An Idiot Abroad: “Please Take My Money…And My Identity Too!”

Location: Pai, Thailand

Type of Idiocy: Naivety, Imprudence, “Mommy and Daddy always take care of this for me”

Consequences: Potential identity theft, credit card fraud, unknowingly indebted to her neighbour

Description: While staying in Pai, Thailand, Arienne and I were residing in a two-room bungalow that had very thin walls. At 8:30 in the evening, the ladies staying next door returned to their room on the other side of the wall and continued on with their conversation using their outdoor voices. Without even straining our ears one iota, Arienne and I could hear every single word exchanged between these two “charming” ladies. It would appear that the one girl had recently had her iPod stolen, and so after purchasing another she decided it would be very necessary to immediately go on a shopping spree using her credit card and her iTunes account. Unfortunately, something just didn’t work out and the purchases never went through. For this, she wanted answers! Her first call went to Apple.

Now, as I mentioned, Arienne and I were comfortably sitting in our bed, not straining ourselves in the least. By the end of the first phone call, with only the work of a pen on paper, I would have had this girl’s Apple account number, password, and her iPod serial number.

Shockingly! Apple could not explain why her credit card company refused payment for her iTunes purchases, so naturally the girl called her credit card company next.

After the second phone call, I would have had her credit card number, password, security question and answer, recent purchases, credit limit and balance.

To her, it was just so shocking that her credit card company would block purchases made outside of the U.S. After telling the company to unblock her card (because she was traveling), the girl then decided to call her bank and see if the transactions had gone through.

After the third phone call, I would have had her bank account number, password, security question and answer, list of recent transactions, and the current balance (should I need to limit my potential shopping spree). Of course, her full name was required at the beginning of each of these phone calls, which she clearly stated each time.

Humorously enough, to top it all off, after hanging up, the girl began lamenting about the poor existence of the representative at the call center. She felt sorry for how he had to deal with angry Americans all day, before she began a tirade of how stupid he was, pausing to form such eloquent titles for him as “chicken-d**ked-mother-f***er.”

Hearing this wonderful turn of phrase was simply too much me, and wanting to show how easy it was to hear everything, I incredulously repeated “chicken-d**ked-mother-f***er!?!?!” aloud to Arienne. However, the girl was already onto her next “insult-by-numbers” creation and couldn’t be bothered listening to anyone but herself.

I couldn’t agree more. What she had to say was definitely “money in the bank.”

Moral of the story: (sigh)… This should go without saying these days, but guard your personal information as you would your life! Credit card fraud and identity theft are rampant all around the world and you shouldn’t let your guard down on the road. Lucky for this girl, the worst thing I will do with her flippant disregard of her surroundings is write this post about her. But then again… I could really use a new iPhone.

  • Heather

    I could here her from my room too! I thought I was imagining the excessive swearing at first!

    • Tristan

       She had a real way with words. A wordsmith at work.