A very strange thing happened to me recently. I got emails on consecutive days from two different retailers thanking me for my order, but I never ordered anything from either company. You can imagine how that weirded me out.
The first time it happened my first thought, obviously, was identity theft. It was a not-nice feeling. But then I thought of how dumb an identity thief would have to be to use my identity to buy something online and then let me know about it by using my email address. Then I actually looked at the first email and saw that it contains the shipping address (in Massachusetts). So I called the company that sent me the email (Proactiv) and a very nice customer service rep looked at the order and determined that there was probably a typo in the email address they used. (Side note: It took for-effing-ever to get to the nice customer service rep. Proactiv’s automated system wanted to look me up using everything other than the order number – which I had – and even pressing 0 and swearing didn’t work; I only got a person once I caused enough “errors.” I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get to a goddamn person, Proactiv.) She even understood my fears re: identity theft and was willing to confirm that the last four digits of my credit card didn’t match the last four digits of the card used to place the order. (By the bye, I told her the last four digits of my card, not the other way around; Proactiv isn’t stupid enough to give out that information willy-nilly.) So that was weird, but it seemed like it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
So imagine my stupefaction when I received a similar email from a different company the next freaking day. And the surprise continued when I opened the email and saw that this order was going to an address in Ontario. The email also contained the last four digits of the credit card used, so I could tell that it wasn’t mine, but I decided to call the company (Madewell) anyway. After all, their customer was probably concerned that she hadn’t received a confirmation email for her order; I was trying to help them out. And I can tell you that I will never buy anything from them because, damn, the customer service rep I spoke to was a total bitch. She didn’t seem to believe my story. She even asked for my address, which I didn’t think was any of her business. She informed me that she needed to check that it didn’t match the billing address for the order. But here’s my question: Why the eff would I lie about this? Who would do that? (Call me paranoid, but I think it was a scam on her part to add my address to their mailing list. And if I ever receive a catalog from them I am going to call them again and yell.) And here’s the best part: A few hours after I got off the phone with her I received an email from Madewell telling me that my order had shipped. Grr arrgh.
The moral of the story: quadruple-check the information you provide to online retailers. They can include all sorts of personally identifiable information in confirmation emails.
In other news, there are apparently two other people with my name in North America; that’s weird. I mean, Kristin isn’t a super common name. And in my experience Kristin with an i (technically two i’s, I know) is less common than Kristen with an e, even if it is the correct spelling. (Fun fact I learned from a salesgirl in the Norway pavilion at Epcot when I was younger: In Norway, Kristin is a girl’s name and Kristen is a boy’s name. And I believed her because she was Norwegian and her name was Kristin.) Also, my last name is also kind of uncommon. Again, spelling is key here. The funny thing is that, even though my last name is Scottish, it consists of two English words and is pronounced exactly the way it is spelled but it trips people up all the time. People who are unfamiliar with it approach it with fear and trepidation as if it some sort of all consonants/no vowels Eastern European thing. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so damned annoying.
And if you were wondering, I do plan to check my credit report as soon as I get home from my parents’ house. Two emails in two days is a little too much of a coincidence, if you know what I mean. Besides, I haven’t checked my credit in ages and I really ought to.