Victims Of A Lax Courier Service

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - March 21, 2007

Did you catch this story? According to published reports, the state Department of Education had to tell parents of kids in 18 public schools that they’re at risk of identity theft because their courier managed to lose cash and sensitive information while taking a break.

You gotta be kidding, right? Where does one start? First of all, let’s look at the word “courier.” The etymology is in the French, “currere” or “to run.” defines a courier as “... a messenger, usually traveling in haste, bearing urgent news, important reports or packages, diplomatic messages, etc. ...”

The report says that more than $25,000 in cash and checks were stolen from their armored car company while parked in a McDonald’s restaurant in Haleiwa. I suppose this courier was “traveling in haste” to get to McDonald’s before breakfast was over.

Regardless of the available menu, the courier was employed by - that’s right - an armored car company. Why is the DOE spending thousands of dollars with an armored car company when you could just as easily leave your Honda Civic in the parking lot and get ripped off for free? At least with the Civic, they’ll finish the job and take the money and the whole darn car!

One normally thinks of armored cars as being impenetrable. There are usually very large, stern men with guns who lumber out of the vehicle to unlock the back of what appears to be a thick, gun-metal-gray Hummer. They get in, they get out and they are on their way. Good gig.

So when we hear that thousands of dollars in cash and checks are stolen from (assuming this is one of those massive pseudo-SUVs) an armored vehicle, it makes us wonder how that is possible. You would think the courier would have at least set an alarm, used “The Club” or even “The Clapper” to secure the vehicle. Guess not.

The challenging part of this story is the stolen checks. How would you like to know that your personal check, with full name, address, phone and account numbers, is now in the hands of criminals. We are told we shouldn’t provide this type of information online over a secured site. Some tell us we shouldn’t even think of our Social Security numbers in a crowded room. But in this case the parents are sweating it out because Joe Courier had a Big Mac attack.

The bottom line on this story is an agency, business or individual hires a courier service to deliver important items door to door. I’m going out on a limb here, but one of those doors isn’t supposed to be attached to a fast food joint.

The courier, and the company, not only did a disservice to their client - the DOE - but they compromised the financial integrity of innocent families.

This story should serve as a red flag to those who transport sensitive items via courier services. Be very careful with whom you choose to do business.

At least this wasn’t a story where hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing at the airport ... oops, that’s another story.

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