Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Thanks Man or As They Say in Turkey, Teşekkür Ederim Erkek

A couple of days ago I went on line to pay my Master Card bill. As the page revealing my outstanding balance started to load my eyes began to see something my brain couldn't quite process. My outstanding balance was $29,357.00 and most of the recent purchases where in a language I could not understand.

The pangs of, "I'm a victim of identity theft" came over me as I grabbed my credit card out of my wallet and quickly dialed the 800 number on the back. After passing through the security question the lady on the other end of the phone politely said, "Ma'am, are you in a bakery in Turkey?" my response "OF COURSE NOT!"

It seems that somewhere along the line I had visited an unsavory restaurant, bar, hair salon, what not and 'they' 'zapped' my card without my knowledge. The 'zapping' copied the magnetic strip which was then somehow attached to a counterfeit card and sent over seas via Turkey. Or at least thats what the fraud division at Master Card tells me.

So far the folks at Master Card have been pretty nice about the whole thing, telling me I am not responsible and all. In fact it seems all I really need to do is fill out some forms, visit a notary republic, answer some questions no doubt proving my whereabouts, spending habits, etc., and then poof- the counterfeit charges will be 'zapped' from my account. How nice.

There is one thing though that is bothering me (in addition to the world being a place of thieves, vagrants, and soul dead people). I really really deep down inside what to know what was purchased for $29,000 on my card in Turkey. I mean what could it be? A rug? Some hard-shelled turkish nuts? Tobacco? A hukka pipe?

Unfortunately all of the charges are in Turkish and while there is very little I can make out, (even with the use of an online Turkish to English translating calculator) I was at least able to translate some. Here is what I know:

"Girip" translation "Bazaar" as in Turkish Bazaar. Total purchased: $205.00
"Telekom" translation "Telephone" as in phone bill: $1356.00
"Petrol" translation "oil" as in gas: $923.00
"Market" translation "Market" as in market: $549.00
"Lastik" translation "rubber" as in WTF?: $293.00
"Turizm" translation "tourism" as in travel agent: $3854

It goes on and on and on like that until we hit $29,357 thus proving the phase 'shop til you drop' doesn't always apply.

As for the thieves who copied my card, I hope they enjoy what they bought because I am fairly certain in the next life they will return to earth as Vermont squirrels who have run out of nuts during a very cold winter.

And as for me, well there was a time when I wanted to visit Turkey but never had the chance, at least my Master Card did.


at least there is a bit of humor to it... I guess...
good luck with all the paperwork and stuff! It's pretty annoying, I had my checkbook stolen.
How fascinating, and how annoying at the same time. A $1300 phone bill smacks of illegal doings.
daggone it, i'm sorry, i had the same thing happen to me in Ireland, later on down the road, it really does make for a funny story you can tell. take care and good luck.
that is crazy! i never have heard of anyone doing that. i don't get people. at least you're getting it straightened out, but what a hassle. i can't believe they spent that much money on your credit card!! that is insane!
From the mind's of thieves
A gold hukka pipe....$1000
Gas Tank of Turkish gas for the 86 El Dorado....$900
Yummy Turkish Salad from Bazzar...$600
Knowing that cool american girl paying for all...Priceless

By the way, do you remember the advertisement where an American couple is looking for a bank in Turkey (or Iran or Bangladesh) and the native child says to follow him to "eh te em" (sounded almost like Auntie Em from Wizard of Oz) and then proceeded during the course of their trek to shout "eh te em eh te em" and then, lo and behold, an ATM! That was some brilliant shit.
fragle- i dont remember that ad but it sounds funny!
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