Identity Theft and YOU! (Well, me, actually…)

Every month and a half or so, I assume the identity of someone I’m not and sign a signature that isn’t mine. Which, here in Canada, makes me guilty of the criminal offences of “fraudulently personating another person” and forgery.

Phew! I’m glad I got that off my chest.

In my defence, it’s all because of a silly mixup. And if ever I were taken to task for it, I would hope that any judge would be completely understanding of my plight and the motivation behind it (but just in case, please don’t turn me in!)

Here’s how it came about…

Every six weeks, my daughter requires a delivery of medical supplies. When hubby first set up our account with the medical supply company, he listed my daughter’s name (since they’re her supplies) and his name (since she’s a minor and an adult’s authorization was required and he was the one typing in the info).

So far so good.

Now comes the tricky part.

When the supplies are delivered to our door within 1 to 3 business days by our friendly neighbourhood Canada Post mail carrier, a signature is required. My daughter, who is always at school when the supplies arrive, and is, as previously noted, a minor, is therefore neither present nor eligible to sign for their safe receipt. And while hubby is over the age of majority by several decades (sorry, hon) and therefore eligible to sign, he’s always at work during the day when the supplies arrive, rendering him unavailable.

That’s where I come in (yes, she of works-from-home-and-is-always-here-but-is-not-one-of-the-names-on-the-account renoun).

The first time the supplies arrived and the carrier said, “Delivery for Luc or Vivianne M.)” I didn’t even hesitate. I signed my daughter’s name. Whether this indicates quick thinking or criminal tendencies is up for debate. But because I didn’t change my name when hubby and I got married (again: sorry, hon), I didn’t want to complicate things by using my own name and risk not being allowed to take the supplies.

This went on for several months with no issues. And since it was always the same carrier, we kind of got to know each other. We’d talk about the weather, he’d tell me about his weekend plans, I’d forge my daughter’s signature and he’d hand over the goods with a chipper, “Thanks, Vivianne! Have a great day!”

But then it happened: I screwed up. I must have been distracted, pulled away from some critical task like avoiding writing my novel or descaling my coffee maker. In any case, there it was in black and white (well, grey-tone, actually; it’s a digital signature on a tiny handheld device): my actual name, “Jen Y.”

The carrier looked at it, looked at me, looked back at the screen.

Thinking I was finally caught out, I was quick to explain why I was signing for a package that wasn’t addressed to me, stammering, “Vivanne is my daughter…”

He studied my face again. Then his eyes widened and he smiled.

“Wow!” he replied in disbelief. “Do you two ever look alike!”

I could have corrected him then and there, and in retrospect I should have. But sometimes situations get to the point where they’re just too embarrassing to even address. It’s simply easier to play along.

So to our friendly neighbourhood Canada Post mail carrier, I’m still Vivianne most days (apparently she’s home more often than Jen). To the point where he even asks me to “sign for your mom” when he delivers her (I mean “my”) Nespresso capsules for my (I mean “her”) pristine coffee maker.

I never meant to live a life of crime. But I’m in so deep I can’t get out now. And I’m pretty sure that “Well, Your Honour, I was too embarrassed to stop” is not a valid legal defence for my actions.

So if ever the authorities catch, convict and lock me away, just be sure to tell my husband and my mom (I mean “my daughter”) that I did it all for them.

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