I am a member of AARP fraud watch network in my state. Each month, we have a phone conference. I want to let the veterans out there know about a new resource. This comes from Jeff Abramos, who heads up our veteran’s military and families work which just had a huge launch with the new “Veterans Scams Resource Center.” Jeff had a conversation with Troy J. Broussard,  AARP Veterans’ Fraud Center. The center sent out a survey, where they found that one in three military veteran adults reported that they were losing money to scams that were trying to take advantage of the trust they have in the military community. They found veterans and active-duty service Members and their families were 40% more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population.  In response to the survey, the fraud Center was set up.

The main focus is on how they can make folks aware of it, giving them a one stop shop tool which is extremely important. Jeff works with AARP and the office of Community Engagement.  He also co-leads with Pete Jeffries in the Veteran’s Military and their families initiative.  He is a Desert Storm veteran as well. He feels it’s very important that we produce these types of resources to protect those who have protected us. The AARP Veteran Fraud Center is designed to alert veterans and their families about these latest games and how to avoid them.  It was found the biggest growth was benefit buyouts turning over to the US Department of Veteran’s Pension and Disability Benefits for this supposedly lump sum, 47% which was huge. Another 32% was for fraudulent record scam paying for updated military records and then to fake charities.

The Fraud Center includes free resources, like the new AARP Watchdog Alerts and book “The Veterans Additions.” It’s going to highlight those tips to detect the most common scams. They work very closely with AARP Fraud Watch Network, with Jeff and the team,

To make sure that they can provide these resources, this one stop shops and also operation “Protect Veterans”, which is a program that works together with the United States Postal Inspection service, puts everything for veterans on one landing page where they can share with each other

Another resource is the following’

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
3033 Wilson Boulevard, Third Floor, Arlington, VA 22201
TAPS is always here for you with compassion and care 24/7 at  202. 588.TAPS (8277)
www.taps.org

In my book, “Identity Theft: A Victims Search for Justice,”  I wrote about a family friend who happened to be a colonel in the Army. She  was an Army nurse who helped bring me into the world over 60 years ago. My mother was gone, she was all I had left, even though she wasn’t technically a blood relative. A woman answered the phone saying she was my friend’s daughter. I knew she didn’t have children.

It turned out she was a major who worked with my friend, who ended up having a brain tumor, and passed away. She told everyone she was my friend’s daughter, which she wasn’t, and pretty much took everything. Police wouldn’t get involved because she was military, military wouldn’t get involved because they didn’t know me, they wouldn’t even listen to the private detective I hired who proved everything I said was true.

I never understood how it could happen, until I listens toMr. Broussard’s webinar.

I had spoken to some veterans while researching my book. Finding out this information helps me to understand a little better how this woman could have gotten away with what she did. I wanted other service members to know about these resources. Please don’t let what happened to my friend, a colonel in the Army, happen to you or your loved ones.

Thank you for your service, and happy Memorial Day

Deborah E. Joyce

read my blog@deborahejoyce.com

Reading the book, Humankind: A Hopeful History by Bregman, Rutger took me back to my MA in psychology course work. The author outlined some case studies that I was familiar with:

The 1st told of Adolph Eichmann’s case. His lawyer pointed out that Eichmann was not a monster. One woman that sat in the courtroom remarked that what was so unsettling was that Eichmann was so terrifyingly normal and that there were so many like him. He was a fanatic that acted out of conviction, he did evil because he thought he was doing good. My note – is this was happening with Covid? Climate change? Our planet burning?

28 September 1943 – A Nazi stood in front of the social Democratic Party leaders in Copenhagen. The Nazi is explaining that ships will anchor in the morning, that their fellow Jewish countrymen will be forcibly brought upon the ship and transported to an unknown place. The raid was set to take place on October 1, 1943 following detailed plans drawn up by the SS. At 8 PM hundreds of Nazi troops would knock upon the doors and have Jewish people turned over to them.The ship was equipped to hold 6000. Up until then, Denmark had no mandatory discrimination laws, no mandatory yellow badges, no confiscation of Jewish property..

On the appointed night when Nazis knocked on the doors of Danish citizen,s they found that tens of thousands of Jewish Danes had been forewarned and had already fled. 99% of Denmark’s Jews survived the war

It was found later the reason why the Danish citizens resisted  was because they saw an injustice. When they saw what was happening everybody in the country including the royal family planed escape routes, drew up plans to get their Jewish neighbors out. They felt to look away would be a betrayal of their country. They said we Danes don’t barter with our Constitution, the Danes always believed in a democratic system and felt that anyone that did not believe that was not considered worthy to be called a Dane.  7000 Danish Jewish citizens were saved.


