Friday's Editorial

Another inconvenient truth

It used to be crime was just your regular stuff. Some idiot tries to rob a bank, another one breaks into a home. It wasn’t what we want in a community, but it was more or less vanilla crimes. Bad guys will always be around, that’s why we have the good guys.

But reading the headlines today, those vanilla crimes have morphed into swirls, sprinkles and new flavors none of us can pronounce. A lot of it is due to the plethora of new drugs - especially synthetics and crack and meth. One can almost feel sorry for those criminals. Anyone who goes out of their way to potentially blow themselves up just so they can ingest rat poison can’t be all there mentally.

But the new big city crime is ID and financial card theft. These crimes take a little more thought, and there is some level of intelligence involved. Technology, rather than various drugs, are involved. We are fortunate we live here. We don’t have to worry about some kid in his mother’s basement taking our financial information and buying thousands of dollars worth of the latest video games du jour. Or worse.

Whoa there, John Boy, think we were just having one of those “The Waltons” moments. Time for a reality check.

And the reality is hundreds of Coweta County residents are victims of ID and financial card theft. Last year countless people had untold thousands of dollars stolen by criminals using skimmers that can steal your debit card account numbers and PINs. Those were all taken from area gas stations near the interstate. But not two weeks ago, similar thefts hitting about 100 people were reported at a local bank involving $45,000. Again, debit card information and PINs taken. Purchases from those stolen cards were made from Texas to Florida.

Debit cards are a huge convenience. Who likes standing behind someone in the grocery line writing out a check, and then digging around to find their license, and waiting while it’s all approved? Debit cards - swipe and go. It’s easy. And therein lies the problem. Technology creates wonderful conveniences, but like anything, in the wrong hands it can wreak financial havoc.

We urge you to take proper measures, especially around gas stations. Financial experts will tell you to use credit when possible. If you must use a debit card, take a couple of extra minutes and do it inside with the clerk. Constantly check your bank accounts for any suspicious activity.

It may seen inconvenient. But having to deal with stolen financial information is a lot more inconvenient.

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