Otto and I were having some quality time on the couch last night, by which I mean that we were each sitting there on our respective laptops while half web-surfing and half watching the news because WOW, the news last night, yeesh. Typical Friday night, in other words. (Uh, except for the fugitive in a boat part. That was not typical, just the part where we were on the couch. Obviously.)
I don’t remember when I was doing online. Probably I was on Facebook; more specifically, probably I was on Facebook playing Scrabble. (According to Monkey, that’s all I ever do, you know.) But Otto, he was on a mission.
See, years of my influence have corrupted Otto, and the man who used to be able to say, “I want/need Item X, therefore I will go buy Item X,” and then simply make a purchase, can no longer do that. No, thanks to me, now half the time he agonizes over whether or not he REALLY needs Item X, and then even if he decides he DOES, he then comparison shops for it online for hours or days or weeks before purchase. I AM SO PROUD. Anyway, that’s what Otto was doing. He was shopping for… something.
He told me what it was. It’s just that it was the sort of thing where I nodded and glazed over immediately. Some sort of adapter cable for a whoozywhatsis, I think. Yes. Because he needed to plug something into his computer and he could either buy a whole new… whatever that thing was… or he could use an EXISTING thing he already owns, but he needed an adapter. I think.
As I was nodding and paying no real attention he joked that, “This is the sort of thing where I’m going to end up shopping for it for a month and in the end I will have saved $2 but wasted countless hours,” and we both chuckled.
Time passed. “Okay, I just bought—” Otto paused, mid-sentence. “Huh,” he said.
[Sidebar: So HEY, speaking of shopping online, I don't know if you remember how I am a big fan of Discover Card, and was so EVEN BEFORE that time when someone tried to use my card to buy a truckload of salads. We still talk about that periodically because it was just... you know, so idiotic. The whole setup was weird, right? I mean, I get how the scam works, but still. The joke about the Credit Card Thieves Who Like Salad hasn't grown old. (Spoiler: Yeah, there's a reason I'm bringing this up.)]
Because I am nothing if not sensitive, considerate, and nosy, I leaned over to look at Otto’s computer screen. It was the dopey “Hooray, you just bought this thing, want to tell everyone about it?!” message you now get after a purchase on Amazon, and he had indeed bought himself some sort of adapter for… whatever it was he was needing to adapt. I guess. The computer screen didn’t tell me anything that made it clear what his problem was, is my point.
I looked at the screen. I looked at him. I sighed, loudly. “What??” I finally asked. Clearly I was missing the drama, here.
“You know how they have that thing on Amazon now where you can choose to pay with your Discover Cashback Bonus, directly?” he asked me. I nodded. “Well when I went to pay just now it offered me that option but it only said I had, like, eighty cents available. I think it should be a lot higher that that. That’s… hey, remember when I told you a few days ago I got a funny message about an added email address to my Discover account?”
That I actually DID remember. Otto had mentioned the email, and that it was odd (because of course he HAD NOT added an email address to his Discover account), and I told him he should call Discover to make sure it wasn’t a phishing scam. He’d called Discover and they’d checked his account activity and nothing was amiss, although I was never really clear on whether another email had actually been added or not. (Otto may know the answer to that. I probably just stopped paying attention.)
Now Otto was wondering if somehow someone had gotten into his account and withdrawn his Cashback Bonus dollars, somehow.
“This is so weird,” I said. “What would they do with them?” I always redeem mine for gift certificates, so I was trying to imagine the sort of criminal who’s working every possible angle because they NEED those Kohls gift cards, man.
“You know you can just request a check, right?” Otto said. I did not know that. Hey, good point. Meanwhile, Otto was busy logging in to his Discover account. He went to the Cashback Bonus section and indeed, he had less than a dollar’s worth. He navigated to the “Redemption History” page and there it was, in black and white.
On the previous day, he’d redeemed $80 of Cashback. Except, of course, he hadn’t. And the interloper had redeemed it in the form of… a Lands’ End gift certificate.
We couldn’t stop laughing. Who DOES THAT? Someone managed to gain access to his account online, and they used it to get a gift certificate to buy boat shoes? “Every time I see someone wearing khakis I’m going to think they could be the thief who took my money!” exclaimed Otto, in mock exasperation.
“Clearly the thief knows nothing about you AT ALL,” I told him. “Someone who knows you would’ve done LL Bean, instead. NEW ENGLAND PRIDE, MAN!”
Discover is taking care of it, of course. Otto is grumbling about having to get a new account number after all this time (and I feel him; after the whole Salad Incident I got a new number and I still don’t have it memorized, and it’s been a couple of years), but it’s not a big deal. Much like the other incident, it’s only a big deal because it’s creepy and weird.
The only mystery that remains is whether the culprit just really needed some Lifetime Guarantee pants or if they were going to sell the certificate on eBay. I guess we’ll never know.
Disclaimer: Discover Card has nothing to do with the writing of this post. In fact, given that I only ever write about them when someone hacks our accounts, I’m guessing they’d prefer I not write about them at all. But the point is that this isn’t sponsored, or anything. If they WANTED to sponsor me that’d be fun and I would consider it. They should probably not offer to pay me in gift certificates or chicken caesar salads if that ever happens, though.