Security Clearance

I have watched with some amusement and alarm the struggles of certain White House aides to get security clearance. Changing their stories and accessing lapsed memories hardly makes them look trustworthy.  Crystalbay’s unfortunate experience with a on-line scammers is another reminder of the dishonest among us.

How do you judge someone’s honesty? Have you ever been scammed? What is your favorite story or movie about con people?

60 thoughts on “Security Clearance”

  1. My favorite con story is The Sting. The score adapted from Scott Joplin’s material is excellent. Newman and Redford are great.

    I rarely have need of judging someone’s honesty but one fellow workmate tested it severely. I was charged with running a large hospital job. At its height, my crew numbered two dozen installers. My responsibilities included making sure they were on time and submitting correct time back to the office and the union. This was a weak system which depended significantly on the honesty of the worker. Each person would fax in a form with the hours they worked and verbally tell me how long they had worked that week. One person happened to use the job trailer’s machine but left the fax copy in the hopper that showed eight hours on a Saturday. The job site was shut down that Saturday due to a power failure. He lied to the office and then he lied to me. Rather than confront the guy directly, I choose to submit what I knew to my immediate superior. To my knowledge, nothing was done. He was not fired but was moved off my job. I reported to the union rep and was told, “Oh, that’s just Jimmy!” Got it. I’m supposed to submit false records to the union. That form is a monthly chart, so before handing it over to the union, I put a big red X on that guy’s Saturday with an arrow to a one-word note at the bottom, “Liar”. I still work for that company and am still in the union but that was the last large project I’ve been assigned to run. That is fine with me.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes hear something in a person’s voice that tells me the other person is lying. It doesn’t trigger every time someone lies (researchers tell us people lie A LOT). And yet I sometimes get this tingle that tells me the speaker is lying . . . and knows it. I think what I’m hearing is fear, suppressed fear.

    That happened in an interesting situation. I had been experiencing pain and stiffness in my right shoulder. I took a test for rheumatoid arthritis, and the results came back negative. But the pain persisted and I kept losing motion in my joints. I went back to my clinic, getting a young woman who was interning. We chatted about my issues.

    I remember telling her, “Well, I know it isn’t RA. I was tested, and it isn’t that. Even if it were RA, I guess that’s no big deal these days. They have medications to control it.”

    The intern said something comforting. Suddenly my liar meter exploded and pegged out. I knew in that moment that I had RA even though the test hadn’t caught it yet. More than that, I knew from the terror in my intern that RA is not a mild thing because of medications. She knew things she didn’t want me to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sometimes get a message from a random, non-phone company site when I am looking at Facebook the my phone is suddenly infected with a virus and I need to follow their inatructions to get rid of the virus. I just ignore it, since it is a scam.

    The ND State IT office sends fake phishing emails to state employees that we are to identify as such by clicking the phish button on our State Email browser. If you get fooled and open the email, our beleaguered local IT guy has to give you a talking to and provide you with more education. They have yet to fool me, but a surprising number of people get fooled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My company has started doing this as well. There was one last week that caught several of my peers. I couldn’t believe it as the font of the email was in orange; one of our company colors is orange, but really folks, orange font in an official communications? Sheesh.

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  4. I got a weird email today. It was from a “friend of the A. Family.” Apparently this family is suffering bad effects from Lyme disease (although from the family photo included, you certainly can’t tell they’re suffering) and therefore are in need of money so a fundraising website has been set up. And 100% of the funds will go to the family in need. Ain’t that sweet? The problem is, not only did they not tell me how Lyme disease has ruined this family’s life, which makes me wonder why I’m supposed to just believe this because this “friend” told me so, but also I have no idea who this family is. Boom. This one got marked as Spam, but it got points for being less obvious than most spam emails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got an email yesterday from a friend that said “Hi Bill” and then included a link to something. I hope you all know if you get something like that, whether or not it looks like it’s from someone you know, you delete it without touching the link. Scammers can access address books to send “spoofed” messages to all the contacts. This is the second bogus email I’ve gotten from this person’s account. The last one was several years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anyone’s account can get hacked. Sure you can take your precautions, and be sure to change your pass words regularly, but I’d hope that if any of my friends get what are “suspicious” emails from me they’d let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Once malware gets in someone’s computer, it lurks unless cleansed. My next door neighbor’s computer got infected years ago. Now I get phishing emails from him about six times a year. Those are easy to avoid.

