Coping: Financial Prepping/Card Skimmer Pandemic

Saturday, our Peoplenomics content will wrap up a look at the issue of “financial prepping” as we look at a number of future scenarios and try to figure the best way to have a little money (and maybe make some, in some instances) when the old crapperoo hits the fan.

One of the biggest trends to deal with is the “War on Cash” which involved everything from the civil asset forfeiture laws being abused to government accountability for income taxes.  And yes, for the paranoid with bank accounts outside the US, there will be some (upper income) fallout from the new bank reporting rules, FATCA, July 1, but it won’t bring down the financial house.  At least not likely.

I’m not the only one to see it.  Reader RD offers this:

“Specifically, as the transition to transition to “cashless” happens, how do you think you’ll ever be able to take those gold and silver coins you might have and roll them into needed fiat/scrip when you actually need to spend it?” – make up your mind – are we going to get an EMP?  or go “cashless” – and will either be in our lifetime (I’m now three score and 10) – with the EMP perhaps more likely.  You forget – ALL of US are not on computers nor do we have smart phones – and many don’t have the bank account/cash to run them if they did – I suppose the Socialist Merican government will supply that as well.  AND – as long as the Fed/Treasury – keeps printing dollars and stamping out coins – I’m not to worry – it’s when they stop – then I’ll begin to worry. – and so will all the business that are going to go belly up.  (( PS:  I seldom carry more than $20/$25 cash – but cashless – not usually.  You used to could get locked up as a vagrant if you didn’t have about $25 on you.  Of course – you could get locked up for a while for ‘adultery or homosexuality’ too.)

In yesterday’s report we got into some interesting territory and no doubt more will come Saturday.

Meantime, a couple of areas that you need to be aware of when it comes to personal wealth preservation.

The first is that the number of high tech thieves working credit card reader “skimmers” is going through the roof.  Just this morning we have headlines like:

And there are other reports from almost all overs the country.  So it’s really just a matter of when, not IF, you’ll run  into one of these things, looks like.

The way these skimmer operations runs is usually pretty simple:  You run your card through what you think is a card reader to pay for gas (or whatever) and a small device picks up your card information.

The best means of defense is really two-fold here.

First:  Whenever you scan a card, make absolutely sure that there is nothing around the card readers that you don’t understand.  If the key’s seem to be a bit odd, that may be because there’s a new skimmer tool which is picking off you zip code (gas) or PIN (retail, general) and collecting it and matching it up with a card skimmer. 

Given your card (and your PIN) you might as well be carved up and served for Thanksgiving since you’re now a turkey dinner in card circles.

Some readers go inside of regular readers, so inspect things carefully.

Second thing to do is grab yourself an RFID protected wallet.

Minimally, invest in something like the men’s  RFID Blocking Men’s Bi-Fold Leather Wallet and Removable ID Holder-Two Tone Black and Tan by Access Denied  $48 at Amazon, or, in the same price category for women there’s a RFID Blocking Womens Leather Wallet and Checkbook by Access Denied (Navy Blue) and they have other colors, too.  $53 bucks that sounds like a worthwhile investment.

This whole credit card skimming thing is no joke and if there’s a risk to the digital age that is actionable, this is certainly one of them.

You would never even consider having a 4-character password for your checking account online, but an amazing number of people have super short PINs which just amazes me.

Government Tracking

Speaking of electronics and Coping, and having watched the season-ender for Person of Interest  last night (which gets seriously into how Machines can take over the world especially in light of our near-PTB friend who reminds us “the movie is the message”) we can help but pass on this note from reader Claudia who has just come face-to-face with “The Machine” in here present job quest:

Greetings from the working world,

imageI started a new job this week and when they gave me the I-9 to fill out I almost lost it.  The Federal Government now requires your e-mail address 

and your phone number.  Now I am thinking the NSA already has it.  I live close to Fort Gordon and they house the communications center, NSA and the Cyber Command is making it’s way south to this base.  I thought about giving out phone numbers I no longer use, e-mail addresses that have fallen aside but fear I would be in trouble. Crazy, huh!  I am attaching a screen shot so you can see the form.

If you watch Person of Interest, you might ask them if the results will be fed into Harold’s “The Machine” or the (former Cigarette Man’s) “Samaritan” system.

If they don’t have an answer, or can’t differentiate between the two computer systems, then our advice would be along the lines of “Use them and lose them…

In other words, go ahead and work for them for a while, but keep looking for better job.  If they can’t see the prospects of what’s ahead in the computer world, they may not have the brain cells to keep their company running in the future.

