You know identity theft has gone mainstream when pen manufacturer Uni-ball launches an ad campaign touting a high-security ink designed to fight ID fraud. Uni-ball has hired Frank Abagnale, the con artist turned FBI consultant portrayed in the Hollywood film ???Catch Me If You Can,??? as a pitch man. He???s hawking the Uni-ball 207, which uses ???specifically formulated ink??? that bonds to paper fibers. The goal is to prevent check washing, in which a con artist steals a check from the mail and washes off the ink, then writes out the check to himself for an arbitrary amount.
Says Mr. Abagnale in a video clip on behalf of the product: ???Something as simple as paying attention to the pen you use gives you a head start in fighting the crime of identity theft.???
I???m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, educating consumers about identity theft is an important step in prevention. On the other hand, an anti-ID-theft pen just seems silly.
Rather than worry about what kind of pen you???re using, you???re better off dropping checks into a U.S. mailbox or at a local post office.
Sure, postal employees can steal checks, so if you???re really that paranoid go ahead and buy the pen. But that???s what bothers me most: Uni-ball???s blatant attempt to scare consumers into thinking there???s a national epidemic of check theft.Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio