Friday, October 4, 2013

Tell us how you really feel!

Tell us how you really feel!  Here's the question:
Do you think the member of Congress that serves your district is doing a better job than Congress as a whole?   
Tam says:
...if there's a lower bar than "better job than Congress as a whole", it's currently being used at a paramecium limbo contest.
Can't think of a better answer myself.  Nope, I can't.

“It's disgusting!”

“It's disgusting!”  I'll say it is.  And yet another reason (as if I didn't have enough already!) for me to be ashamed of my government.  As one Park Service Ranger put it:
“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
Sadly, I've come to expect such shenanigans from The One...

Credit card scam alert!

Credit card scam alert!  I just read about this clever scam yesterday, and then got an email (below) with much more detail in it.  The gist of this scam is that the bad guy already knows your credit card number (because they bought it from another crook, or because they have a credit card receipt with the number on it, etc.).  Now they want the CCV – that three-digit security number that you need for online purchases.  Here's how they get you to give it to them.
This is a heads-up for everyone regarding the latest in Visa fraud. Royal Bank received this communication about the newest scam. This is happening in the Midwest right now, and moving across the country.

This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself. One of our employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and I was called on Thursday from 'MasterCard'.

The scam works like this:

Person calling says - 'This is (name) and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460, your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?' When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address). Is that correct?' You say 'yes'.

The caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6-digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works - The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'. He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and look for some numbers'. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?'

After you say 'no', the caller then thanks you and states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do', and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. We were glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. We made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.

The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information, since they issued the card! If you give the Scammer your 3-digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement, you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of MasterCard' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. I dealt with a similar situation this morning, with the caller telling me that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain, and so on through the above routine.

It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful...
It's really easy to see how someone could be fooled by this.  The old rule is a good one: never, ever give out credit card information to someone who calls you...


Hypocrite-in-Chief: way, way back in 2006, Barack Obama was a Senator and George W. Bush was president.  In that year, when raising the debt limit was being debated, Obama said:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that "the buck stops here." Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Now fast-forward to 2013, and Obama is president.  Now he says that Congress “must” raise the debt limit, that it's obligated to do so, in order to pay the country's bills.

I long for a political leader who is actually an ideologue – someone who has beliefs, and behaves accordingly.  Instead, nearly our entire political class at the Federal level seems to be made up of opportunistic knaves like The One.  They don't have any actual beliefs, so far as I can tell – their motivation is entirely to further their own personal wealth, power, and celebrity...

Watch out!

Watch out!  This is exactly what McAfee was talking about just yesterday: Fake ObamaCare Insurance Exchange Sites Already Spotted.

Now this is getting completely out of hand!

Now this is getting completely out of hand!

This doesn't speak well...

This doesn't speak well for the quality of science papers these days...