Political Insanity Project

Either I am clinically insane or am a glutton for punishment, but I am working on a thought project where I have registered an email address with each of the "major" party remaining campaigns as a supporter.  Now I am ready for the messages from Hillary, Bernie, Jeb!, the Donald, Marco, and the host of other characters that will be thanking me for my support and how I can help each of their campaigns achieve their goal of being leader of your "Fine Federal Government"....or at least until I am fed up with the whole project and delete the bs mailbox.  :)

I also am hoping to track how the various campaigns sell "my" information throughout the campaign and what other political ads I receive.  I fully expect by the end, the box will be inundated with Republican and Democratic propaganda on why I should support the ultimate candidate.

Data breaches galore

Over the past 40 days, we have seen a lot of information regarding data breaches.  Starting with the announcement of the Target breach, the following breaches have been confirmed.

  • Target - 40 million cars plus up to another 70 million ids/emails, etc.
  • Neiman Marcus - 1.1 million cards
  • Michaels?
  • Snapchat (I know, not card related, but still affects 4.6 million users)

There is also a report from January 13 that this may be the tip of the iceberg, as 3 more may yet to be announced, and the FBI on January 23 indicated that many more may be coming.

What does this mean?   First of all, if you shopped at any of these stores during the time that each store had announced, then watch your bank statements for unauthorized transactions.  Work with your financial institution to replace as needed.

As for after the breach, I believe that this may be a tipping point with regards to EMV in the United States, and perhaps debit cards in general.  EMV (also known as Chip and PIN) is a standard where each card has a chip on it in addition to the magnetic stripe.  The card is swiped and a PIN is entered that needs to match the chip within the card 3 times or the card is locked.  This method is used in Europe primarily and has been recently introduced in Canada, but is not foolproof either (add the fact that it migrates the liability from the financial institution to the end user).

Secondarily, I believe that the use of debit cards will decline (with an equivalent increase in credit cards and/or cash based on the consumer) as people's fear increases that a compromised debit card will lead to a lengthy personal situation as the financial institution works through the fraud and eventually restores the consumers money.  People have already moved to a cashless society, but they will need a platform they have trust in.

Something may be amiss....Money mule scam

Just for giggles this evening, I decided to go into the spam mailbox and see what the latest scam people are trying to pull are.  Tonight, there was over 20 in this one (unpublished) box with this theme....



Hmmm...all within the last day.  I wonder if I am looking for a job?  :)

As I open one up, you get what looks like the opportunity to be a money mule....oh joy!



Obviously, the only job opportunity is for an opportunity to either work for organized crime, or get your information stolen....probably both. At least Google warns you of this.

Friends don't let friends get pwned.

Ohs Noes...my computers havings problems

Ah...the joys of Saturday morning.  I am sitting here this a.m., while trying to convince Joshua that going to his friend's birthday party might be fun (and not winning), when we get a call with caller ID reading UNAVAILABLE.  It is election time, so I assume it is some campaign trying a last ditch effort to bull$**t me into voting for them.  However, Nicole had mentioned that she had been receiving missing several of these calls recently and I was curious what the call was.  I answer the call and have a large pause before I get an individual (ah...an autodialer, this is not a recorded message).  Finally, on the other end, comes a voice with a thick accent (likely Indian).

The "fun" begins.  The gentleman on the other end of the line picks up and asks for me by name.  Here is how the conversation went (not verbatim, but close enough to get the gist of the call:

"May I speak to Kirk Becker...."


"This is (name forgotten) from Online PC Support," (I think that was the name).  "I am calling you because you may be having a problem with your computer. "

"Okay...."  I think I see where this is heading...***SCAM ALERT ALARM SOUNDS GOING THROUGH MY HEAD***

"Yes, your computer has been reporting errors online to us.  Can you tell us what operating system you have?"

"Okay...um..."  Do I have time to play around with the guy?  Nah...I still have to help my youngest get dressed.  "I somehow don't think so.  You see, I am an IT professional that might have a clue on how my computer actually operates.  Please take me off your calling list."



Turns out this scam may be more widespread than I had originally thought.  Doing a quick google search brought me to the following website where at least 900 different people have commented about the scam, and there was a police crackdown in July in the UK on one of these outfits.  The website has links to several videos where people are on the phone with these "PC support experts."  Some reports from individuals getting called in the US can be found here.

Obviously, don't give them any more information or a credit card.  They are out to steal something from you.


I do hope ignore me and call back.   I would love to get help on an OS2 Warp system.  :)