Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 22, 2014

House of Burgess: My name, is my name

In which our hero's identity is stolen.

(Continued)

I felt betrayed. I felt wronged. Who was this person running around the Golden State pretending to be me? Did he look like me? Did he sound like me? Was he even a man?

As you might have guessed by the name of this column, “House of Burgess,” I take my name seriously. It’s all I have. This betrayal was primal. Out of sheer curiosity, I plugged the addresses of the transgressions into Google Earth. I selected Street View option and tried to picture my doppelgänger in each one.

What I saw wasn’t pretty. One location shared a building with a sketchy-looking coin laundry. Another had a common parking lot with a haggard doughnut shop. I couldn’t see myself frequenting any of these locations. No, not this Burgess. Maybe a fraudulent Burgess, but not this one.

Three days passed. The stolen monies had been refunded, new cards had been issued and fees were steadily being reversed. Countless others were having the same experience.

“In December, [Target] said credit- and debit-card data for as many as 40 million people who shopped in its stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been compromised,” reported Bloomberg News’ Michael Riley on Friday. “Earlier this month, the company said the thieves also got access to the names, phone numbers and home and email addresses of as many 70 million people. Target hasn’t disclosed details about how its point of sale system was breached.”

That same day, I checked my email and found a message from none other than Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion,” read the Friday email.

No kidding, Gregg!

I don’t feel special. If anything, I was just another name on a long, long spreadsheet. “Information stolen during the Target security breach is now being divided up and sold off regionally, a South Texas police chief said Monday,” reported WDFW and the Associated Press.

Actually, it makes me about as average as possible.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

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