A Cautionary Facebook Tale Courtesy Of Marky Mark And Me
Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm planning on continuing my Mexican tales here very soon, which may or may not include nudity.

Stay tuned for that kind of business.

But for today, I have to tell you about my ruined Saturday.

It's a cautionary tale involving Marky Mark.

Not this one.
You are welcome, Ladies.

But this one.

See, everything was plugging along just splendidly on my sunny Saturday. 

The dogs had let me sleep in past dawn which is a miracle in itself. 

My girls all had plans that were going to keep them busy all day. 

And my hubs was doing shooting things—gun shows, shooting practice, banjo duels—whatever he does in that shooting world of his and I was super excited to have the day to myself, a rare thing. 

It started out fabulously. I killed myself running on the treadmill and then lifting weights while watching The Hangover. 

And let me tell you, nothing can put you in a finer mood than Zach Galifianakis and his band of idiot brothers. 

I tidied up the house, threw a load of laundry in and sat down to enjoy the rest of my day. 

And that's when I spotted the email from Facebook, notifying me that my Paypal account had been charged for something like one mazillion chips so I could evidently play some more Texas HoldEm Poker. 

I had four of these charges, all for big chunks of money. 

Now here's the thing: I don't even know how to play poker. People have tried to teach me, but it's just like Geometry, my brain turns off at all the folding and calling and raising and the flush and the royal flush and the full houses. All I hear is the Charlie Brown teacher's voice in my head.

The game is too full of rules for me. 

I like a nice game of Twister. The rules are easy.

The object of the game? Don't fall down.

And all you have to remember are four basic colors and your left from your right.

I can handle that.

Most of the time. 

I also don't gamble. 

Slot machines are the extent of my gambling. 

One time, those fabulous funsters of AIG sent us on a dreamy vacation to Atlantis. 

All the men in our group were making fun of me because I wouldn't venture past the quarter slot machines. I mean, there was no WAY I was spending my money on the 50 cent slots. I am no crazy risk taker. 

I didn't go near the roulette tables, because I have no idea how that spinner thing works. 

And I don't play blackjack because I'm too worried everyone will see me adding on my fingers. 

And so I stayed put on my little quarter slots, while the rest of them were smugly gambling at their high rolling, math-taxing tables. 

So, guess who walked away from that vacation with not one but two jackpots and a massive wad of hundreds in my wallet?

Not the high rollers. They were all mopey from having lost their shirts, shorts and socks.

So, anywhoo I see these notifications from Facebook and I immediately panic because I'm a panicker of vast proportions in most situations and hacking and subsequent thievery sends me into a tailspin of OMG-I'VE BEEN HACKED-IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD-MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME-MY IDENTITY IS GONE, GONE I TELL YOU!!!!

My hubs is always the calm one in these sorts of situations, reminding me that no, our life is not over and that our credit card companies are well prepared for these kind of situations. 

But since he was in some banjoesque location, hiking through weeds and dirt to shoot at targets with his big ass soundproof earphones on, he was not there to calm me down.

And so I had to panic all alone. 

I don't know why I panic. We've experienced theft before. 

One time, my personal credit card people called me (Yes, I kept my own credit cards from my single days. Everyone should establish their own credit.) They asked me about some suspicious charges to some online site. I informed them the charges weren't mine and that was the end of it. I did, however, check out the site. Because I had to know what sort of desperation would make someone steal from me. Thieves bug me. They really do. It's not that hard to be a good person. Don't harm others. That's really what it's about.

The dastardly thief had used my funds on a porn site. And not only was it a porn site, it was a FREAK porn site. I won't go into the details. I'll only say that I learned there really are people in the world who enjoy golden and even worse, muddy showers.

I think the person who stole my credit card had bigger problems than theft. I hope they've invested in tubs of Lysol wipes.

Then, there was the time we were in Sonoma on one of our wine vacations, eating breakfast in this little hole in the wall we love, when our credit card was denied.

