Halifax — Mario Kuznetsov, a Dartmouth-based identity thief, has been having a rough go of it lately.
The Manatee sat down with him in a parked car outside a Shoppers Drug Mart. “It’s really hard some days,” he mused, while he used a long-range scanner to hack people using iPay.
“Like just the other day I hacked into this lady’s email and sent phishing messages to her children, asking them for their SIN numbers because she was applying for CPP. Fish in a barrel, right?
“So I sign them up for a half dozen credit cards each, and guess what? Rejected every time. I even had reservations in Aruba I had to cancel. Some people just have no financial management skills at all.”
Kuznetsov, a 30-year veteran of the industry whose house, car and even CAA membership are in other people’s names, admits things have gotten tougher lately. “Used to be that people were responsible and saved, you could get 10 grand in credit and clear out their savings accounts all in a day’s work. But nowadays, people don’t care. They rack up credit card debts and dump them. It’s like, do you even understand the value of credit?”
We followed the longtime professional to Sobeys, where he stood in a checkout line, discreetly taking photos of the next customer’s credit card as they were paying.
“I blame lax societal standards,” he said. “Like, take this person here. She’s buying expensive coconut oil and kombucha with her Visa, so you’d expect lots of available credit, right? But I guarantee you, when I get home and try to order a pool table online, that card is gonna be maxed out just like the others.
“Society is promoting this anything-goes, live-for-today message that is totally irresponsible.”
The savvy veteran takes it in stride, though. “Like any business there are boom and bust cycles. You just gotta try and ride it out.”
A smile spread across his face when a well-dressed, elderly man who bayonetted Nazis during WWII shuffled past in a walker.
“You just gotta have hope.”