Used to happen about once a week. Still does, about once a month: I get a how-can-you-say-no offer from some large financial institution. You know what I mean. The kind that says, “Hey SOG old man, wouldn’t you like a new car, maybe a beach-front condo? How ’bout a vacation in Hungary? Can do!!!”
All I need do is sign one of the handy checks they’ve sent me. Not to worry, all is copacetic. (Of course, the interest rate is around 20%, jumping to 30% if I’m late with a payment, but, what the hey, do it.)
So, suppose I do it. And then I vanish into the Hungarian hills. Who will make good on that $18,500 which National Bank of Friendship and Goodfellow Trust gave me?
Account managers at NBFGT, who shoved all that cash in my greedy palms, will they pay up?
Or the stockholders of Sleek and Slipper Hedge Fund, will they feel the pain?
Ar you kidding?
Know who’s going to lose?
The answer is neatly encapsulated in an AP story today, about a $200 million scam run by… well, it’s not clear who ran it. But the official money-shot quote:
The U.S. attorney in Newark, Paul Fishman, described an intricate Jersey City-based con that … used at least 7,000 fake identities to obtain more than 25,000 credit cards…. Investigators documented $200 million in losses, but the figure could rise, he said.
“Through their greed and arrogance,” Fishman said, the people arrested harm credit card companies, consumers and “the rest of us who have to deal with increased interest rates and fees because of the money sucked out of the system by criminals.”
So, the eighteen-five I ran off with will be paid back by you, my friends, that’s who.
You may not even notice it. See, Goodfellow Trust only has to complain to the feds about their terrible, unexpected losses, and ask that they be allowed an extra, say, an extra one cent a month on each account, to balance out that rogue SOG who ran off the the hills. And 12 cents a year from each of, say, two million customers, comes to only… hmm… comes to twenty thousand dollars a month. At that rate, they GT gets back my take in about four weeks flat.
I’m only sorry I took off with such a small pile.