A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

Last week, officials ended a two-year long investigation into the largest identity theft and credit card fraud ring in the country. They busted up those S.O.B.s and indicted 111 creepazoids! This is terrific news. It is also completely terrifying.

We all know that identity theft and credit card fraud are enormous problems. They’re scary. We’re all scared. But when I read that the five groups which made up the larger ring relied on bank and retail employees to supply them with information and credit card numbers, it dawned on me how much I’d rather not know. What are we supposed to do when the institutions that already rob us blind start robbing us blinder, and not to our faces?

Of course, the bank employees were used to help the thieves identify high worth clients, so this isn’t precisely my problem. But what if one day I become very successful doing something or other? The more money you have, the harder it is to keep it under your mattress. I suppose I could go all Scrooge McDuck and store my billions in a secure room in my mansion (a girl can dream) and install a diving board so I can do the backstroke on a pile of rubies and gold bullion. But

a) that seems way more painful than it was ever depicted to be, and

b) I’d be leaving myself open to the Beagle Boys who would always be after my riches.

And then those dirty tricksters at retail stores! Taking skimmers from the evil thieving ring and using them to steal credit card numbers so they can be fraudulently duplicated. This is where many more of us are really vulnerable. Sure, we’ve been warned about the dangers and security risks of online shopping. But what to do when your friendly shoe salesman has been bought? Are we supposed to walk around with loads of cash on our person? Then muggings would go up and people would say, don’t walk around with bundles of cash, are you crazy? Keep your money somewhere safe, and we’d be back where we started with those crooked bank employees. I suppose we could stop shopping altogether, but then the honest businesses would suffer along with the baddies, and our economy is tanked as it is. The last thing this country needs is for its citizens to spend even less money.

Short of arresting all the identity theft/credit card fraud rings in the country and the world (please work on that, FBI), what do we do?

Thankfully, anyone after my identity is going to be sorely disappointed. I knew being a less-than-responsible bill payer would be worthwhile someday. Good luck extending my credit line beyond that of a college student, suckers!

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