        The ones that are more deceptive appropriate the stationery of my bank and show me they have some of my vital information. I’ve never fallen for any of these, but a time or two the most slick deceptive emails tempted me until caution set in.

        Some of my private information shows up in these emails. I think the bad guys are able to purchase a lot of that stuff, even if I am careful.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I had an acquaintance (emphasis on “had”) who was an accomplshed liar. This person told lies that were just close enough to the truth that what was said sounded very compelling. Once I caught on I found I couldn’t believe anything the person said.

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  6. Two months ago, my call to whom I thought was a Canon support tech wound up with seven $100 gift cards being charged to my Amazon account. I closed my bank account, but unfortunately not until two weeks had passed. I didn’t know this happened until I got my bank statement.

    I pleaded my case with Amazon; they said I’d be refunded the money. 10 phone calls to them and half a dozen emails saying “Your refund is being processed” later, I got fed up and looked for an alternative Amazon number to the one I’d used for the two months. Amazon kept repeating that my issue was in the hands of an “Account Specialist”. The guy who answered said, “Amazon Account Specialist; how can I help you?” After telling him the whole story, he assured me that he could electronically send the refund to my bank directly. He just needed a little information. Which I stupidly provided. My banker told me that I was being scammed, but this time I closed my account soon enough that efforts to steal money from it were stopped.

    That’s the abbreviated version. After the very same thing happened two months ago, my son excoriated me. “Mom – don’t EVER give out your credit card info!!”. Right now, I’m shaken to my core that I fell for this again. It didn’t help when he texted; “Mom, it may be time for you to turn over your financial keys to one of your kids”. I’m questioning my own competence and sanity and feel like I’m trying to stay afloat in a tank of scamming sharks.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Re trust and Trumpy’s plan to train and arm some teachers. Two of my former colleagues were here this week. We discussed which teachers would volunteer.
    One a bumbling, uncoordinated idiot with no judgment
    One an Asst Principal who stalked the halls trying to catch kids breaking his many rules, who was disgusted when he had to stop paddling students. He was vicious with the kids in constant trouble, meaning kids from bad homes, a dedicated NRA Republican
    One an old grump who hated the world.
    One a young grump who hated kids, with poor judgment
    One who insisted on full enforcement of all rules but who broke rules and expectations for teachers, such as being in his classroom
    Most of the rest would not want a gun and would not have trusted themselves with a gun, would have hated the added burden
    I take this to be fairly typical.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it is speculation at this point. But I suspect that Clyde may very well be right, if this were to pass, that the ones who would volunteer may well be ones you’d least want to have that kind of “authority.”

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  8. By he way…. Blevins Book Club tomorrow. This is the one we delayed two weeks ago due to possible flu contagion. Occasional Caroline’s house. Frog books.

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  9. I guess I largely use intuition to tell me if I’m dealing with honesty or not. I have been scammed, almost wired money when I was convinced a friend was in dire straits while traveling. I now say “Never again – I’ll be vigilant”, but if I was fooled once, I imagine I could be fooled again in the right circumstances. There are days when I just don’t want to think that way, the you have to be on your guard all the time. On the other hand, I am more and more wary of the words that come out of any politician’s mouth.

    There are several mystery writers who deal with honesty, and betrayal – I just finished a book by Louise Penny, “A Great Reckoning”… will try to remember more.

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  10. My favorite con movie is The Usual Suspects. It’s a delightful movie. As you all know, I’m not good at remembering the finer details of films, but I do recall that this film has so many twists and turns that it’s a real challenge to keep track of what’s going on. The final twist is a real jaw dropper. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. Very entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t recall if we discussed this on the Trail before…but there is a scam where someone calls you saying they are from the IRS and threatens dire consequences if you don’t pay up immediately on some debt that you purportedly overlooked. Then they tell you that you can pay with iTunes or Amazon gift cards if you prefer. I thought that was pretty funny.

