12 August 2017

Why Are Identity Theft Efforts Being Allowed to Continue

How many have become intolerant of the same repeated trash being dumped into their lives through a series of unreasonable facsimile identities being superimposed, replete with accompanying assumptions, conjectures, and accusations which bear little or no resemblance to anything one has said or done?  If so raise your hands high; raise your voices long and loud. 

Do the on-going identity theft efforts responsible for the problems ever stop? They could, IF the people creating the problems were to be apprehended.

This time mailboxes have also been broken into, not only in the neighborhood, but throughout the area, even throughout the entire city on an ongoing basis according to the post office.  And of course mail was stolen.  Where I live the days of the postal carrier bringing mail to the door are long gone - well, more precisely they never started.  However it is not that way everywhere in the city.   The locked neighborhood mailboxes in this area each serve approximately 12 households.  The problem is that they have always been seen as an invitation to be broken into by the criminally inclined. 

The post office has installed new boxes but has not yet issued keys after two weeks time.  Nor were people notified of what had happened, nor were we told we could pick up mail at the post office, nor were we told our keys would not work and that new keys would be issued . . . . but not in the foreseeable future.  Nor are phone numbers to the branches readily available.  Only packages are being delivered.  I learned all of this when I managed to catch the mail carrier who had delivered a box to my door, before he got away!  Talking to him gave rise to my sympathy, actually, due to his "deer in the headlights" look. Very clearly I was only one of many who had managed to catch him to ask about the problem, before he made good his get-away after leaving a package at the doorstep!

Sure, I had tried to call the local branch when I found the mailbox vandalized.  However, The same 800 number is given for all branches, nationwide, and anyone calling it ends up connecting with a call center in the region of India.  A call back is offered, but it requires listening to several menus and responding to choices that do not cover the reason one is calling.  Pushing 0, to cut to the chase and connect with a person too early in the process, before recitation of all the menus, does not work.  Instead, it requires starting over and listening to several menus before 0 actually does work!  And the call back?  Expect it between 35 and 55 minutes.  I got mine at the 40 minute mark from a young woman with an East Indian accent who provided a bogus number for my USPS branch.  Called it and it was a non-functional line.   Nice feature, the USPS callback -  but an untrustworthy useless time waste.

Because the community mailboxes serve the purpose of inviting crime, it would be less costly for USPS to do house to house delivery.  Thankfully, in our neighborhood there is little or no likelihood of dogs running loose to interfere with mail delivery.  So why not door to door?  The post office says vandalism of the boxes and theft of the mail are running rampant yet remain unchecked, without the city, county, or state doing anything about it.  But mail theft is only one aspect of the many problems associated with identity theft attempts.  

There is also a relentless, pervasive vicious electronic effort.  Only the NSA used to have the equipment and skill available for easily reaching into people's lives, invasively, with electronic surveillance.  These days the smart t.v. you watch is smart enough to be watching you!  And anyone so inclined can learn to easily and illegally access and monitor the information of other people through use of their own electronics, like phones and computers, which can be used to access entire home networks through the phones and computers of other people - an identity thief's paradise.  Do not even let me get started about the overwhelming quantity of scam phone calls which the dysfunctional government do-not-call list no longer stops!   If you answer and speak, scam callers record your voice to try to use for their identity theft attempts.

Clearly there is a need for law-abiding skilled investigators, with ethics and people skills, to deal with the problems of identity theft efforts.  Stopping the culprits before they succeed at doing more damage to more people has become mandatory.  Are those investigators who are on the job lacking in skill, or ethics, or are they themselves not law abiding?  Or is it a combination of any or all of these problems?  Or, something else too.

Years of getting it wrong, after extraordinarily long periods of time spent "investigating" the same problems, and the same people, repeatedly, are an indicator of 1) the investigators having been misdirected and/or 2) a need for competent investigators. Repeated investigating for endless periods of time result in what folks targeted by identity theft experience as unwarranted additional invasiveness and harassment.

