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Vail Daily column: Stealing numbers for fun and profit

Knowing that so many of you out there in the Happy Valley are truly fascinated by my personal financial issues, allow me to further enlighten my adoring fans with the latest episode of “Dick and His Magically Reproducing Credit Card Number.”

You will recall my now infamous column about credit card theft, and how my number was stolen last July and then, surprisingly, again in December, just in time for convenient Christmas shopping.

Everyone remembers that, right?

But what you don’t know, and are about to learn, is it was stolen again in January, and then yet another exciting theft occurred in February.

Yep, four credit card numbers stolen and used out of state (preferred locale: Walmart’s in Illinois) in the last seven months, with three of them in a short 60-day window.

Notice I say “numbers,” as the card itself has never left the comfort of my little ol’ backside courtesy of my wallet with a handy-dandy “Scanner Guard,” but the 16 digits, along with my name and expiration date, have magically traveled across the country with me receiving nary a single Mileage Plus point.

Like McConnell and Boehner pretending to take a stand, this is getting old.

Fifteen years with only one credit card.

Fifteen years of paying off the balance each month.

Fifteen years of never having an issue, and now seven months of calling a few dozen online merchants, utilities, banks, insurance, etc. to update to the latest number with the regularity of Joe Biden groping a world leader’s spouse.

I want this to stop, but possess no clue as to how to make it so.

I’m called a lot of things, but “alarmist” is not one of them, yet this is really getting out of hand here. The vast majority of friends I know in Happy Valley have had their numbers ripped off during the last few months, and when you add that to the folks that contacted me after the first column, well, the frustration level is mounting faster than a Clinton “Email Defense Fund.”

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Department is doing all they can, which unfortunately is very little. Most of you read the Page 2 story a few weeks ago in the Vail Daily about credit card theft being a severe countywide issue, but these creepy little thieves are part of a much larger network, and they are somehow taking advantage of us all, tourists included.

In fact, tourists are undoubtedly the biggest single reason ski towns are being targeted, and that’s why the problem is not too serious in, oh, let’s say, Aspen (HA-HA-HA-HA, come on people, it’s a joke).

Anyway, while I am all for moving to a cash-less society, we have a few years’ worth of kinks to work out first, and in the meantime I’ll keep using cash whenever I can.

Funny side note: While I was finishing this column on Sunday afternoon, my oldest called (27, engaged and living in Edwards) to say his credit card number had been stolen again. It was a replacement card that he only had for about two weeks, so I suppose I don’t mean funny as in ha-ha, but in a come-on-this-is-just-getting-ridiculous sort of way.

Wouldn’t you just love to catch one of these punks in the act?

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.

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