Friday, July 22, 2022

Skimmed, phishing and so on

 I got a call from an 800- number this morning. I let it ring through to voice mail.

A half-hour later, I got a repeat which I answered.

It claimed to be from my bank. It claimed to be from Fraud Prevention. It claimed that it had flagged numerous "suspicious" credit card purchases on my card.

I asked them to describe one of the suspicious transactions. "Nope. I did not make a purchase there".

Then they started asking for more, personal info to "verify" I was the card-holder of record. "Nope. I don't do that over the phone. I will drive to the local branch of the bank and handle it from there."

The only problem was that I was scheduled line-to-line for the entire day.

The bank gave me several phone numbers to call and the 20-something teller wearing the 4" long, false-lashes read the 3.25 pt print on the back of the card.

I made the call from a chair in the bank lobby and connected with Jannella who in all probability was 23 years-old and African-American. She was also a rock-star.

She verified that three suspicious transactions had been made on my card: a $200.00 transaction, a $300.00 and a $500.00 transaction at

The most likely place where I could have been wanded or skimmed was at the coffee kiosk at McLaren Hospital's main lobby in Lansing. The transactions happened after that visit.

Consequently, I am without a valid credit card at the moment. I trust that things will be cleared up in short order and a new credit card will be mailed to my address of record.

The roving manager in the bank gave me an atta-boy for A.) Not trusting phone calls (phishing) and for B.) Expeditiously pursuing the possibility of fraudulent use of my credit card.

Bonus Image

A $5000 signing bonus for a job that paid $12/hour two years ago.

In a perfect world, rules mandating various ratios for patients:professionals would be relaxed so promising "under-credentialed" professionals could fill in for more highly credentialed professionals when the mandated, credentialed professionals were MIA. If sufficient time passed and the under-credentialed professional performed well, provisional higher-credentials could be issued.

As it currently stands, 500 square-feet of un-primed drywall must be painted and there is only one gallon of paint. The only choice is choosing those dark corners where starving the paint-film is least likely to be noticed.

If you follow the blog, you know that my Mom is in a nursing home. The wait time to get wet Depends changed is...very long. Some staff simply does not care. If fired, there are plenty of other nursing homes screaming for help.

Allowing "management" to upgrade staff gives them more flexibility and relaxes the strangle-hold some lazy, credentialed staff might try to exercise.


The education and credential granting apparatus that is very carefully calibrated to maintain the status quo of wage differentials will be unable to back-fill that 30%-in-two-year attrition driven by Federal Covid mandates. That education and credential apparatus is tuned into an 8%in-two-year attrition rate.

Hospitals will not be able to discharge patients in Med-surge due to lack of beds in step-down facilities.

Emergency rooms will not accept patients arriving by ambulances due to lack of beds in med-surge.

At some point, ambulances will all be tied up as they drive EMT care-packages to mythical, open-beds in Goshen, Indiana and will not be available to pick up recently traumatized, tax-paying citizens.

That mythical bed in Goshen? It was an IT error caused by a klutz kicking the surge protector and now 17 ambulances are converging on that non-existent bed.

The $630 Billion question is: Will more people die prematurely if we have ambulances not showing up to accidents or if we have trained, medical professionals sometimes playing above their credentials while within hollaring distance of more highly credentialed medical professionals?

Framed another way: Do our elected officials owe their primary allegiance to the tax-payers and citizens or to the credential-granting institutions and ossified professional hierarchy?


  1. Don't most online purchases require the secret code or even your zipcode?
    Nobody else handled your card?

  2. My daughter is a fraud investigator for a large nationwide bank . She is very good at her job . My wife recently got scammed on facebook [where 90% of all online scams occur] . The kiddo went after the guy with great enthusiasm and wrecked his whole operation . The wife got her $200 back within an hour and is much wiser now . The kid is watching the guy just waiting on him to commit a felony . Did I mention I'm proud of that red headed Irish daughter ? The scammers are getting bolder and bolder as the economy gets ready to go tits up .

  3. Consider, if you will, a world in which you can attend college for two years, and then assume life-and-death responsibilities, day and night, fine weather and foul, in homes, streets, tenements and palaces, and see Ghawd's Children at their worst. AND!, for bonus points, get threatened and, occasionally, assaulted, on a 24 hour shift, for pay that 2022 MacDonald's workers would scorn!