I remember a story about Kitty Genovese, coming home from work in March 1964 and being attacked on her way into her apartment. Neighbors heard her scream and did nothing, She was stabbed by her attacker 3 different times and died outside her apartment in the stairwell. The author found out the rest of the story – it was 3:19am, it was cold and everyone’s windows were closed. The street was poorly lit. Two neighbors called police, who said they’d already received calls but they never came. They thought she was drunk.  In those days people didn’t pay much attention to a husband beating his wife. Another neighbor who is homosexual and staying at his partner’s apartment was afraid to call police for fear of being beaten up, as homophobia was rampant in the sixties. The woman’s best friend ran out to find her friend bleeding and the attacker had ran away. She stayed with her friend until she died but that was never reported to the family. A historian moved into the area 10 years later and questioned the reporter, asked why it was not in the story. The reporter said his editor told him to leave it out, it was more of a sensational story that way. The family of the deceased woman never knew that part and stated later that if they had known she didn’t die alone, it would have helped their grieving process.

The killer was caught by a bystander who noticed someone carrying a television out of an apartment. He called his neighbor to find out is Joe moving? The person said “no,” Joe isn’t moving. So the one man disabled the thief’s vehicle, the other called police.. It turned out the thief was Kitty Genovese’s murderer. I was never taught that last part in school.


Another story was of a woman in Amsterdam who parked her car up by the canal and got out to retrieve her toddler in the backseat. The car started rolling, she jumped back in but it was too late and the car ended up in the canal. People stood and watched but one person ran to his car, grabbed a hammer and jumped into the river.  When that happened, other people jumped in to help, one woman handing a brick to one of the good Samaritans. That brick was used to break the back window, mother and child were pulled out. They said in another two seconds the car would have been too deep.


Meta analysis is research about research. It analyzes a large group of other studies. This was used in the Bystander Effect, and is a meta-analysis published in 2011, which sheds new light on what bystanders do in an emergency. This will be looked at as one of the most important studies of the Bystander Effect from the past 50 years and found that it does exist. Even though sometimes we don’t think we need to intervene in an emergency because it makes more sense to let somebody else take charge, sometimes we are afraid to do the wrong thing and don’t intervene for fear of censure. Sometimes we don’t think anything is wrong especially if nobody else is taking action. If the emergency is life-threatening, someone drowning or being attacked, if the bystanders can communicate with each other there’s an inverse bystander effect. Additional bystanders mean more helping.

The author arranged to meet a Danish psychologist, Mary Linda Guard. She explained she was the first one to ask why don’t we look at real footage with real people in real situations? She looked at the cameras which are all over the city. She has a database of over a thousand videos from Copenhagen, Cape Town, London, and Amsterdam.  They recorded robberies rapes and murders. She wrote the article “Almost Everything You Think You Know About the Bystander Effect is Wrong,” 90% of cases people help each other.

The true stories should be reported to psychology students and also journalists.  This would teach the public three things: #1 – how out of whack our view of human nature really is,  #2 -how journalists push those buttons in order to have a story, and #3 -that in an emergency we really can count on each other

What’s the connection? This is supposed to be a blog about identity theft. Well, I’ll tell you. The connection is people getting involved to help other people. As a victim of identity theft myself, I know how angry and frustrated I was when the district attorney didn’t look at, or review the documents and taped conversations from the financial institutions that were involved.

I’m not the only one. I get involved because I don’t want this to happen to myself or anyone ever again. When I look in the mirror, I can’t see myself because I am totally blind. I get involved anyway.

When you look in your mirror, what do you see?

Deborah E. Joyce

Don’t forget to wear your mask, and wash your hands.

 

 

 

I was sick for an entire week with a really bad cold, not Covid, thank goodness. All I did was go round trip for a business meeting. That’s not the funny part, which is to say that I spent the 1st leg of the trip sitting next to an IT professional from the airline, the 2nd next to an architectural executive whose company was hacked, and the 3rd leg next to a working criminologist who is transferring over to digital forensics. Even they can’t convince their relatives and friends to be more vigilant.

You can’t make this stuff up. Thankfully, there are many people behind the scenes keeping us safe, which is a great thing, because the thieves are multiplying like mosquitoes.

Nothing is safe anymore. Case in point – they are even hacking into greeting card companies.

https://news.sky.com/story/funkypigeon-com

Anything with a legitimate name, personal information, no matter the source, is up for grabs.

We assume this is a new phenomenon, or at least recent, because it’s been all over the news lately. But hacking has been around for decades. So, in actuality, we have actually been kept safe from these incidents. But I have to admit to being somewhat surprised at the intensity and breadth of the phenomenon, at least in the beginning of my research. Not anymore.

I breathed a small sigh of relief knowing that there are people out there watching out for us. Hopefully, more people will enter the field – it even pays well! Many former hackers have actually landed on the “other side of the desk.” That doesn’t mean we let our guard down – far from it

Be extra diligent. The hackers count on us to become lazy, especially between holidays, because they think we don’t take cybercrime seriously enough, and some of us do. Remember, even though there are people watching our back, it’s up to us to watch our front line. The best defense is a good offense.

