What a Long, Strange Week It's Been
The insanity started Monday morning when I received one of those automated phone calls from a pharmacy telling me that my prescription was ready.
Two problems. One - I didn't have any prescriptions that needed to be picked up. And two - the pharmacy calling me was in Columbus, Ohio. Two and a half hours away from where I live.
So, being somewhat concerned about this...I called the pharmacy and told them about the phone call I had received. And I also told them I was 100 percent sure there were no prescriptions for me in their system.
"Oh yes. There are. And it looks like you picked some up last week."
Um. NO I didn't. I haven't been to Columbus in several years. And I have no doctors in that city, so this is not possible.
And so began my several-day odyssey of thinking I was a victim of a stolen identity.
I did what any rational person would do when faced with the thought that someone out there was pretending to be them. I FREAKED THE HELL OUT.
The pharmacy clerk gave me a lot of information - who the prescribing doctor was, their phone number, and the fact that my name, address, phone number, and birth date appeared to be connected to all FIVE of the prescriptions in question.
Did I mention that I was FREAKING OUT?
So....I called my dad. Because that's who I call when the world seems to be going to shit. I call dad. Because he's always calm. It's sometimes VERY annoying how calm he is when I'm freaking out. He told me to call the police. Which I'm sure I thought of but hearing my DAD tell me to do it made it seem like the right thing to do.
I had also called the doctor's office in Columbus to alert them that there was a potential identity theft issue at hand. They were less than happy to hear my news.
The police were called. The dispatcher must have felt bad for me - since I was crying like a hysterical nut case on the phone - so she sent an officer to my house. He was very nice and pleasant and explained that the bad guys often stole people's identities in order to procure drugs to "cut" to make other drugs.
Having just watched the series finale of Breaking Bad the night before I said "So what you're telling me is that my life could be like an episode right out of Breaking Bad and we could be dealing with a Walter White kind of person?"
Um. Overly dramatic much?
The very nice and calm police officer said "thankfully reality is NEVER as bad as television..keep that in mind."
Which meant I could probably rule out zombies too.
The officer talked to the pharmacist and it was discovered that there were several insurance issues, in addition to the possible illegal prescriptions, and possible identity theft. This was all getting to be a bit much.
The officer took a lot of notes and wrote down some names, a few phone numbers, and the possible illicit insurance numbers and left, telling me he'd call me later with an update.
I spent all day Monday calling my bank, the BMV, my insurance company, and the Federal Trade Commission. I reported the possible theft of my identity to all those people - and a few more. The woman at the FTC was not happy nor was she very nice - but since the federal government shut down 12 hours later, I gave her a pass. I'm not expecting to hear from them for several weeks. If ever.
The doctor's office called me Monday night. They were not happy to hear about what might be happening and they promised to look into it and call me back. Oh and they also told me they had NO record of me in their database. Duh.
They didn't call back.
Tuesday. The police officer is off for the next two days AND his voice mail is FULL. The doctor's office won't return my calls.
Wednesday. I take matters into my own hands.
I called the pharmacy and asked for "the guy I had talked to on Monday...I think maybe his name was Robert or Richard."
"We have a Paul who works here."
Yeah. That's him. (Because you know, Paul sounds JUST LIKE Robert or Richard.)
Paul was very nice and explained that he had flagged my name and the other person's name (because he discovered there was ANOTHER PERSON in the system with the same birth date as me and our VERY similar names were connected in ONE account. WTH?)
I asked him to please UNCONNECT our names and make a note on my account that NO prescriptions should be filled in Columbus under my name. Like ever.
Today, the police officer called me and I told him the "two similar names, one birth date" news and he called the doctor's office. And they said "oh my good graciousness...we have someone in our database with the OTHER PERSON'S NAME (which is the same first name as me..and her last name is two letters different) AND she has the same birth date as me.
Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me.
Look. I'm not surprised that I share a birth date with someone else. I'm special, but I'm not "only person in the world with this birth date special." Seriously.
But what it looks like this comes down to is this - the pharmacy (which is part of a MAJOR grocery chain, I might add) caused this problem. Some genius typed in the other person's name as MY name and low and behold we had the same birthday so the system said "oh you MUST be the same person" so let's fill the prescriptions under MY name and not hers."
I have no idea how - in the name of ALL that is holy - this happened. How does a computer system do this? How do you take one person's name and mistake it for another person's name simply because the last names share a few letters and the birth dates are the same? I cannot understand this.
The pharmacist was befuddled and flagged my account again in their system making a note that NO prescriptions for the OTHER person are to be filled under MY name. I seriously hope that does the job.
As it is, the police officer says it appears that I am NOT thankfully the victim of identity theft. And that makes me very VERY happy.
Keep an eye on your stuff people. You never know when you'll get a weird phone call that causes you to think that someone out there is pretending to be you.
Monday morning update: Now I'm beginning to wonder what the HELL is going on. We just received a notification from our bank that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE used one of our credit cards and put $10,000 on it. That's right. TEN. THOUSAND DOLLARS in online purchases. So, the account is closed. And EVERY CREDIT CARD WE OWN IS FLAGGED. I swear on all that is HOLY....enough already universe. I'm over this.