This was my hub's credit card. His super secure credit card. The card that calls our house on every little thing they consider suspicious and they consider everything suspicious, especially when we're out of town.

When the waitress brought back our credit card back with a sheepish smile I asked my hubs if he informed his credit card people that we were going out of town. The sheepish look on his face told me he'd forgotten.

But still, let's say the credit card security department was monitoring our account for suspicious activity.

"Okay, looks like they're in California. Here's a purchase for wine. Some more wine. More wine. Lots more wine. Wait, holdup, here. Bacon, eggs and OMG, HASHBROWNS? Holy Hell, we've got a problem, here! Decline."

It didn't make sense. My hubs went out to call his credit card people while I got the supreme satisfaction of paying with MY non-declined credit card.

It ended up that someone had cloned our card the night before and do not ask me what that means and don't try to explain it to me, either. Because my hubs has attempted to explain it to me many hundreds of times and it's just like geometry and poker, my brain simply can't compute it. So they cloned our card, (I think it might have something to do with robots) and made two separate purchases for thousands of dollars worth of store gift cards. At a Walmart. In Mississippi. At 3:00 AM.

I'm not sure what was the bigger tip off: Walmart gift cards or Mississippi.

But the point is, this ain't my first hacker/thievin' rodeo. 

So, on Saturday, I notify Facebook security that someone is on my page playing Texas HoldEm and it sure ain't me. 

And it wasn't my kids either. They may be a lot of things like dung beetles and sassy pants and thieves of all my makeup, jewelry, shoes and clothing. But they are not online gamblers. 

And my hubs has his own Facebook account and since it doesn't involve shooting or Mac computers, I knew it wasn't him.

Facebook got back to me immediately and no, I did not talk to someone on the phone. It's the first thing everyone's been asking me. Silly people. Facebook doesn't actually have phones. Duh.

But they did email back immediately, saying they had detected my account had been compromised. They told me they were shutting me down and then I'd have to go through a series of steps to reactivate my account with all my info intact.

It was painless and Facebook was awesome.

After I notified Facebook, I checked my games and there it was, TexasHoldEm Poker. I deleted it and then called my credit card company attached to my Paypal account. They were also awesome, ensuring me they'd take care of it and watch for any other like charges.

I told them not worry about any and all shoe purchases.

I then called Paypal

They were not awesome.

They were douchebags.

"The world's most loved way to pay" was not very lovable.

After finally going round and round, I finally had to say to the customer service girl or rather, India, "I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're saying. I'm telling you my account has been compromised. I did not authorize these charges. Please fix this."

Her answer, "No problem." A tutored american catch phrase in her thick Indian accent. "I will be sending you an email about your situation. Thank you for calling. My name is Ashley."

Yeah. No it's not.

And so Ashley of India sent me an email, a form email telling me that my trusted and loved source, pretty much, was washing their hands of my situation.

I closed my Paypal account. I used up every character in their Reason For Leaving space.

I then googled to see how legit TexasHoldEm Poker was. Turns out there as legit as an online gambling site can be, (all judgements withheld), but it also turns out that other people have been hacked. 

And all of the victims said the same thing: Paypal is a douchebag.

I am no worse for the wear. My money is back in my pocket and Mr. or Mrs. Freak Gambler no longer has access to my Facebook or my PayPal.

And Mark Zuckerberg has contacted me every day since those ornery thieves came to my Facebook town with tips and all kinds of helpful information.

Hey Marky Mark! (It's what I've started calling him in our emails.)

And actually, I'm not sure if it's Mark himself, but I'd like to think those Facebook emails were lovingly typed by his nerdy fingers.

Marky Mark gave me some tips and I'd like to pass them on to you right now. I've also added a few of my own. I'll leave it to you, Internet, to differentiate between the two of us. Although, Mark and I are on the same page on pretty much everything or at least I'd like to think so. I mean, I feel like we're pretty tight since we've had these flurry of emails between the two of us.

