Friday, March 20, 2009

Identity Theft

When I read a newspaper, one of the first things I turn to is the Letters to the Editor. But, I’d never actually written one myself until the Arkansas Democrat Gazette did away with their Sunday Book Section. That got my attention.

I quickly penned a thoughtful, courteous letter explaining my great sense of loss and sent it in.

A few days later, I got a call. It was a woman from the newspaper, wanting to verify my identity. Sometimes, she explained, people write letters to the editor and sign someone else’s name, so before we print your letter we need to be sure that you are actually the one who wrote it.

Well, I can understand that. I’ve read some letters I’d be pretty upset to see my name at the end of. But a nice, polite letter about the Books Section?

And how would I prove my identity? I could just fax or e-mail them a copy of my drivers license, she told me. “That’s a little extreme,” I said. “I hate to just give out personal information.”

She said that she noticed from my e-mail address that I worked at Harding University. A copy of my Harding ID card would do.

So, I sent it in. I don’t think anybody’d want to steal my identity at Harding, do you? If they do, maybe they’ll only take the part of me that has to grade Freshman Comp papers.

1 comment:

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Sounds drastic, I know, but it actually is standard practice with newspapers. They can be sued for libel if they don't. Not that you'd sue about that, but cranky old Stephanie Eddleman from Cabot who hated the book section and was getting co-opted by her sneaky friend Miss Higginbotham and had her name attached to something she never said and never believed might. So. They say it's about your identity, but really it's about them keeping their legal insurance.