    We may not worry about those hospital beds. Nobody to transport folks.

    Then, contemplate ER nurses: same malsocialized retards as the medics face, with bonus serving of sexism, and similar malarky. With administration that, if it is not malignant, is incompetent.

    Not that I have been burned out, at all. Nope, nope nope! Not me!

    Wanna nother "vaccine" mandate, anybody?

  4. The way it used to work in Britain was that “Registered” nursing training was essentially an apprenticeship (learn ‘on the job’ from skilled/experienced practitioners, with a bit of academic work on the side as a basis for that learning). There were also, what were called, “Enrolled” nurses, who were essentially “Auxiliary” nurses (those given basic training in non-technical support roles) who had demonstrated that they were skilled, knowledgeable and caring enough to warrant more responsibility and were given a shorter ward and academic course to ‘top-up’ their qualification and expand their roles.

    It was effectively a copy of the military, with Privates (auxiliary’s), NCO’s (SRN’s, all of whom came from auxiliary recruits) and Officers (RGN, RMN, etc., either direct entry or SRN promotions, but they all still started right at the bottom emptying bed-pans), and movement up from one to the other not just allowed but expected/relied upon. (Incidentally, a substitutional proportion of the female doctors at the time were those nurses who had shown ability and had been ‘encouraged/supported’ in going further – to the General Staff).

    It worked because it was based on the fact that the core, fundamental, basis of the job was … hands-on care, whilst recognising that both experience ‘and’ academic qualifications ‘both’ increased the ability to do job better. (and that a purely academic training was utterly useless on its own).

    The change to (the, mangled as usual, American model – everyone always takes one aspect and forgets about the core aspects in ‘copying’ eg. see British ‘fast’ food) ‘degree only’ sounded like a good idea (if you didn’t think, or know anything about the actual job) of raising everybody to the highest levels of knowledge, but due to deliberately limited numbers, it was effectively nothing more than credentialising and making an ‘elite’ group who restricted themselves to only “technical” aspects of the job (leaving the actual patient care in the hands of unskilled ‘cheap labour’ – that was effectively ‘stuck there’ since they got rid of the auxiliary/enrolled stepping stones).

    Throw in the competition for recruits from all the other degree required (but better conditions, pay and status – nursing used to have poor pay, terrible conditions but was seen as a vocation on a par with sainthood, post degree it was seen on a par with every other job. The hope for higher ‘degree’ status actually reduced it massively) and … recruitment fell drastically.

    The job now ‘is’ highly academic and technical. It requires a degree-level education for much of the work, but not all, or even most, of it. Neither does (as in all things) academic ability reflect any actual ability in the role. You need (somehow) to open ‘possibilities’ (since to an extent, much of nursing is more an art than a science) for those with ‘talent’ to progress.

    I liked what was done in NZ (since flushed down the credential plug-hole) of maintaining the ‘tiered’ roles, but adding a two-track clinical/managerial career choice. Why? Because you need those with the highest experience knowledge working at ‘the coal face’ (not just in an office or supervisory role) because when push comes to shove patient care is what it’s supposed to be about, and only the best can deliver that to the level it ‘should’ be being delivered at.

    Honestly I can't see how we can get 'there' from 'here' any-more, except possibly burning the system down (salting the ground and nuking it from orbit just to be sure) and starting again.

  5. Credit cards are tools.

    It is good to have backup tools when the environment is hazardous to your tools.

    Theyre free and can reside in a gun safe until needed.

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  7. Geez, they hit you for a grand and then tried to nuke you afterward.. The worst I've been dealing with is daily calls from someone(several different ones)claiming to be an insurance special agent on a recorded line. The canned call then says" Can you hear me ok?" Maybe I'm paranoid but I believe saying yes would have me grabbing my ankles. For a while I just hung up.Then I timed the gap they left for my reply. That allowed me become ever more creative in filling that gap with an escalating string of profanity. None of these had any effect. In the last few days I have started filling the gap with maniacal laughter.Oddly enough that caused the recorded message to add if you'd like to be removed from our call list press 1. I've laughed at them twice and today for the first day they didn't call.

