Diary of a Hack: Day Ten

The cop at the reception desk looked as if he worked undercover detail for the A2PD. Torn bluejeans. Nondescript sweatshirt. Hair sculpted into a stylish uplift. Eyes wary and watchful.

He took in my business-girl outfit along with the notebook and hefty manila file I carried.

"How can I help you?" His voice was as wary as his eyes.

I took a deep breath and began my sad tale.

The pale eyes grew wide. He stopped me. Asked me to repeat some of what I'd just told him. Listened some more. Shook his head slightly as if to shake off confusing thoughts. Then he repeated the main facts back to me.

He paused, as if not sure how to proceed. He glanced down again at my driver's license and business card. Then he asked the question I'd come to expect from law enforcement types over the past week.

"Have you lost any money to these people? Have they stolen from you?"

No, I told him, then reached for the same answer I'd given the Secret Service agent days earlier. "What they've stolen is my name, my business, my identity, and quite possibly my professional reputation." My voice shook slightly.

After a short discussion, he and I agreed that the Secret Service might have been misguided in directing me to my local police station. As he pointed out, this really belonged in the realm of national security, cyber crimes division.

It's true, he admitted, that the local police were occasionally able to track online fraud when bank accounts had been compromised or credit card abducted. But even then the results were less than satisfactory, since the perpetrators were often safely tucked away in Nigeria or other distant parts. "And if these guys who are impersonating you are running a scam from Russia..." he shook his head.

I tucked my notebook under my arm along with all the documentation I'd collected. Thanked him.

 As he handed me back my ID, his mouth worked itself into something approaching a smile. "I have to tell you, this is a really bizarre story."

I nodded.

"You must have been shocked when you found out."

I nodded again. And told him that "shock" was the operative word

"Sorry," he said. "But if there's anything else we can do..." his voice trailed away.

I returned his smile and walked past the grimy walls, out the door, through the construction site that used to be the A2PD parking lot.

The springtime sun was tempered by the gentlest of breezes. It felt delicious on my face. I decided to park as far as I could from the site of my next appointment, this one with a client.

I needed the walk. 




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