$3.7 Billion Ponzi Fraud Tricks Us With Another PCI TLA

Call it the attack of the Three Letter Acronyms (TLA). When the U.S. Justice Department this month issued a news release saying that a $3.7 billion Ponzi fraud scheme—what the department described as "the largest financial crime in Minnesota history"—was the fault of PCI, it certainly caught our attention. And when it further detailed that the fraud included PCI packages sold to Costco and Sam's Club, we were fascinated. Turns out, though, we were taken in again by one of the tons of PCI acronyms.

Instead of referencing our favorite payment card industry security group (Payment Card Industry), the Justice reference was to a business dubbed Petters Company Inc., named after its owner—and now defendant—Tom Petters. We've been similarly lured by medical stories about Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), Per Capita Income (PCI) as well as the tech-friendly Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). (Come to think of it, if any vendor wants to rent a shuttle bus at a major tradeshow to transport IT folk to payment security meetings, calling it "The PCI Bus" would be cool, in a nerdy play-on-words kind of way.)