Sunday, May 22, 2011

An online banking cautionary tale

On Friday I was about to go out for a run when I decided to procrastinate a little more and decided to check one of my bank accounts.

I noticed a very strange debit -- an E-check in the amount of $29.95 to some kind of online entertainment site. When I looked at the E-check, it had my routing number and bank account number, something that doesn't happen by chance.

This set off alarm bells in my mind because I:

1). don't use online "entertainment" and 2). don't typically use this bank account for anything other than paying rent. I've paid my taxes with it and used a check for a down payment on my recent car. And those have been actual paper checks that I've signed instead of an electronic check.

But poker withdrawals have come through here. And, remembering all the way back to 2004, it dawned on me that with all of the places where I burned off poker and casino bonuses, you often had to include a voided check in the process. Who knows where those old checks and/or bank account information have gone?

So I went and called up the bank's fraud department and ended up having to completely close down that account and set up another one. The bank kindly credited my account with $29.95.

Truth be told, I have no idea where my bank account information was purloined from. I'm just glad I caught it before the account was cleaned out entirely.

I'm just passing this on for fellow bloggers to scrutinize their bank statements a little more closely, especially when it may have had contact with the nebulous regions of the online 'verse.

It also makes me think that credit card transactions are much better than traditional checks now. It's much less hassle to cancel a card or get one replaced than to have to set up a new bank account.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I've been up to lately

Outside Holy Ghost Church, Kula, Hawaii.

For starters, I got married, in a tiny historic church 4,400 miles away from where I live. And then we piled on 5,100 more miles for our honeymoon in Australia.

We're back now but I'm likely to have a few retro posts along the way. I didn't get to play poker in Star City Casino in Sydney like I thought (small outside chance) and there was no poker in the so-called "boutique" casino at the Pullman Reef in Cairns (pronounced "cans"), Australia, where we traveled to catch the Great Barrier Reef.

But I did devour a January 2011 issue of CardPlayer magazine on last night's flight from DEN-ATL and it made me think about playing again.

Monday, May 02, 2011

And this is for a bright blue sky

Unicoi State Park, Georgia
The word that would best describe this feeling/Would be haunted...
-Love and Rockets

So less than 24 hours ago, I was out with a few co-workers at Highland Tap when this guy comes up to the bar and wants the bartender to change the channel. I thought this would be something pretty random, but guess what? It was CNN's feed and the word was out that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. commando raid.

Wow. I'm sure there are thousands of blogs that also are keeping this account for posterity but it was absolutely surreal. There are many times that news shocks but few times that it rouses the collective spirit.

It brought me back to the senseless death of my freshman roommate, Karleton Fyfe, how the world could be so small that strangers could affect our country in the 9/11 attacks.

But a shrinking world works both ways and the same world power that effectively ended online poker for U.S. players on April 15th is the same one that has no boundaries when it's time to get the job done.

We're talking about the U.S. of A, the biggest gang on the planet. Maybe terrorists should learn from Young Jeezy's world: "The only thing I fear is the mother----ing feds."

So where was I when I heard the news? I was sipping Remy Martin V.S.O.P. with friends, six days before my wedding.