Use and lose, dear. 

If they ask, refer them to the TV series Person of Interest and send them a link to the Freedom Output post “Former VIA/NSA Director Michel Hayden: “We kill people based on metadata.”

Our two most important personal survival tools around here are the axioms:

Everything is a business model and The Movie (or TV series) IS the Message.

Now, take your pills and off to work with you…

Serious Denial

OK, now we’re into an interesting discussion…about how smart people (and consequently, their employers) are.

“Average Americans think they’re smarter than the Average American” says a new report.

Talk about narcissism gone to egoism gone to delusional….there’s your path for you.

But it’s exactly this kind of mental lack of “due processing” that makes average people cannon fodder for sales, marketing, and management consultants like me.

Using phrases like “You want to do the smart thing, right?” sprinkled all overs the place (along with getting people to talk about themselves) is probably the shortest path there is to high pay and getting people to believe you really are smart.

That, and the “take-away” (or “reverse sale”) and you’re definitely “C-level” material.

Toss in a weekly read of the British “Retail Times” for concepts like IQ (product Irresistibility Quotient) and you can just about run anything.

Around the Ranch: Pesky Pests Help

Reader Rafaela has a question:

Hi George,

Read you every day you write and read you talking about varmints.

How do you handle them in your farm?

My problem seems to be some kind of small/big rats getting through the chicken wire (or smaller openings) fence inside the planting area eating every single seed I plant.

I don’t have a dog or cat to help out catching them, so I have been using traps, but they laugh at me not even considering they are there.

There are several approaches.  My favorite is lead poisoning, best applied with a 9 MM sprayer with rat shot.  Smaller, .22 sprayer “pills” may be available from Cheaper than Dirt or Natchez Shooter Supply…check around.  Really small shot in a shotgun works, too, but it’s more expensive and you can hear is a long ways off.

Option 2:  Hardware cloth a couple of feet up around the the entire base of the garden.

Option 3:  4” wide metalized tape (sticky side up) or some of those TomKat sticky traps the bug man passes out.

Option 4:  Several cats.  Unfed for a few days, but fee them when you do in the garden area.  Make them some comfortable digs there (they like to sit of small rugs for reasons unknown to me.  Zeus will invariably sit on a piece of copier paper if I put it on the otherwise pristine carpet in the house.

He explains that to cats, it’s kind of like a toilet protector (ass gasket from a public restroom) except as he sees it, it “keeps the human off.”

Option 5:  Use a cold frame.

Option 6:  Put in a greenhouse

Option 7:  Hydroponics and grow lights in a bank vault.

Option 8:  Become a carnivore.

Option 9:  Go on a very long diet.

Option 10:  Talk to your local County Extension Agent – really great people (and one of the few really useful things government provides).  This would really be my #2 approach, but I like making noise a lot, so it might be your #1.

Around the Hangar: Chasing RPM

We have actually made some serious progress here.  With a couple of mechanics working until dark last night, we finally found where a couple of RPM may have gone missing. 

For one, the carb heat was not 100% closing off, so the air going into the engine was partially heated.  And that’s a bad thing, since hot air is thinner, less available oxygen.

Next point was there was a bracket which had come loose…and while it felt like the throttle was hitting the “wide open” stop with the throttle “fire walled” by the left-seat dunce (pilot, me) there was another quarter inch (or more) of travel which was not available,

Then there’s the matter of an accelerator pump which was note properly connected (non-op).

All of these, individually, are little “nits” but combined they might account for the RPM being low on climb (just at the legal limit now, so improvement is expected).

And, just for good measure, I kept the old prop which was replaced two years back, and since it’s the same prop, (Sensenich DM74-6-0-58, thanks for asking) we will test the engine early next week and see how things “spin up”.  The “new” remanufactured prop began life as a 60” pitch and was reformed to 58” pitch, but it was done right (renumbered, and all that) so we shall we shall see how things spin up on take off comes Tuesday.

Oh, and birds have decided to make the hangar home, so I get to wash bird shit off the wings twice a week now until they’re gone.

See how glamorous it is being a pilot and owning an old classic airplane?

Around the Chinese Buffet Line:  Twice

Stress has its rewards.  Our $4.99 buffets down herein the East Texas outback are amazing.  Tseh-Tseh.

OK, off to pick up the sheetrock jack and let’s see if I can whack in the ceiling today in the studio addition on the house…that as Garbage Day…woo-hoo!

More tomorrow.  Same time, same sick mindset.

Write when you break-even