    I had my identity stolen by someone attempting to file a false tax return. The IRS did not fall for it, and I was not out any money or anything. I have a seven year fraud alert on my SSN now. One benefit is that when the Equinox breach became public, I didn’t have to do anything. I was already covered. Those who were offered free credit monitoring for a year and took it have relinquished their right to sue. If there is a class action lawsuit I can still sign up for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve gotten several of those phone calls. With anything like that that doesn’t smell quite right you can google snopes or the attorney general and get confirmation that it’s a scam.

      We had a false return filed with our SSNs this year and our e-filings were rejected. It turned out that our accountant’s site had been hacked. We’re not out any money, but we are on high alert and have fraud alerts placed on all our acounts. The accountancy firm is funding a credit monitoring service for all the clients.

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      1. I think the IRS will issue PINs for all taxpayers within a couple of years, because so many people have had their numbers compromised. The Equinox breach leaked some 140 million social security numbers. Anyone who wasn’t affected was pretty lucky.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Weird. Paying the IRS with iTunes or Amazon gift cards? That is very strange and you would think that would tip off anybody that something is not right with the deal.

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  12. My father told me if a scam from his childhood in the 1920’s in which people around Luverne were duped out of money to salvage Christopher Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria. They were promised a share the gold on the sunken ship ince raised from the ocean bed.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi— About a month ago one of my bank cards was compromised.
    I was at the Met in HD opera movie and at intermission I checked my email. Two emails from the bank, just standard ‘your card was used’ notifications that I have set up. The first one was in Blaine MN at a Caribou Coffee and since Kelly was in the cities that day I didn’t pay much attention, just deleted.
    The next one was also to Caribou in Blaine but for $300. Wowzer! That’s not Kelly!
    Back and retrieved the first one and it’s $302.76.
    Stood in the movie theater lobby talking with the bank. Cancelled the card. Half hour later, another notice from the bank, card is declined at yet ANOTHER Caribou for $300.

    Now really, you steal a card number and you go to Caribou?? For $900 in, presumably, gift cards???
    Dang.

    Money was restored by the bank in about 10 days.

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  14. As I mentioned a few years ago, my card was compromised. My bank, which then was Wells Fargo, got notice that I had lost my card. They shipped out a replacement card . . . to someone in Boston. He had a lot of fun with it until all the money was gone. The only good news is that Wells Fargo was so embarrassed they instantly restored my funds. What’s worse is that the same guy had done this once before with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. All systems GO for Blevins this afternoon. Just one caveat; our street is a Snow Emergency Route. It looks to me that it is all ready plowed curb-to-curb, but West St. Paul is very thorough about keeping SERs clear and we frequently see a plow going by just to scrape the clear surface. If if you’d prefer to take no chance what-so-ever, the first 2 cars to arrive are free to park in our driveway (as long as you don’t mind being the last 2 cars to leave), and you may also park in the church parking lot directly across the street. In any case, you’ll need to drop passengers off at the driveway and come up the driveway to get to the house, since we have no shoveled path through the snow mountain on the boulevard. I’ll leave the garage door open, if it’s easier to come in that way rather than up the steps to the front door. Hope this doesn’t scare anyone off, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll have to see if the streets around here get plowed before book club time. Supposedly the odd side of the streets will get plowed today but I suspect it will be later in the day. No use heading out if I’m just going to get stuck where the alley meets the street.

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  16. I enjoy the “Oceans” movies – Oceans 11, 12, 13… Always a fun ensemble cast with George Clooney et al… and intricate plots. I also loved R.E.D. (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) with Helen Mirren et al. – may not necessarily fit the scam scenario, but great thrillers, and FUNNY.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also when the person keeps repeating a statement. Such as “There has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. When I watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, I mean, the Democrats are all running for office, trying to say this that — but bottom line, they all say there’s no collusion. And there is no collusion.”

      Liked by 3 people

  17. I got hacked by a friend on Facebook sending me a note saying Tim I thought this might be of interest for the weekend I thought he was suggesting music or a friend in town… it was for weight loss and I knew I was screwed

    I went to look for an email a minute later and found all my emails had been erased. I changed my password and then my emails got slowly rendered into my mailbox
    200,000 of them
    My email box is my filing system
    I was glad
    D to get the, back but I assume the bad guys scanned for numbers and will sort later
    Scary world out there

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