Reasonable people have to wonder if both the identity theft efforts and/or the investigative  problems that do not get to the origin, stem from application of activities allowed by the patriot act, which so many have forgotten remains in effect.  It was intended to root out terrorism by making increased invasive surveillance of citizens easier, like obtaining of personal information without a judge's approval,"sneak and peek" searches not revealed until "later" whenever "later" might be.  It also enables indefinite detentions of immigrants.   There have been portions removed, reinstated, or reinstated under a different name.  The Department of Justice presentation soft peddles what it actually does that is objectionable: The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) and some portions are questioned by many as being unconstitutional.  The ACLU is more direct about it: Surveillance Under the Patriot Act.  It says terrorist activities discovered by it's use are between 0 and 1 percent.  The Wikipedia entry provides more details than either the ACLU or DOJ websites.   Oh, how Herbert Hoover would have loved the Patriot Act!

When investigation after investigation of identity theft, ad nauseum and seemingly ad infinitum,  repeatedly goes down the wrong path with no results, then clearly there is a misdirection problem. And clearly the misdirection originates with those who intend to benefit from being an obstacle to the investigations.

The amount and extent of repeated apparent misguided investigative efforts of identity theft, together with investigative incompetency, have become astounding.  Because of the breadth and depth of ongoing efforts that never get to the sources of the problem, could part of the problem be that they are government directed cases apparently motivated by someone, somewhere, wanting to blame crimes on people who bear no responsibility for them, thus endless surveillance occurs rather than getting to the bottom of the actual identity thieving?  Is part of the problem surveillance by governments of other nations?  Are identity theft efforts being carried out by citizens or residents of other nations which make investigating them more complex?  Because the problem of identity theft is so resistant to solution, these are all questions that need to be asked about variables that could muddy the waters and make investigating identity theft problems more difficult to trace to the source. 

Identity theft is much more ill-intended pervasive and dangerous than merely trying to get access to the bank accounts of other people. Bottom line, the many facets of long-term investigations are all experienced as ongoing harassing invasiveness by people whose lives are repeatedly being targeted for months, sometimes years at a time by identity theft and investigation of identity theft.  Clearly there are prevarications somewhere in the investigative processes which lead to problematic investigations.  They throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works.   Prevaricating can not be allowed to continue to do ill-intended damage. The sources of it must be identified so an end can be put to the crimes, attempted crimes, and lengthy unproductive investigations.

24 July 2017

being #42

A Facebook friend posted a graphic of the results of one of those fun little quizzes that are so prevalent on FB.  But the result of the "Who Secretly Loves You" quiz was mean!  Her photo and first name were displayed along with the statement "Sadly, no one loves you."  Of course she was unfazed and undaunted by the result.  It is, after all, entertainment.  Someone else commented about doing the quiz also, with the same results - often the outcome of any quizzes - along the lines of the assigning of a "guilt by association peer group" 😎.

But what was the point of a mean result?  Maybe to draw attention to the quizzes?  The quizzes are intended to be mindlessly entertaining fun, aren't they?  Even so, the results are not usually mean.  So what was supposedly entertaining about that one?  The result does not refer to any particular type of "love", like romantic, caritas, friendship, parental, universal . . . ad infinitum . . . but that particular quiz is not the point of this comment.

There is also a post going around about something that has been on my mind, of late, associated with the abuse of the field of psychology, particularly by advertisers - but in actuality  anyone trying to sell something, including selling an ideology like the efforts of religious and political ideologists who are extreme zealots and want to forcefully superimpose their views onto others.  (There is rarely a fine line between sharing information about the battles we choose, and trying to "convert" others to embrace our views.  When we know other folks have not done their own research and drawn their own conclusions about an issue, it is foolish to want to "convert" anyone who has no reason for considering an issue to be one of personal interest.  But that is an issue beyond the scope of this comment.)  The post going around in the paper and online is speculation about the motivation behind these harmless seeming entertaining little FB quizzes.  Essentially, the article and video concluded what we already know, that these little quizzes are not necessarily intended to be as entertaining and harmless as they may seem to be, because: 
1) we give - access to our feed and our contacts and whatever personal information the makers of the quizzes can glean in their efforts to manufacture profiles, by conjecture, about us and our contacts;

