Debt Threat

Debt Threat

Outlet Department Store credit card, c1976
Outlet Department Store credit card. (Circa 1976).

Providence Journal columnist Bob Kerr reported on February 24, 2006, that a Scituate couple, Walter and Deanna Soehnge, had recently been investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. Why? Because they paid off their credit card.

You read that right. Deciding that the balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten way too high, they conscientiously paid off the entire $6,522 amount... and promptly came face to face with Big Brother. The credit card company, noting the unusually large payment, notified Homeland Security and froze the Soehnge's account.

The account was later freed up—the Soehnge's were apparently found to be no threat to national security—but no explanation was ever offered as to how paying a debt could be viewed as subversive behavior.

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