It has been 30 years since I opened this one credit card billing statement, but I’ll never forget the moment of seeing an amount I couldn’t pay, for stuff we hadn’t bought.

It turned out to be one of two such statements, and the second was three times larger than the first. Sure enough, two credit cards were missing from my wife’s purse. We eventually found out that they had been stolen from our locked car while parked in a nearby town. My wife, who grew up in a rural and trusting area of Illinois, had covered her purse with a towel beneath the dash of our car. That didn’t fool the thieves, who apparently had a nice time at nearby retail stores with their morning’s work.

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