  8. I got 4 calls the other day all from a similar area code as mine (changed every time). It was from "Amazon" with a $1000. rebate of an Apple notebook I had bought recently. Ha-ha. A couple years ago I got hacked on my credit card. Twice in one year. One of the companies I was dealing with had a breech on their system and I tracked it down to Cabela's. They said it wasn't them, as they have such good digital security. I don't shop there for years now.
    I rarely use my card now and carry cash again like I did back in the 80's.
    ERJ- get to the dollar store and buy a card wallet that will prevent scanning or wanding your cards.
    I tell you these mugs will spend a week trying to scam you for $20 bucks as opposed to just going to work for a living.

  9. You might consider getting a wallet with Faraday / RFID protection for holding your credit cards, to prevent surreptitious skimming. I downsized from a hip pocket wallet to a front-pocket wallet some years ago, and this was one of the features on my new wallet. I also recommend going on line every 2-3 days to check all your card charges out.

    1. Absolutely have an RFID blocking wallet. At the very least wrap the card in aluminum foil before placing it in your non-RFID blocking wallet.

      I have had my card info stolen several times from purchases I made, some in person & some online. There is no guarantee anytime you use your card.

      Although I don't agree with their politics, using PayPal does provide a layer of security since the vendor does NOT receive your actual card info when you make a transaction.

    Winchester “USA White Box” stands for consistent performance and outstanding value, offering high-quality ammunition to suit a wide range of hunter’s and shooter’s needs.…00rds-115-gr-fmj/

    1. Terrible luck with those, only time my cordless hole puncher would stovepipe was on Winchester white Box from Wally world. Put real ammo in and that Smith runs like a champ.

  11. RE: the job market: I think this is another symptom of the larger problem plauging the workforce, errr... rather another tree in the forest that HR has to navigate.
    The world changed, the workplace hasn't, but is starting to. I deal with it very personally. College degree and 20 years in the print-biz, CDL Class A license and squeaky clean background.. I hang sprinkler pipe for my neighbors company for 16/hr and a company truck, when cement truck jobs are all over the area at 25-30/hr. Why would I do that? If you can answer that question, theres a couple HR depts that would love to hire you....
    You danced around it with the description of the hardships each job faces. Folks (aka the workforce) are deciding what minimum wage is now, not some governmental organ... grok that.
    You notice it in your fast food restaurants. It manifests here as an open lobby, or drive-thru only. Cheap companies cannot staff enough workers to open the lobby, so they run drive-thru only on a skeleton kitchen crew. Everywhere I travel the Chic-Fil-As are fully staffed. They pay 12-15/hr, and have nice polite people, lines wrapped around the building! Can't show me a McDs or BK like that anywhere in this country, can you? But correlation does not equal causation we are taught...

    1. So why do you do the $16/hr job vs the $25-30? No judgment, just curious. I drive an oil/propane truck for $25/hr. I could make a little more elsewhere but this guy has been too good to me. Curious as to your reason

  12. RE Navy procurement.
    When I was working we made a gizmo that was considered essential for all surface ships. No working gizmo, no go to sea. The USN understands that a sailor can break, lose or impregnated anything on the planet, hence spare gizmos were to be kept in depot locations around the world. The spares were shipped to the vessel and the broken gizmo was shipped via the depot to us for repair. What could go wrong?
    1) There were never any spare gizmos except on paper.
    2) The entire procurement process for repairs and service is even more convoluted the the purchasing of new items. We could not open a shipped box containing a unit until an inspector was present. That might take months and the inspector had no idea what the gizmo was. Once that was done we sent a quote on the cost of repairs, the repair contract had to be modified, the unit fixed then the contracting contact notified to send the same inspector who never was in a rush to look at the gizmo. When I left we had one sitting for inspection for 8 months,
    3) Anything wrong or different on any paperwork causes the machinery to stop. We were purchased 4 times in 20 years by different companies and each time it caused massive problems do to the changes or lack of changes to our Cage Code.
    4) Never underestimate the ingenuity of a Navy Chief. I would get THE CALL from a vessel in some port that had a broken gizmo. Usually it was from an E-4 or O-2. There would be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. If you got an E-7 or O-4, they would give you the ship's credit card and we could complete the repair and have it back on board in 5 days anywhere on the planet circumventing the whole repair bureaucracy.
    5) Once in the system, it stays in the system. We had improved the gizmo but the US Navy only wanted the old one because it has a national stock number. We never got anyone a NAVSEA to generate one because they didn't have the money to test the new improved unit. We sold the new gizmo to the USAF and several other navies.


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