someone that had made a dummy of my card and was going on a shopping spree in Walgreen's in Teaneck on my dime.

Capital One said they would block all further charges, and I would receive all of the money back into my account that was stolen. However, I still felt violated. The first thing I did was call the Walgreen's where it was used. Since it had been within 2 hours, the staff still remembered the woman. Better yet, they had her on video on multiple cameras. I was excited because I knew that this would make it a lot easier on the cops. Better yet, they could burn a dvd of the footage for the cops to pick up.

After leaving the Walgreen's, this woman had went to Rite-Aide. Again, they had her on multiple cameras. I was excited. This woman would be caught!

I called the local NYPD Precinct (Precinct 50) and told them what happened and that I wanted to file a report. They told me that they could not take the report because my card was used in New Jersey. They told me to call the Police where it happened. So I called the Teaneck Police Department. They told me that they could not help me because the original crime was stealing my debit card number, and that happened in New York. Therefore, it was an NYPD problem. I went back and forth between the two for several phone calls. Finally, I called someone at the NYPD that said they could file it as a identity theft and to come in on Saturday between 8am and noon.

I came in at 11, waited until noon, only to be told that they could not file a report without something from the bank saying that I had been robbed. The cops said it would have to be something showing the amounts had cleared, and not pending. When I went to Capital One, they said I would have to wait until Tuesday to get that print out because the amounts would clear on Monday night.

Tuesday morning, I went to Capital One to get the print out. Unfortunately they were TOO quick in putting the money back into my account, (they had cancelled all of the holds) so I went to the police department and again tried to file my report. This time things went rather smooth. I had to wait an hour or so to be seen, but it wasn't too bad. I had gotten all of the information together for the police department. I had the woman's description, I had what times she was at which locations. I had already asked the Walgreen's to make a video. I had everything done for them. I even had the head Detective at Teaneck say that he would get the DVD to them.

The next day, Wednesday, a woman from the Police Department called me. She needed me to fill out one more sheet of paper. I went there immediately, filled it out, and was told that the detectives would call me when they had the video so that I could see the person who used my card. I waited a couple of weeks and did not hear anything.

Therefore I called the 50th precinct and asked what the deal was with my case. I was informed that no one had taken my case and no one would be taking my case because it was a misdemeanor, and it wasn't worth their time to go across state lines for a misdemeanor. I asked if the guy was kidding, and he said no. And, that if I had any issues with it, he could give me a phone number to call and complain.

I knew that would do no good. So long story short: if you need extra money, steal people's credit card information here in NYC, and then drive over to Jersey to use it. The Police will NOT do anything about it as long as the amount is low enough that it is a misdemeanor and not a felony. This hurt my feelings a lot. When I lived in Greenville, and got my apartment robbed, they did nothing about it. When I lived in Greenville, and someone stole $200 in gift certificates out of my mailbox; Greenville Police did nothing about it. In that case, I also had the person on video at both Target, and Food Lion (where the cards were used). So, if I have learned anything, it is that you do NOT have to be a genius to make a living as a criminal. You just have to make sure that you only steal up to the amount that keeps it a misdemeanor. It is not worth the cop's time to investigate anything that is not a felony. Part of me understands. Cops should be investigating murders, and other dangerous crimes. But the other part of me says I am NOT the only person that this person stole from. And I am sure if they add up all of the people together that the woman has used their cards (She used 6 at the Walgreen's that night for her $1,000 purchase) then I'm sure it would become a felony rather quickly. However, it is much easier for the Police to not do anything, than to do something.

In conclusion, I now have Lifelock to keep anyone from opening new credit in my name without me knowing. It sucks having to pay an extra fee each month, but it is comforting knowing that if anyone uses my Social Security number on anything, I will get a phone call.