Corporate bank robber
Interview with Jim Stickley, 35, co-founder of TraceSecurity, Baton Rouge
by Jenny Mero, FORTUNE Magazine

(FORTUNE Magazine) - It's a fantasy job to rob a bank. It's the greatest. I get hired by banks around the country to help tighten security policies.

First we get in and steal information, then we come back and explain how to prevent it. We go in as pest control, health inspectors, and fire-safety officials. I went to a local supply store and bought a firefighter outfit, a badge, and a walkie-talkie with prerecorded chatter.

People don't bother to see if the badge is real. Once we're inside, it's pretty easy to get information. People assume you want to be left alone. We pretend we need to check computers for fire hazards, and then we insert keyboard captures that grab information. Or we go into the server room and install devices that allow us to hack in.

We've gotten a treasure trove of information: Social Security numbers, addresses, and account numbers. If the employees don't leave me alone, I tell them I have diarrhea and need to use the restroom. Then I stay there for 15 minutes. I know they'll be too embarrassed to wait. A good bank robber needs to know how to act under pressure and talk his way out of anything. Top of page