Facebook Tips or rather Marky Mark's Tips

* Secure your email. Create different passwords for both your email and Facebook accounts. (I have now done this and trust me, thieves, you will NEVER be able to figure mine out. All I'll say is I have a twisted brain and my passwords now reflect that.)

*Only log in at Facebook.com. Don't go through any other sites to get to your FB even if they offer you snappy prizes like a puppy or free face painting.

*Don't make cryptic statuses. "I made the worst decision of my entire life last night when I drove down that dark highway." Because I'm nosy and when I comment on your status and ask, "OMG, what happened on that dark highway?" And you answer, "Just a really bad decision that may or may not affect my criminal record for the rest of my days. All I can say is, pray for me please." Not only will I NOT pray for you, I will unfriend you and I may or may not call in a tip to the highway patrol. I'm just sayin'. If you're gonna put it on FB, you best be prepared to man up.

*Check your profile and all of your information on a weekly basis. This is a very good tip. Not only did I find that someone had thought it would be funny to change my profile to "Interested in meeting up with the ladies," I was also, without my knowledge, pretty much a completely obsessed gamer.

*Speaking of games, don't ask me to join your gang, send you fish or farm animals, cook with you or any other ridiculous crap that will waste my time even more. I tweet and FB and blog and spend copious amounts of time on Web MD and English gossip sites, I don't need you to help me waste my time. I do very well on my own. Besides, remember? I only play Twister.

*If you haven't done so yet, add some security questions to your Facebook page. I now have security questions that involve codes and secret handshakes. I was going to go with the "Who is your favorite recording artist of all time?" But then I thought, WWMMD, (What Would Marky Mark Do) and I realized everyone including the hackers and spammers know about my love affair with Bono.

*Don't use your Facebook as a really trivial accounting of your daily life. "Grocery shopping and then off to the gym for a 3 mile walk on the tread. Fab!" First of all, you're advertising that YOU'RE NOT HOME. The poker thieves might need to pawn a few TV's for some more poker chips and secondly no one gives a crap. Tell me something more like this, "I'm going to ram my cart into the wobbly ankles of this old woman if she doesn't move her damn cart out of the middle of the freakin aisle! And yes, I'm PMSing. You got a problem with that?" Or tell me about the guy at your gym who showed up in his BVD's to work out and yelled, "This is America!" when management asked him to put on some shorts. That was actually someone's story and it was fabulous. Forgive me, if you're reading this and it is your story. I can't remember who told me that, but I'll never forget it. Anyway, the point is, when it comes to your statuses, ABA, Always Be Awesome. Marky Mark and I agree on this one.

*Do not accept friend requests from people you don't know. I don't know if it's because I spend 99.9% of my time on the world wide web putting all of my secrets out there for the world to read, but I get a lot of weird friend requests. Like, seriously all the time. There are quite a few foreign ladies with way too many vowels in their names who want to be my friends. They all have that sort of porno-ish look to their pics with very little info about them. I'm always polite and send them a message saying, "Can you tell me how we know each other, because I'm not placing you." They rarely answer back. There was the one who wrote back, "Hi. You look for love with me?" And since I'm not looking for love with people who have bad grammar and too many vowels in their names, I did not accept her request. So, in essence, if you get that friend request from the guy with the beard in a tunic, saying Jesus wants to be your friend, it's probably not in your best interest to accept that friend request.

That's all I've got. Stay safe on the Internet, my friends. Marky Mark and I want what's best for you.

Today's Fresh Laundry: Kelley of Kelley's Break Room is one of the funniest girls out there. Not only does she have a fabulous blog, she is outrageous on Twitter. Seriously, her tweets are always ridiculous in their funny. And because of her tweets, a fabulous opportunity was presented to her. Read about that right here. Congratulations, Kel and keep on keepin' on with the funny.

Today's Definite Download: It's not a song today. Since I brought up Zach Galifianakis, I wanted to share a little bit of his comedy genius today.

