Fraud problem fixed, but Instacart still sucks

My credit union, Fairwinds, did everything right, Instacart did nothing, except somehow allowed a scumbag to open a fake Instacart account with my banking information and name.

Well, I wasn’t waking up. I was trying to go to bed, and that’s pretty much what I screamed when I saw that 99 bucks was about to get sucked out of my account.

For those unfamiliar with Instacart, I will explain. Instacart is a shopping service in which people can order groceries from their local stores and have Instacart shoppers fulfill those orders and then deliver them to the customers who paid for them.

It is a great service for people who are home bound for health, or transportation reasons. Or, because of pure laziness.

I would never use this service because I’m picky about my produce and cuts of meat.

Well, someone, somewhere obtained my debit card information and used it, allegedly, to open an Instacart account on 12/11. This, alleged, Instacart agent, told me over the phone that, “You opened the account on December eleventh, made an order, and then cancelled it.” His use of the word, “You,” absolutely set my brain on fire since I must have told him at least four times prior that I did not open such an account, and I did not authorize anyone else too do so. It’s a good thing this was not an in-person conversation, because had it been, I might be in jail on an assault charge. And, I am not a violent person, but he kept insisting that I opened this account that resulted in $99 being deducted from my checking account. I do not like it when people do not listen, or hear what I am saying.

I ended the call by informing him he was an idiot and completely useless and I was going to contact the media which does plenty of stories on scams.

I did send an email to Channel 6 WKMG, the Orlando CBS Network affiliate, about my scamming experience. It might take some time to hear back from them, but I think I will. The scam stories ramped up with the pandemic because of all the lowlifes ripping off the government for free money to keep their businesses afloat. Then there were people getting screwed by our state welfare departments by not depositing money they applied for and were told they would get.

My situation is minor compared how others have been scammed, however, my situation is different in that I virtually by nothing online—I don’t trust that whole cyber system. This means that whoever scammed me got my info from an entity that has an arrangement to directly deduct payments from my account. This includes Progressive Insurance, Planet Fitness, Stash Investments, Paramount+ (the CBS show steaming service), Consumer Cellular (my phone company)….and… I think that’s it. All of these accounts I’ve had for at least a year, except Progressive Insurance. So, I was very nervous plugging in my new debit card info ( more on that later) into that account so that my premium will be paid tomorrow. Progressive is my number one suspect right now.

When I got up today I went to the kitchen to start coffee and make a bagel. I called Fairwinds and put the call on speaker so I could start my day while I talked to a credit union representative. I thought it was going to be a huge hassle. I was so wrong.

I was seamlessly funneled to three different departments to tell my side. No one ever questioned whether or not I possibly did indeed open this account. When I called it, “fraud,” they accepted it as so. Totally unlike my experience with Instacart. In fact, I kind of think the number listed with the debit entry in my account was also fake. When I called, the idiot loser I dealt with spit out account details about a millisecond after I gave him my name. A red flag given that my name is actually more common than one would think. I’ve googled it several times and I can’t believe the number of Pamela Sykeses there are in the world.

The Fairwinds reps told me the information would be sent to an entity that investigated these cyber scams. She blocked my account from working until I got to a local beach where I could obtain a new debit card. When I got to the branch in Longwood I went to the counter where an associate handles stuff that tellers don’t do, like opening new accounts, taking customers to loan specialists, or printing out statements at the request of customers. I told the young lady what was going on and that I was told, “I can do that for you here. What design do you want on your card?” Cool, I was thinking as I picked a floral one from the choice of six.

While I awaited my new card, I got reassurance on the high points: my money would be refunded within three days, the scammer used my debit card, indicating s/he did not have my bank account number, so there wasn’t a need to close my accounts and open new ones, my app would still work fine, and my checks would get deposited normally. The only thing I needed to do would be to contact the entities that were given permission to do auto-withdrawals via my debit card. Hence, my need to change my payment option with Progressive.

Thus, Fairwinds gets A+, and Instacart gets an F-. They did nothing. When I mentioned fraud to the bonehead I spoke with this morning, he did not want to know any details from me. I googled how to report fraud to Instacart and I got trapped in a loop that never gave me an option to directly report being ripped off. All the options were for shoppers or account holders. Since I actually DO NOT have an Instacart account, this did me no good. I did find a place to complain about service. I left a complaint about fraud. I got an email response asking if I was satisfied with how my situation was handled. I pretty much busted out laughing. They didn’t even mention the word, “fraud.” I responded that they sucked.

I had to stop at the Winn Dixie grocery store that is about half a mile from the Fairwinds branch I went to. I used the new card with no problems at all.

I’m very relieved it was not the big mess I anticipated. This was my very first experience with identity theft, and I’ve heard so many horror stories. I think that’s common if you work in retail and take money from people for a living.

Still, I would have rather been dealing with the sinus infection that has returned after about eight days of feeling like it was gone. I think I need to get an ENT (ears, nose, throat) referral from my primary doctor. I think the deviated septum needs to be fixed—and, perhaps before my bunion and right knee. Oh yay!

I seriously want to attract the resources to change my life by 180 degrees.

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