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  • Don’t Mess With Retired People

    May 8, 2006

    If the government really wanted to find Osama Bin Laden, they would put my mother on the case.

    Not too long ago, my parents were victims of identity theft. Someone had stolen a check my mom had sent to someone out of the mailbox. Somehow they managed to gain access to my parent’s bank account and went on a spending spree. Mom tracked down the thief and assembled a case for the police in about 48 hours. That gives me an idea. “Identity Theft, She Wrote” starring my mom – that would make a great television series.

    The theft wasn’t discovered until mom opened her bank statement and saw that her account had been overdrawn. In the 51 years that she and my father have had a bank account together, it has never once been overdrawn. I can prove this because she has her bank statements and cancelled checks going back to 1955. She called the bank right away to make sure that they had received her recent deposits and in fact they had. However, her account had been debited several times. The bank gave her the phone numbers for the retailers who had debited her account and she was on the case.

    One hour later, my mom knew the name of the person who had accessed her account and gone shopping on-line. They had purchased several pairs of expensive men’s Nike basketball shoes, size 10. My dad wears Hushpuppies, size 8, so mom ruled him out. That and the fact that my dad is a little wary of technology and has refused to use the phone since they got a new-fangled touch tone. The “perp” had also signed up with a dating service with my dad’s name, but had used his own description. As if my dad couldn’t get the babes: At 5’8, I may be small in stature, but am big on having fun. I enjoy Wheel of Fortune, metal detecting and fine dining. Look for me at Ryan’s Family Steakhouse at 4:30pm. I’m a mid-70s former altar boy with a paid-for pacemaker that keeps me on the go. It wasn’t too long after that, that my dad started getting late night calls from gals named LaShonika and Yolanda, looking for a 6-foot-tall handsome young black man.

    The next day Mom got a post card from a company that sells exclusive sportswear reporting that they were sorry they were unable to fill an order due to lack of information. So she called them and informed them that someone else had been using her checking account and gave them his name. As they were writing down her information, the thief happened to call in again to place another order.

    In about 48 hours, Mom knew the thief’s name, age, address and the mailbox from which he had stolen the check. She had a case file assembled with photocopies and an Excel spreadsheet summary. She prepared documentation for the bank, the Post Office Inspector General and for the police – who couldn’t be bothered to come by the house and pick it up.

    The authorities did not pursue a case that was handed to them on a silver platter because the boy was under 18 and so he got away with several pairs of expensive shoes (which you know, you and I paid for) but no consequences.

    Mom says he’s probably out there messing with someone else’s accounts, but she says, “It won’t be mine!” And then adds, “It gives me one heck of a thrill to outsmart some young punk!”

    As I said, don’t mess with retired people. They have nothing better to do all day than plot revenge.

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