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ID theft and the adventures I never experienced

  • Published
  • By G. A. Volb
  • Ogden Air Logistics Center Public Affairs
Luckily for us, the 21st century offers ample opportunity to enjoy cultures once too far away by plane or car to experience. In fact, with internet access and ever more efficient air travel opening doors to distant cultures, we sit on the verge of a global society; a worldwide culture unlimited by nation state isolationism and strict borders.

One day you can be in New York, Colorado or, yes, Utah, and the next day in Tokyo, Seoul or Manila. Ah, the pleasures of being able to travel freely in a world much more open to cultural exchange and free trade.

I, for one, have enjoyed traveling for much of my adult life: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Palau, Australia, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Honduras, El Salvador etc. etc. I just find jumping into the deep end of foreign cultures a “blast.” And it doesn’t take me long to make a decision; pack a carry on and jump on a plane.

For instance, in the past two weeks I found myself doing just that; I would be eating breakfast in Clearfield and then jet off to Montreal for a day of shopping. I’d return for a day or two only to repeat the process; I’d hit Montreal’s novelty stores and local businesses in the morning, and then fly back to Layton for dinner. But that’s me; I’m a 21st century jet setter. Or at least that’s what my bank statement seems to say I am.

You see, recently, while perusing my bank statement, I came across some odd transactions. It seems, according to the details, that I would be eating lunch or dinner in the local area, then hop on my private jet to Montreal for a day of leisure shopping. I say “my private jet” only because it made more sense given the timeline of my transactions.

Over a week-long period, I apparently did this some five times: chilling in Utah for part of the day and then traveling to Montreal for, well, just about anything apparently – novelties, groceries, petrol etc. The only problem was I’ve never been to Canada.

I can’t say the same, however, for my debit card number which seems to be helping someone enjoy the local culture of our neighbor to the north.

Between $400-$500 later, I called my bank to cancel the card, put a track on the purchases and dispute each. And they were more than helpful in the process, though irritating as it was to endure. It didn’t, however, do me any good for the three or four days my checking account was wiped out (though being unable to leave the house I caught up on a lot of school work – the silver lining so to speak).

I bring this up only as a warning to everyone, as the world via the internet and travel options becomes smaller and smaller, the chances of identity theft increase. I urge close monitoring of your accounts and don’t hesitate to challenge questionable purchases. Ironically in my case, since I’m really not worth that much, the “thugs” in Montreal didn’t make a killing. The same can’t be said for everyone though, and that’s when it would really hurt. Anyway, it’s just a thought.

As for me, I’m going to check my account today just to see if I explored any other exciting cultures over the weekend.