2) we provide - those who create the quizzes with information about ourselves which they use to extrapolate what is then sold as a lot of psychological profiles based on their quizzes; quizzes which use transparently classic psychology models to label and categorize people; models that supposedly dig into the subconscious in an effort to use what is hoped will be discovered as subconscious weaknesses in people to be exploited (as if folks do not routinely do their own digging into the subconscious to the extent of having mastered control over it, while continuing to toss out whatever trash is found upon further reality check self-inspections);

3) we help - the quiz makers fulfill their profit-making purposes via their labeling and categorizing of people to create profiles they sell to advertisers . . .  or anyone else who is buying (e.g. political parties, religious organizations, governments -foreign and domestic, maniacal despots, you name it . . .  😎 );

4) we get - huge amounts of spam e-mail and scam phone calls because the access to information about us and our contacts has been sold.  
Even so, sometimes the quizzes are fun - sometimes!  My own life has been an open book for decades (of course not by choice - it felt extremely invasive at first because it was ) but I know when doing a quiz that I am not revealing anything about myself that is "secret" or "hidden" from myself. (Yes, I actually know myself better than anyone else does, and have since pre-teen days many decades ago.)  Although, clearly there is much about me, and everyone else being entertained by the quizzes, that is apparently hidden from those who write the quizzes, and do the profiling to sell to all bidders.  Their profiling is based on a combination of what we self-identify through answers to quiz questions, and whatever other information that taking the quiz has provided permission for them to glean from our feeds, likes, comments, and contacts.  The profiling also aims to establish the old favorite "guilt by association" as part of the profile being sold.  This is nothing unusual.  Cell phone apps do all the same profiling and selling.  When we use them our privacy is non-existent, although any type of over-the-air access renders privacy compromised, anyway - another topic beyond the current scope of this one.

But why make it easy for those whose intent is certainly not selfless, nor as harmless as we might want to assume, even if it is momentarily entertains us?  I usually delete the quiz website from my FB Apps section after doing one - more precisely after starting or finishing one because I start more quizzes than I finish.  Usually I do not choose to finish a quiz after a question or two is presented of limited choices I would not make, for example a group of garish irritating colors being offered among which one is asked to choose the most "appealing", or only subjective choices that skate over the edge of being ethical  with there being no choices resembling ones I might consider making. 

I figure if the people who create the quizzes want to categorize others for their purposes (profit-making from information mining) then if they are not willing to try to do it with at least minimal accuracy, I'm outta there after the second question which offers no acceptable responses!  Hasta la vista baby . . .  I'm gettin' outta Dodge . . . .  😎.

So!  Who is #42?  And what does #42 have to do with Facebook quizzes?  Well, he is a bold little critter with moxie who needs to be set free from being a captive rat in a maze, literally, and provided with a forever home as a pet, imho.  (Click on the caption below for #42's story.)
"Asshole Lab Rat Really Screwing With Scientific Study"
I like #42's approach to being a lab rat which demonstrates a well-known quantum mechanics phenomenon, an observer effect which means the creation of "opportunities" to observe changes the outcome of what occurs - sort of like when we have fun doing the little psych test quizzes. 

The take away?  If you want to know about someone, ask that someone directly.  Don't skulk around sleuthing and trying to make lab rats of people for profit, by employing transparent psychological testing and asking everyone else under the sun, except the person of interest - as if that person does not know or would not be honest about self.  Most people know best about themselves, I know I do.  And  most people, including myself, have no interest in misrepresenting themselves, even less in being misrepresented by others.

So, I leave you now, smiling and thinking about which fun little quiz to take next.  Hmm . . . . maybe one about past lives - if the questions provide good choices.  Past life quiz results are always so interesting . . .