Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Social Security number exposed: identity at risk

It wasn’t the kind of thing a spouse usually writes on what was clearly an envelope containing a paycheck.

“This could be bad.”

But the reason she wrote that was because what was on the address wasn’t the kind of thing you usually see included on envelopes.

It was my social security number.

It was a paycheck from a London publisher.

My invoice is standard boilerplate. It’s brief, to the point and contains no extraneous information that might lead to an aggravating pay delay.

That’s why I include the social security number right beneath my name and above my street address.

An English innocent thought it was just part of the address.

I wasn’t angry. It’s an understandable mistake.

The editor was very apologetic and explained that a new guy didn’t comprehend the potential ramifications of what he was doing.

Of course, I’m anxious.

My exposed social security number traveled about 3,700 miles and passed through the hands of who knows how many postal employees.

If even one them is of a nefarious bent, I’m screwed.

My identity could be stolen.

In the eyes of the government and all the financial institutions, I’ll become a ghost, a real nowhere man. If someone becomes me, it’d like I never existed.

I have to tell you, I’m seeing some upsides here.

Who wouldn’t like to start all over at 52?

I’ve always disliked having a February 15th birthday. The weather’s miserable, it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and that’s just too much silliness for two consecutive days.

Plus I share the birthday with suffragette Susan B. Anthony and she sucks up all the attention.


I declare my new birthday will be May 5.

The weather’s usually pleasant and I’d enjoy the idea that lazy thinkers are bound to believe bottles of high-end tequila are the default gift for any booze-hound born on Cinco de Mayo.

So my new DOB will be May 5


Yes, in my new identity I’ll be just 25 years old.

If I could apply the wisdoms I’ve acquired through 52 years in just half the time I’m sure I’d be a real world beater. 

And because siblings can present so many pesky family challenges to one another, I’ll be a single child.

Better, I’ll be an orphan single child.

Sorry, Mom. Been nice knowing ya.

I think the new me will list his occupation as “carpenter.” I’ve always loved working with wood, it’s a great trade, and it’d still leave me plenty of time to opine.

Sort of like Jesus!

The new me would like to have the old me’s same wife and children, but only after about 10 years of test driving the new me and all the great pick-up lines I’ve dreamed up years after they were any use to me.

For instance: “My, you have beautiful skin! How can I see more of it?”

Or, “Was it as difficult growing up beautiful for you . . . as it was for me?”

I think those lines would work better on some stranger than they did on my wife, who just rolled her eyes and told me to either change the channel to “Seinfeld” or just shut the hell up and go to sleep.

That may all sound like a lot of change. Really, it’s not.

I’m very satisfied with my little life, understanding that any identity thief is bound to be disappointed when he or she tries to hack my meager bank account.

Sorry, pal, I’m not too thrilled about that one either.

If I could change one thing about my new identity, it’d be to have the 25-year-old me be more relaxed, to understand that things usually do work out and that worry is our most unnecessary emotion. I’d like new-identity me be more kind and cheerful in the face of despairing circumstances that crowd all our lives.

And I’d like him to have more Samson-like hair.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Having your identity or social security number stolen is one of those things that you always think of as happening to other people but never to you. However, the truth is it obviously happens to millions of people every year and it could easily happen to you. It is great the you were able to spot what the editor had done so you can protect yourself in the future.