I have had people intercept my mail and spend those checks the credit cards send. I have lost my credit card, only to have it fund an entire neighborhood's gas purchases. I shrug, make some phone calls, and its been okay. The credit card takes care of it. I have never lost my own money.
Dutch and I got a letter in the mail saying that our state tax refund had been garnished by the City of Inglewood (its real name). We chatted with our tax guy and he said it was probably unpaid parking tickets. The funny thing is, we haven't been to Inglewood. Ever. Certainly not long enough to accumulate parking tickets. I also found out that any government agency can garnish your refund, and additionally, they don't have to tell you about it. The letter included the number of the agency, and also the address, which, strangely, was in New York. We called it first, but no one answered, because they are three hours ahead. How convenient for them. Then we called the City of Inglewood's department of traffic citations. They passed me to another agency (who also didn't pick up, but it was well after 5 PST) but when the lady transferred my call, she mentioned that it sounded like West Covina.
I haven't been to West Covina, either.
I am missing the layer of financial protection provided by the usually-nefarious credit card companies. The money is actually gone, I can't call Capital One and say, "hey, reverse this charge, its a mistake." I even talked to Franchise Tax people (after being on hold for 21 minutes), and they said they couldn't do anything about it. They recommended filing a police report (how does one file a police report against another police department?).
I don't feel like fighting government agencies right now. They don't need my business, they don't depend on my patronage. I can't not pay taxes. I have no leverage against the City of Inglewood, or with the Franchise Tax Board. I feel rather powerless. Times like this, any other country than this one starts to sound very attractive. Who is going to protect me against my government?