Funny the World...


March 25, 2000

Yesterday I commented on the generosity of people, in donating $10,000 to Ned's Shoes for the Homeless drive in only four days. Today I want to talk about the darker side of humanity.

Walt received a communication from Preview Travel yesterday. It was a receipt for his purchase of a $900 ticket to fly to Tennessee on March 19. The only problem was that Walt hadn't bought it. It was purchased in the name of Cary Walker, someone we don't know, and the trip had obviously been completed already, so this was just informing us that the charge had been made to our account.

I called Preview Travel and gave them all the information, and then Walt called Visa today. On the way to San Francisco last night, we heard of two teen age hackers in (Holland?) who had cracked popular web sites and posted personal information on people on the Internet. I can only assume that Walt's name was among them. I thought originally the "crack" had come from one of my purchases, but then realized that all of my on-line purchases on that account would have my name on them, not Walt's. But they had the credit card number and our address right. By the time Walt called to report the charge to Visa, there had been over $5,000 in charges made, including a $3,000 Sprint bill and a utilities bill (surely this will help in tracing the thief!). Anyway, Visa has now reversed all charges and cancelled our card, but we feel so violated!

And then I started to think about something else weird that happened last week. For two days we did not get our mail. I finally went down to the post office and learned that a vacation hold had been put on our mail on March 13. They showed us the card. It was supposedly signed by Walt (tho it bore no resemblance to his signature) and had been mailed from Oakland. Putting 2 and 2 together, I now wonder if perhaps Cary Walker sent the vacation hold on the mail to prevent us from receiving anything from Preview Travel in time to stop the trip from happening.

Anyway, the upshot of this upsetting deal is that we have changed our credit cards and probably will no longer be making on-line purchases, which is very disappointing, given the ease of buying plane tickets on the Web (though probably good, given the facility of "one click" purchases at!)

On the positive side of the day, though, I had a nice ride with Priscilla in the morning, as I took her to the clinic again, and then I spent the afternoon with Art, my "one to one" assignment. I am part of Breaking Barriers' One-to-One program, which means I was assigned to one of the clients as an emotional support person. We get together once a week just to talk about his life, how he's doing, his frustrations, his concerns, etc. We've been visiting the coffee houses of the greater Sacramento area and usually spend about four hours together, which we've been doing since about October. I enjoy his company and I think it is helpful for him to have someplace to let off steam now and then.

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created 3/25/00 by Bev Sykes