Friday, March 22, 2013

Reverse identity theft

A woman came to the desk today to complain that her PIN wasn't working to log onto the computer. At our library, your assigned PIN is the last four digits of the telephone number you've given us. Often people change phone numbers and forget to notify us, then try to get into their accounts with their new number as PIN. I figured this was probably what was happening here so I scanned the card, then asked her what her correct phone number was. Predictably, it didn't match what was written in her account, so I asked her (rhetorically, I thought) "So 123-456-1234 is an old number?" No, it wasn't. In fact, it was completely unfamiliar. As far as she knew it had never been her phone number or the number of anyone in her family. "But you are Miz. Johnson-Smith?" I asked. She wasn't. It turned out that "her" library card belonged to a complete stranger. I don't think she had stolen it. I think she was just as confused as I was. In fact, she was concerned because she had originally taken the card from her purse and she didn't know how it had gotten there.

Any ideas?


  1. I suspect Jerry Spinelli

  2. Hmmm....was it really her purse?

    Actually, I have seen people leave their library card at the self-checkout machines, and I can imagine a scenario where someone manages to leave her own card and take someone else's....

    1. The oddest thing was that she then found her own card, so it wasn't some sort of accidental trade.

  3. gremlins and poltergeists