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The grinch who couldn’t steal Christmas

Categories: Uncategorized

So I and 40 million or so of my fellow Target shoppers got a great gift at Christmas. Our debit cards were hacked shortly before the holiday — the time of the most frenzied shopping possible, particularly for those of us who procrastinate on our purchases.
The loss of my debit card was really only a minor hiccup in the holiday shopping — there’s always cash or credit cards to back you up. But it’s the fallout from the loss of a debit card that hurts.
I love electronic bill paying and I do a lot of it. Most with my debit card. I have utility bills set up for payment with my debit card. The kids school lunches are paid by debit.
Movie services, book purchases, you name it and responsibilities that simply flowed in the background of my life suddenly had to be reinvented. Once I remembered that they existed.
I was far from alone, of course. My daughter, Elizabeth, discovered the problem first when she tried to use her debit card and was declined. Two or three times. A quick call to the bank, and she learned she was on a list of people impacted. I found out later that day when the bank called to let me know.
The 40 million number seems so big that you almost can’t believe it’s real. But one local bank reported that at least 350 of its customers were impacted. Multiply that times the number of financial institutions in Warren County and you have quite a list of people right here in Warren County who spent their holidays wondering if their bills were paid.
It was a huge wake up call as to how vulnerable people are when they live so much of their lives online. People are trying to hack our email addresses, our credit and debit card numbers, and even our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Some of it makes sense — there’s money to be made. Some of it makes no sense — my Twitter feed seems superficial at the best of times.
But what it really means is that we need to reach back and value what’s real, rather than the ephemeral wisps of reality that show up online, both in our lives and in our pocketbooks.
Next Christmas? Cash all the way.

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