|By Mike Cote, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester|
The message included the address in the Florida Panhandle where I was to pick up the car and the one in
Except that I had made no plans to drive 800 miles from
I assumed the worst. Who would rent a car for a 12-hour one-way trip? How about a criminal who assumed my identity. Someone who had already opened a credit card account in my name and was charging gas, hot dogs and beef jerky in
Someone who was draining my bank account as I lay awake in bed worrying about it.
Turned out it was just someone with a last name similar to mine.
A clerk at the rental company had taken down the customer's name wrong over the phone and pulled up my account, generating the email notification.
I learned this after I called the company — using a number I looked up myself rather than the one in the suspicious email - and reached a real live human after yelling at a robot voice for a few minutes. No crime, just human error.
And a dose of anxiety. I'm not the worrying kind, but after the parade of data breaches over the past couple of years — Anthem, Home Depot,
So we check our bank accounts every day, pore over financial statements to make sure charges are accurate and follow recommendations to add numbers and characters to our account passwords, changing them at regular intervals to try to stay ahead of the cyber thieves.
The data breaches have cut such a wide swath across the country that it's hard to imagine anyone in
In November, Home Depot reported spending
I've shopped at Home Depot and
Especially from a rental company, since I won't need a car on this particular trip. My parents will come to pick us up at the airport for our beach getaway. .
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