Just ask the grandkids about me

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By W.B. Evans

Boy, I sure am feeling much safer.  For a few dollars each month I can now protect myself from identity loss.

Somebody wanting to be me... imagine that. 

According to the television commercials, somebody out there is just waiting to swipe my credit card and charge thousands of dollars to it. 

To tell the truth, with my credit score, that would be a real feat, if you get my drift.

You know, all this identification stuff is sorta hard to grasp.

Printed as plain as day  on my Social Security card is a note that it shouldn’t be used for identification purposes. 

However, when I recently tried to buy a big-ticket item, they asked me for my Social Security number. Evidently, they haven’t been reading the card. 

Of course, it was so the company could run my credit to see if the score was high enough on their scale to get permission to go further in debt.

Well sir, my score was somewhere between ashamed and disgusting on their scale. Lucky for me, I was fast on my feet.

“Somebody must’ve stole my identity,” I said. 

This good salesman was just as fast, though.  

“Sorry, but a lot of folks are getting their identities stolen,” he said. 

Nice of him to let me down easy.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an auto insurance reward check in the mail.

I hit pay dirt; the check was for the whopping $17.23, which will break most financial institutions.  

Being out of state at the time, I decided to drive 40 miles to the nearest branch of my hometown bank. 

Nobody was gonna cash a check for a non-resident. 

Since it was made payable to me and my bride, I put my John Henry on the sucker and got my wife to make her “X” right below mine and went to the bank. 

There was no one in line at the handy, convenient, speedy drive-thru, so I pulled up, slipped the check into the capsule and watched it get sucked into the bullet proof cage where the teller was sitting.

She looked me over like Mama did when I had a case of the big church fidgets.

The teller even stood up to give me the once over. 

“I’m sorry,” she said, speaking through the microphone. “Both parties have to be present before we cash this.  It’s a matter of proper identification.” 

All of this for a check that was less than a bill with Andrew Jackson’s image on it.

I asked her to shoot me back one of those containers.

I proceeded to fill it with several identification cards and shot it back to her with a pretty dirty look. 

The teller kept rattling on about identity theft.

“Ma'am, this check is so small that no decent crook would attempt to cash it,” I said.

Bless Pete, it took almost $17.23 worth of gas to come get it cashed. Finally, she sent me my money in a nice sealed envelope.

No doubt there were crooks hiding in the bushes, itching for the chance to take a ten, a five, two ones, two dimes and three brownies from my cash envelope. 

Just to be on the safe side, I got a wheel pulling away out the bank parking lot. Then it dawned on me that someone may report me as a bank robber.

Thank goodness the next three traffic lights were green and I felt relieved that no blue lights were flashing behind me.

I stopped at a Food Lion for a loaf of bread. I got in line to pay, opened the envelope and handed the crisp 10-spot to the cashier. 

Bless Pete, the cashier ran a marker over it make sure it was legal tender. I was dumbfounded. 

“We gotta check ’em to make sure they are the real McCoy,” she said. 

To tell the truth, the current bills sorta look like the money we used to buy Park Place and Broadway with.

When I got back to my granddaughter’s house and repeated my check cashing/bread buying experience, they laughed and proceeded to run their junk mail through a shredder making sure that no one would rummage through their garbage in the wee hours and steal their identity. 

This identity stuff has gone haywire. Funeral homes can’t even give you with the address of a deceased friend so that you can send a condolences card. They think you might be a grifter trying the grab a few dollars from a hurting family.  

It’s not a good idea to put your name on your mailbox, anymore, either. Someone will knock on your door, mention your name which they got off the box and scam you.

But all isn’t lost. I have come up with a solution.

All it takes for me to beat this identity theft business is to carry one of the grandchildren or a great-grand with me.

From now on, when somebody asks me who I am, I’ll point to whichever one is there and say, “ask that one.” I know what the answer will be.

“That’s my grandpa.”

Works for me. Now if we could only get government to come up with cheap, common-sense solutions.