Saturday, 4 August 2007

Identity Theft


I HAD an email yesterday from one of those people who has a couple million dollars in the bank and needs my help to get their hands on it.

This one's father was a tribal king who had died in some wartorn African country. The nasty, nasty military junta has somehow managed to cock up the financial system – who’d have thought it? – and dead king’s beloved son and heir cannot get his inheritance out of the country.

Life’s such a bitch sometimes, isn't it?

This is where I come in. He can transfer the money out of the country to my bank account. What a stroke of luck. So could I possibly see my way clear to send all my bank details to a complete stranger called Prince Nkomo of Gaberone? I would be handsomely paid for my trouble.

Serve the poor bastard right if I'd replied and given him my bank account number. I reckon, given the parlous state of my finances, he'd feel so sorry for me he'd bung me a few thousand.

But I didn't bother. I mean, you don't want to lay that kind of guilt trip on an African prince who's just lost his dad to beri-beri, do you?

I wrote and suggested that maybe he could commit a little identity fraud and collect the money himself. That might sound a tad unethical but there are thousands of people here in Britain whose identities have been stolen and they probably don't even know it.

It's slightly worrying to think there may an Albanian gangster's moll with bright blue eyeshadow, spangly boob tube and dodgy perm claiming to be me. But good luck to her. I wouldn't want to be in her white stilettos for all the illegal immigrants in the Channel Tunnel.

Slightly more worrying is the thought that some eastern European called Boris, not au fait with British names, has stolen my identity. So if you see some barrel-chested Bulgarian minus his front teeth and with his hair Brylcreemed over his bald spot claiming he is called Patricia and lives in a little Devon village, let me know, will you?

Banks want us to believe they are vigilant. Have you seen those adverts where the bank is supposed to be suspicious because an elderly woman has bought tickets to a heavy metal concert on her credit card? Like no doting gran has ever bought anything for her grandson. But I digress.

Would my bank be suspicious if my credit card was used to buy a couple of thousand pounds worth of second hand plumbing equipment, a moustache comb and a year's supply of tinned cabbage soup and dumplings? Would it buggery.

However, I'd have some spotty graduate with a poorer grasp of English than any immigrant on the phone quicker than you could say "education, education, education" if my card had been used to buy a year's subscription to a gym and a crate of bottled water.

Even so, I was quite taken with this identity theft idea. Let some other poor bastard grapple with my bills, overdraft and standing order for See Which Celebrities Have Gained Half An Ounce This Week magazine. So I parcelled up all my bank details and passport, addressed them to The Most Recent Admission and posted them to an immigration centre.

A few days later, back they came in the post neatly folded and with a note: "Thank you for your donation. However, I have just been offered a job as Chief Executive Officer with British Aerospace and I feel taking on the identity of a provincial sub-editor would definitely be a retrograde step. Sincerely, Dr Asajabian."

There's just no helping some people.

28 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Identity theft would be much harder if human names accurately described their owners. How many impostors could pass themselves off as "Bit-tits Horse-face"?

laurie said...

this made me laugh out loud.
it's amazing to me, but every now and then one of those emails actually gets the spammer some dough.
go figure.

Flowerpot said...

wonderful - a good read, Table! I've never had ne of those but get those 'CONGRATULATION!!!!' (Note singular)- YOU HAVE WOJN THE OTTERY!!! or something. faint whiff of something not quite right...

The British Bird. said...

Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping in and posting, please do keep in touch! I love the West Coast of England, my favorite spot, is Rock, Cornwall. Our friends own the Rock Bakery, and the cornish pasties were to die for!
Something, I have not tasted in a while. The new hubby and I are planning our european vacation soon, so hopefully I can remedy that.
Cheers,
The British Bird.

Jo said...

Baha. Everytime me and my mum go shopping, the bank rings to check that her card hasn't been nicked. It's then we know we've had a good day ;)

IngeniousRose said...

As my sister works in one of the 'big 4' banks it would probably be totally unfair and disployal of me to say that I have little trust in banks and their privacy policies, and that if I had a million pounds in the bank I would be deeply concerned about banking in the UK! However I will have no need to worry for the foreseeable future!

Fat Sparrow said...

God, I wish someone would steal my financial identity. After the divorce from the Ex, my credit was well screwed. I do pity the person that tries it, though.

I got one of those e-mails in the other day, claiming that I had won the Irish Lottery. Um, yes, I'm sure the Irish government uses Hotmail accounts, so I'll be sure to get right back to you to claim my pot o' gold.

Akelamalu said...

This really made me chuckle!!!

Akelamalu said...

This really made me chuckle!!!

Akelamalu said...

ooops, I seemed to be chuckling that much I hit the publish button twice!!!

Mopsa said...

You wonder, don't you, if anyone could ever be taken in, and then an artist asks me if one of the email cons doing the circuit for over a year based on a promise to buy an artists' work, is actually the chance of a lifetime. It took 3 insistent messages from me to get them to understand that they must not touch it with a barge pole, never mind part with their bank details and cash. Tempted to send them your blog post.

Mid-lifer said...

I just got a marvelously solicitous and obsequious email from someone in Malaysia - wanted MY account details so they can put a big wedge into my bank account. Lucky I read your post Table as I was nearly taken in!

Actually had all of our combined cards cloned at Christmas - bank was on the alert as somehow, miraculously, the same card had been used at a Morrisons in Hampshire on the same day as a Farmer's Union in Thailand. Clever those bank fraud people - now if only I could perfect time/space travel I could make money from it.

Enjoyed this blog Table.

Mousie said...

This is brilliant.

Revenge is sweet!

curmudgeon said...

Ungrateful slobs. I've tried and tried to help out King Abjubabbaab (or whatever-the fark his name is) and his kin. Every time I request them ever so cordially to go perform sexual acts upon themselves first though, they send me a nasty reply.

Must be a foreign language issue. I just don't understand.

Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way!
I'm glad you got a chuckle.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

GB: I agree, Hairy Monster. Love, Hot Babe.

Laurie: I suppose it's very tempting to send off a few details if you think you might get some dosh at the end of it .... if you have half a brain, that is.

Flowerpot: Well done on winning the Ottery. I'm ealous.

British Bird: Rock is very posh! It's where the Prince William crowd go.

Jo: I don't think my mum has a credit card - I must persuade her to get one and take me shopping!

Rose: You occasionally read about banks making mistakes and sticking extra money in your account. Sadly, it has never happened to me.

Fat Sparrow: Funny! nationallottery@hotmail.com - doesn't quite sound right!

Akelamalu: Glad I made you chuckle - twice!

Mopsa: It must be tempting, though, if you really want to sell your work. Good job you could warn them!

Mid-lifer: If you can perfect time/space travel you will never have to worry about money again! Don't forget to leave a comment and tell me how you do it, will you?

Mousie: Brilliant link! Very funny.

Curmudgeon: I'm always tempted to lead them on but am afraid they will take some revenge somehow!

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