At the start of the holiday season this year my friend Moses Whiffington of Boston, Mass went to fill his car with gas and his credit card was refused. His wife Wilhelmina was turned down at Walgreens Pharmacy an hour later and could not buy Robitussin for little Benjamin – “Sorry, mam, your credit card has been frozen”. The credit card company said they were over their limit in the last hour because of the $6 K charges they had made in Boston at Bonwitt Teller. Moses was at home filling his snowplow with gas when those charges were made. The Whiffingtons had not mail ordered six gold Christmas gift bracelets to be sent by currier to an address only 2 blocks from the store.
The next day they got the notification from the famous MM Kean Outdoor Wear Catalog Company in Pawamatuxet, Maine that, as per application, a business account had been activated and the first shipment of Wully Pully cashmere sweaters in the amount of $12,000 had been shipped, as per instructions, to Whiffington Outlet Bazaar in Amarillo, Texas. And, MM Kean proudly announced “We are pleased to tell you that you’ve been authorized for the Platinum Credit Line of up to $60k. Congratulations and Happy Holidays!”
Moses and Willy are typical of millions of Americans whose credit information is stolen by cyber crooks. Then the long, frustrating, and angry process of trying to recover credit ratings and their good name begins. What a way to spend Christmas!
Moses was innocent and had mostly ignored news stories and reports about ID Theft. His company, Vizagnez Pharmaceutical Packaging had never run an employee training program on Identity Security and Moses who is VP of Marketing had never had alarm bells go off when customers complained that after doing business with Viz (as the company is known) they suddenly had unauthorized charges in the tens of thousands on their company accounts. Little did Moses know that the marketing web site had been hacked, spyware installed, and vital, confidential information leaked out on customers accounts.
Moses called me on my cell and I authorized a download of our book on ID Theft as my Christmas present to him and his family. He followed the check-list of ten steps and is now spending New Years applying for new and more secure credit cards. He also has ordered a complete security review of all customer data. My associate and I are flying out to Boston to do a one-day training seminar for all employees at Viz Packaging. This seminar will be archived and available for all new Viz employees who are required to take it and pass the certification testing of our ID Secure CompanyÔ training program.
Meanwhile, preoccupied with cutting the size of the federal government and “getting government off your back”, the Congress and the Executive Branch have still not stepped up fully and robustly to enact much tougher and proactive identity theft legislation.
Last week Moses got a package from DHL Delivery Services that his corporate account for package delivery and small business credit had been approved. He expects to get approved for many more unsolicited business accounts and the charges that come with those as the thieves continue their spending spree.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and we hope that your New Year 2008 is free of these hassles.