The Wheels On The Bus Go Brrrrrrr

, , , , | Legal | March 21, 2021

At the time of this story, the public transit tickets in my city were low-tech cardboard rectangles, with printed serial numbers as their only security device. At work, we’d occasionally joke about how easy it would be to counterfeit the tickets. I never took it seriously; it cost around $80 per month to commute to work on the bus while our company gave us $400 per month, tax-free, to cover downtown parking.

But one of my coworkers always seemed to bring up the subject of fake tickets. Although he had the reputation of being a man who always looked for an edge, no one believed he’d be that cheap.

Then, one fateful Tuesday, the coworker came in three hours late. He just said “something” had happened on his bus and he didn’t want to talk about it. Then, in the late afternoon, he was called into the manager’s office, and twenty minutes later, he was marched out the door with his personal effects.

It turned out he had done more than just talk about counterfeiting tickets. On that day, the transit police had arrested him as he was about to drop a phony ticket into the bin. His downfall was that he had only copied one ticket over and over so the five he had in his wallet were the same — and identical to several dozen that they had accumulated over a few months. He faced a misdemeanor and a hefty fine.

And, of course, he’d used our company’s high-quality color printers to make them. As luck would have it, we’d had an IT audit the night before. It seemed our printers kept digital records of what was printed and who printed them, and his ID came up associated with the images he’s been forging.

To save less than $1000 per year, he risked and lost a six-figure salary. Talk about instant Karma.

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