Zach does a show called Between Two Ferns on the fantastic Funny Or Die website. He interviews celebrities like no one else.

Here are three of my favorites:

Zach interviewing Bruce Willis.   


Zach portraying his brother, interviewing Sean Penn


Zach interviewing Ben Stiller. 


Be warned, they're definitely filled with adult humor. Just so you know. Now, go laugh. I'll see you next week. 



Joann




31 comments:

twelvedaysold said...

This makes me really sad to hear that Paypal is still a bunch of useless buggers.

I had my identity stolen through Paypal and eBay, and it was all linked to my debit card. They completely cleaned me out and I had a rent check waiting to clear, and I cried in front of all of my coworkers at a construction company, which, hottt. I don't have any respect for Paypal.

This happened something like 5 years ago, and I really hoped they had gotten better with their customer service. They're a bunch of d-bags, and I'm glad you came out mostly unscathed. Good for you for not linking it to your debit card! My mom does a lot of business with Paypal and recently told me she was going to unlink her credit card and just use a debit card, and I have never spoken to my mother like I was not the child like I did that day. It worked, and can I say WIN.

Good tips for protecting our facebooks!

Eva Gallant said...

Great advice!

The Zadge said...

Along the Eddie Vedder lines, please don't post a shirtless photo of Marky Mark and expect me to continue on to your words!

Jeanette said...

ick Paypal sucks. glad it all got worked out. Marky Mark sounds like an all-around good dude, which is good to know. I should probably take some of this advice to heart, as I am really good at using the same password for everything. thanks! now to stop being lazy and actually do something about it...

Lula Lola said...

I agree with the cryptic statuses. And I agree with your assessment of Paypal. I had trouble with them and Ebay a while back. Never got my money back. Ugh!
Good for you for giving them fits!

Kelly said...

Thank you, Thank YOU, THANK YOU!!!

For that ALWAYS hot picture of Mr. Wahlberg.

Unlike SpongeBob, I've never lost my identity and I've never had it stolen, either (knock wood).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to stare at Marky Mark and his Lovely Abs some more. And sigh.

Shelley said...

I totally agree that Paypal is made up of douchebags. One time I paid for something from eBay through Paypal. We had recently switched bank accounts, and I just clicked on through the pay stuff, not realizing I had the wrong bank account info in there. Five minutes later...literally FIVE minutes later...I realized my mistake, fixed the bank info, and made the correct payment.

Then I called Paypal and told them what had happened. They said they would reverse the charge.
Well, by "reverse the charge", they meant that they would let the charge hit the bank account with no money in it not once, but TWICE, even though I had already made ANOTHER payment to the seller, with the correct bank account. But they decided to cost me $70 in return fees from my bank anyway. Douchbags.

Christine Macdonald said...

I was hacked recently too! Some German was using my PayPal account to launder money! Happy to report all is well now.

I've missed reading you.

Kisses,
Christine

Shell said...

See, this is why I am convinced that facebook is evil.

You made me giggle all through this post. Thanks for that, my friend!

And yes, Kelley is fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're back to blogging. I missed you! You have a great wit about you and I wished I lived in Florida so we could be girlfriends. I will definitely be pre-ordering your book on Amazon.com.

Phyllis

Cupcake Murphy said...

I remember where I was, what I was doing and wearing when I first saw that Marky Mark photo. Thank you for your sage advice and for sharing that photo.

From Tracie said...

Your Marky Mark ought to make this list required reading to sign up for a facebook account (instead of the boring terms of service blah blah blah).

Thieves suck! I'm glad that at least all the non-Paypal people were helpful.

Julie said...

So first, people tell me all the time that my husband looks like Marky Mark.

But really? You post a shot like that? And I'm here to say he doesn't.

(not that my husband's not cute. he is. really cute. but come on. look at that picture again. no one's husband looks like that. except maybe Mrs. Marky Mark's. maybe.)

