Playing the Credit Game

Dewey liked to play the angles. If there was an opportunity for him to take advantage of a situation or of someone else he would do so. Especially if it meant easy money without the need for work.

Recently, Dewey had turned to new credit card and bank account deals. The FBI called it identity theft, and claimed it was the fastest growing crime in America. Dewey preferred to call it selective borrowing,
and it was so easy and so lucrative he’d wished he known about it sooner.

Dewey had learned that by obtaining someone’s social security number along with basic personal information he could obtain a credit card and a bank account. The accounts would be in the unsuspecting person’s name but available for the use and benefit of Dewey, who moved from city to city to ply his special talents.

Dewey had just obtained the personal information from an elderly gentleman named John Logan. It was all so easy. He called up Mr. Logan pretending to be a utility company representative. He said he needed the information to update the company’s files. Mr. Logan was all too nice and willing and forthcoming.

Dewey’s friend could forge a driver’s license to perfection. His friend’s business used to be geared toward underaged teens who wanted to go bar hopping. The market now was for sharpies like Dewey. With Dewey’s photo and driver’s license carrying John Logan’s information and an address controlled by Dewey, the plan was put in motion. Dewey opened a bank account in John Logan’s name. He paid a few small bills and maintained good credit for a time. Then Dewey obtained a credit card in Logan’s name. All was ready to prime the credit pump.

With the credit card Dewey bought as much electronics as the card would allow. TVs, stereos and computers were easily fenced for cash. Dewey felt no remorse. The credit card companies and the national electronics retail chain made more than enough money. They could easily afford Dewey’s hit. So could old Mr. Logan for that matter. With his bank account Dewey wrote a large number of checks
on one weekend to a number of small retail outlets around town. The smaller stores didn’t have the ability to check cash availability. It was the weekend. The banks were closed. They took down John Logan’s driver’s license information and Dewey loaded up a rental U-Haul truck with his purchases.

By the time the checks started bouncing, Dewey was hundreds of miles away getting ready for his next selective borrowing. Unlike the credit card charges, which were absorbed by the credit card company and passed onto consumers around the world in the form of higher prices, the small retailers Dewey hit were not so lucky. When the bounced checks came back the retailer was responsible. They were out the
money they paid for the goods they handed over to Dewey.

The scam also cost the John Logan’s of the world dearly. Calls from the creditors and collection agencies, even when one is innocent, takes its toll. The crushing financial and resulting emotional stress of a stolen
identity is too much for many to take. For John Logan, a stroke followed.
He died shortly thereafter.
The stories of Donny and Dewey illustrate the extremes and the ironies of credit and debit problems facing so many Americans.

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