Ahem, is that my ATM?

Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ll be getting my new ATM card in the mail within a few days.
I drove up to make a withdrawal from a machine this past week and discovered that it was no longer in amongst my other cards and cash that I always carry in my front pocket. At first a little panic came over me: Oh, my god..was it stolen? Did someone watch me at the ATM through a high powered telescope and get my PIN number..then somehow sneak into my house, steal the card and start going around to different machines taking cash out of my account 200 dollars at a time? (my daily limit)
No, wait, that’s pretty unlikely. I must have lost it but where and when? Think, man, think.
“You better be getting the bank called,” Linda said when I told her. “Have you checked our balance to make sure we’re not being robbed blind?” I’m not sure what blind has to do with being robbed but Linda has become ultra sensitive about identity theft lately..and rightly so, I guess.  She bought a noisy paper shredder a couple years ago and  now grinds up just about everything that comes in the mail out of concern it might contain some personal information that the identity thieves would love to have and wouldn’t  hesitate to dive through the coffee grounds and meat scraps in our garbage to get.
Well, after a few minutes of calm self reflection, I concluded that there are only two ATMs that I ever use. One of them operates by just swiping the card. It never leaves your possession. The other, though, insists you shove your card into the machine where it is gobbled up and held hostage until your transaction is complete. Only after you’ve answered a couple more questions will it be released back into your custody.  I hate those outdoor drive-up ATMs. I usually stop too far away to reach the buttons so I have to get out of the car anyway. Plus the sun always seems to be glaring right into the cash machine screen so I have to try create a shadow with my arms and body in order to see the prompts. Well, I called the bank and, after a few minutes listening to robots programmed to sound like humans, was able to actually talk with a real live person who, following a thorough interrogation, informed me that, indeed, my card had been found in that machine on Sycamore Avenue that sits in the sun.
“Why didn’t somebody just call and let me know that it had been found?”  “I’m not sure, sir, that’s not our bank. But, your old card has been deactivated. You should receive the replacement and a new PIN number in the mail within a week.”
*Memo to self: Make sure Linda doesn’t shred up letter containing new ATM card.

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