Secondly, I am soooooo sorry for your troubles with PayPal.

I've been the victim of credit card fraud/theft several times (who hasn't at this point, right?) and the differences in the ways the companies handled the situations were vast.

Their treatment of me also determined whether or not my family and I continued our accounts with them.

Eventually, we've always recovered our money.

But the amount of blood, sweat, and tears required to do so was daunting.

No wonder my poor husband no longer looks like Marky Mark.

XO

Bossy Betty said...

What would I do without you to guide me in matters such as this?

Kimberly said...

Marky Mark...wait you mentioned something about paypal...Marky Mark...Wait...did I read douchebags in there...Marky Mark....Yup train of thought lost to those gloriously ripped muscles in all the right places.

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

That is one hot body on that man. Oh how I'd like to rip off those Calvins of his. That would be for the first Marky Mark. The second one I'd tousle his hair and give him some milk and cookies. What is he, 12?

You have me all nervous about paypal now.

ps, I passed through your part of town and waved. Did you see me?

Baby Sister said...

Oh my gosh I hate PayPal. They are so stinking ridiculous. I'm sorry you had to deal with them. I'm glad you weren't duped though. That would have sucked.

Kate said...

I'm sorry, all I saw was that picture...sigh....

Good tips. I may be guilty of trivial statuses, but I attempt to be interesting and/or funny most of the time. And so you're telling me that if I friend request you on fb, "I knows u from the internetz" isn't gonna get me the golden ticket? Lol.

W.C.Camp said...

Wow that was horrible. I can't believe anyone would ever try to CLONE YOU - It's IMPOSSIBLE!! Quick work on the recovery though. You did a great job. Paypal is a pain but I assume it is because everyone is always trying to scam them for something they have bought or haven't bought. Glad you figured it out though. Thanks for the tips. W.C.C.

IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY said...

i've been really lucky with paypal,so far, but I've only had a couple of ebay fails to test the water with.

Judie said...

Joann, I don't know how you manage to do it, but you certainly get yourself in some pretty interesting situations, and you do it on a regular basis. What a wonderful life you have, with all that drama! You are one lucky woman. Oh, and the nickel slots are just as much fun as the quarter ones.

The Empress said...

Of course Mr Big Guns was unreachable.

Well, you handled it well.

I always get tunnel vision and ringing in my ears, along with a tingly scalp, when someone does fake charges on me.

Not one of my fave parts of life.

Dawn in DC said...

I'm a quarter slots kind of gal, myself. We've only had one credit card theft and they shopped at a 5 and dime in NYC, bought $300 worth of cds. Anyway, our bank was great and totally NOT douchbags.

The Lady's Lounge said...

Marky Mark and the mention of twister in the same post...kind of hard to concentrate after that.


Oh and paypal is a poopy-face-dirty-diaper-head.

Liz said...

As always, another epic tale!

I'm so sorry your account was hacked! You aren't the first person I know to have problems with PayPal.

Our credit card # has been stolen a couple times. Once before we left for our honeymoon. Someone had our number scribbled on a piece of paper and took it into a Sears in Florida to try to buy a washer and dryer.

FranceRants said...

Here's my password guess: placenta7734.

The numbers are actually a riddle. Can you figure it out??

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Sometimes I'm tempted to delete my Facebook account when someone wants me to play Family Feud. And anyone who has a Farmville status, I immediately hide their status permanently. Good tips on security, I tightened mine and changed some passwords based on your experience. Geez, now have a nice quiet Joann kinda day!

FranceRants said...

Hey, had to come back and look at that picture of Mark Wahlberg again.

Which was a mistake.

Because now I don't know how I am going to explain my tongue print on the computer screen to my husband.

Lady Jennie said...

There were just so many things to comment on.

I had a friend who never set up a facebook account, and yet someone set up on in her name WITH her picture.

I am now ultra nervous about paypal. Can you give me Ashley's cell phone?

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