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Comment ANALOG Identity Theft (Score 1) 117

Out in the burbs of Boston, a slightly different wrinkle on "identity theft." An honest-to-God ANALOG version.

Seems a local bank (one that apparently doesn't scan in all their checks before shipping them out to a check-processing house) gathers up all the negotiable instruments (checks, mostly), puts them in a pouch and gives them to a bonded courier.

On one particular day, the courier stopped off somewhere during the not-so-swift completion of his appointed rounds. And, while s/he was out of the vehicle, the pouch was stolen. (The couriers are used to take the bank's "work," they call it, to a check-reading, inputting/keyboarding/scanning company 50 or 60 miles away, in this particular case.)

The subject bank intended to send a letter to everyone whose checks were stolen to stop payment on them, and show the letter to each persons' bank to request that the $25 or so stop-payment fee be forgiven. However, as subject bank had no record of what checks were stolen, they were hard-pressed to send the letters out. (They had input the depositors' figures and credited his/her account with that amount, subject to possible adjustment later.

About a week after this theft took place, my bank called me to ask if I had faxed them a $6,850 wire transfer request. On it were my name, address, bank routing number, account number, all that good stuff. The payee was to have been a bank in Japan (cool, hunh?!).

Of course both my bank and the subject bank said this effort was a naÃve, amateurish one, inasmuch as the bank(s) would never, ever make a wire transfer without the transferor showing up in person and signing the transfer authorization document.

But I confess that seeing all my check information â" in differing fonts, mind you (bold sans serif for my name, light-face sans serif, in smaller point size, for street/city/state address â" left me with a slightly uncomfortable feeling. It's bad enough that folks like my grocery store (Hannafords) and retailers like TJ-Max, or TJX corp, lose millions of digital records (with the thieves apparently having physical access to the computers, in Hannaford's case), but when they can't even keep control of the analog documents themselves, wowsers. Double-plus-ungood.

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