My eBay Identity Crisis

The price you pay when someone steals your online accounts

I’m not feeling like myself today. Well, actually eBay thinks I’m not myself and I’m easily influenced. Apparently I’ve just been a victim of identity theft. Identity theft is such an interesting thing, rife with philosophical conjecture. I mean, would someone actually want to be me? Can I give them my negative Philly Post feedback along with my credit card number? Can they discipline my child for me in addition to emptying my bank account? Walk the dog?

I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but my credit card was breached about five months ago, which really sucked. It didn’t suck because someone was foiled trying to buy plane tickets with it, but because it was the one credit card number I knew by heart. For online shopping, of course. It was the card that was registered with Paypal and all my favorite stores. It was a huge pain in the ass to memorize a new number, new expiration date and new security code. At this point in life, I’m lucky to remember my phone number. Then I went to eBay to bid on a “primitive” plate rail for my mother when I was suddenly unable to log on. To add insult to injury, even my secret question (pet’s name) didn’t work when I went into my account. Bad enough to steal my identity, but my dog’s? That’s just wrong.[SIGNUP]

Have you ever tried to fix an eBay security problem? Allow me to prepare you for the two-hour slog that is the live chat on eBay. Playing the telephone game across the globe would convey information faster. S-l-o-w M-o-t-i-o-n. Each exchange had four, five or more minutes between them. It leaves the customer to imagine the person at the other end taking smoke breaks, texting their friends, going out for a meal. What the hell are they doing? It’s eBay! They have high-speed Internet. Plus it took 25 minutes to get to the customer service person in the first place. Then they decided I needed to deal with someone in security and then you go to the back of the line and wait again for another 20 minutes. So much for the “get immediate help” button.

Finally I found out that someone tried to list a Cadillac on my eBay account. I am officially mystified. Getting an eBay account is not like passing the LSAT or getting an Amex Black Card. Can’t anyone get one? I got one without jumping through hoops. Call me naive, but I fail to understand why anyone would steal an eBay account. Sounds so much harder than opening your own. Unless of course, there never was a Cadillac, I suppose.

In order to restore my (good?) name, I had to open a new email account. Another colossal pain in the ass. I mean, who has time to check multiple email accounts? I can barely manage one. Now I’ll need multiple windows open to check both accounts while I bid on primitive plate rails. What kind of world do we live in? I could build my own very primitive plate rails with less effort. Plus the eBay security person wonders if my email account has suffered a security breach as well, so now I have two of them that ought to leave me twice as vulnerable in the future.

Meanwhile, I’m left to question all my other online security. How much info did the Cadillac person discover in my account? My name, email, phone number and address? My dog’s name, which is clearly a huge security risk. They might know my password, which I stupidly use for lots of things. And could Cadillac person be the same one that tried to buy plane tickets with my Amex? Seems like a reasonable possibility. Damn. The only thing worse than remembering new numbers is remembering new passwords. It might be easier to just become Cadillac person. There’s an identity theft twist. It won’t help my dog though. I think she’s still having an identity crisis.