Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 22, 2014

House of Burgess: My name, is my name

In which our hero's identity is stolen.

It was Jan. 14. It was my day off. I was in line at Goodwill with my wife, Ash. In my hand was a slightly gnarled paperback edition of Tim O’Brien’s novel “July, July.”

The posted cost of one non-hardback book was 99 cents, plus Indiana sales tax. The cashier informed me the price was a dollar and some change. My debit card was swiped. The verdict: declined.

I asked the cashier to run my card through the machine once more, confident I had more than 110 pennies in the bank. Same thing; no good. Ash paid in cash. We left the store and went straight to the bank.

I had a bad feeling about this, as I had heard of the giant Target security breach.

Once inside the bank, we were instructed to take seats in the foyer, facing the windowed offices of the senior bankers. I knew things were amiss as we saw the banker in the office in front of us glare at his screen and shake his head steadily back and forth in a swivel.

Not good. Not good, at all.

Soon after, we were sitting across the desk from him. He explained — unless we had perfected some sort of teleportation scheme — a series of transactions in southern California had ripped us off the day before. On top of this, hundreds of dollars of fees were piling up on our account due to the sudden overdraft status. He filed a dispute on our behalves and proceeded to begin freeing up some cash until the stolen funds could be replenished.

We were sent away stunned, with orders to return the following day to continue dealing with the mess. Once we arrived home, I began piecing the puzzle together. Someone — or perhaps several someones — had hacked into the Target system and extracted enough personal information to recreate my debit card. They then took this phony plastic to several different ATMs.

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