Blog Life

Stealing the mayor’s identity

Friday, April 29, 2005

Normally, the TV news round here is a mixture of the banal and the depressing – a lot of drunk-driving judges and gang-related shootings (in Albuquerque, I should stress, not up here).

But last night KOBTV – the local NBC affiliate – put together some fantastic stories.

First we had the story of a Clovis school that was put on lockdown while police searched for a student seen entering the school with a 2 and a half foot long object wrapped in cloth. It turned out to be a giant burrito:

Then came the NM academic who’s been getting death threats for suggesting that at some point in the future, California, Arizona, NM and parts of Texas, Colorado and Mexico would break away to form their own country – La Republica del Norte.

And finally, the real kicker: TV journalist Mark Horner was not content with giving his credit card to his colleagues and getting them to buy stuff with it (including copies of a book by Horner himself, and a guide to preventing identity theft), so he borrowed the mayor of Albuquerque’s card.

We watched as mayor Martin Chavez handed over the card, and Horner went round the corner to buy a $70 sweatshirt with ‘Albuquerque’ written on it. The shop assistant looked at the card, and said, ‘Oh, you have the same name as our mayor.’ No kidding.

In none of the places did anyone even check the signature (Target even said that they don’t tell their checkout people to check any more). Actually in The Gap, the female production assistant was using Horner’s card, and she was asked for ID. She just said it was her husband’s card, and that was fine.

Compared to Europe, where signatures were always checked, and chip-and-pin technology now means you have to enter a PIN for each transaction, things here are really shoddy. But at least Albuquerque’s mayor is a good sport.

The companies’ reactions:

Posted by David in • Life