 

Batten down the hatches, and be safe!

Deborah E. Joyce

Author of “Identity Theft: A Victim’s Search For Justice”

follow my blog@deborahejoyce.com

 

 

 Should have been posted 12/31/21 – 1/1/22 (Oops!)

 

I’ve always been the kind of person  that likes to clean things up before the new year. Case in point – a bill from a Dr. appointment I had in January, believe it or not. Now, I’m blind, so I listen to my mail on a reading machine.

The reading machine said something about overdue, collections, garbled, garbled. I managed to figure out the telephone number for the billing department and tried to call them. For 3 days. Answer machine here leave message there, would I like to mark this message as urgent?

I called, I threatened, I begged. Finally, I asked for help from a local social work agency. This woman has been working with me on and off and she’s a gem. She took the information and she called.

No answer. She finally emailed them with an encrypted email. Whammo! I received a call from the billing department – what a surprise… He looked up my accountant said that I owed $37.50, would I like to pay now?”
If you look at the bill, you’ll notice that my secondary insurance carrier was not billed”.

He had me hold on and he looked and noticed that although they had my secondary insurance card information on file, they neglected to bill the secondary carrier. He didn’t know why. I asked him what he wanted me to do about this bill. He said to ignore it and that he would take it out of collections, wait for them to bill the secondary insurance and then resend the ending bill.

Well, this doesn’t help my blood pressure… It reminded me of another time when the secondary insurance carrier wasn’t billed and they actually did send me to collections. I caught it early enough so that their lawyer didn’t charge me for services.

Another incident had me trying to explain to the hospital that I was only there that day for lab work. Why was I being billed for a hospital telephone? They sent me to the fraud unit. The fraud unit realized that I was not admitted to the hospital, and removed the charge. They said they were very sorry, someone tried to scan me by making me pay for their telephone bill when they were in the hospital.

All of this goes to show you why you need to look at your bills. Your accounts. Not only your savings and checking account – any bill you receive. Especially these days!

Unless you choose to be magnanimous and pay for someone else’s Christmas presents… I don’t think things will change much in 2022.

As always, be diligent, safe, socially distant. Wash those hands, and please wear a mask!

Happy 2022,

Deborah E Joyce

Author of “Identity Theft A  Victims Search For Justice”

Available on Audible, Bard, and Amazon

 

 

I’ve  been  blogging  about  identity  theft  for  a  few  years now, but I feel that  sometimes people  still don’t understand  what  identity  is, and, if  stolen, how  it  affects  you. It’s always  someone  else. Someone else’s identity will be stolen. It  won’t  happen  to  me. I’m too smart. No  one  will get into my personal information, bank account, stocks. No one will be able to open an account in my name. that stuff happens on TV, it’s not reality.

We are looking  into  the face  of a  horror show. Ukraine is under attack. No one thought it would happen. It’s not real because it’s on TV. The news doesn’t report things accurately. They are blowing things up out of proportion. It’s not real.

Tell that to someone  who’s identity has been stolen. Tell it to their bank, mortgage  company, bill collector. Try  sleeping  at  night , wondering if the thief who has your  identity will take out a mortgage in your name in another state or country. Next week, month, or  5 years from no

When  your information is sold on the dark web, you’ll never find  the thief. You can’t change your name, credit  report, SS#, birth date. They  can do a  lot of damage  with that information for  the rest of your life, because that information will never change.

Treat identity theft like  a game happening  to someone else. Tell it to people in another country, who only want to live their life as they think they should, not life that  a dictator says you should. That is the hold a thief has on the victim. They dictate your soul, because it’s for life. Tell me how cyber crime isn’t real, that it doesn’t affect you.

It’s affecting  the world, right now. Tell it to relatives and friends of Ukranians, being  blown apart in their homes. Tell it to the people of Ukraine.

Look in the mirror, and tell me it doesn’t affect all of us. Oil, food, and shipping. Breaking into our electric grid and infrastructure. Wondering if our loved ones will be called into this mess to fight overseas with NATO  allies.

Tell me it doesn’t  matter.

 

DEJ

 

I listen to daily tech headlines every morning on my device. This is the latest scam, the scary part is that it says it’s undetected by antivirus software.

SysJoker is a remote access Trojan or RAT (Remote Access Tool) which started hitting systems in the 2nd half of 2021. SysJoker is unusual for several reasons.

It’s code is written from scratch, with versions for Windows Linux and Mac, and Linux and Mac versions will be fully undetected on the antivirus malware search engine. It also uses 4 separate commanding control troll servers, indicating an advanced threat with significant resources.

Now, it may seem that I’m getting off track, since I normally talk about identity theft. However, I want you to know what’s going on out there, to underline the importance of doing your virus scans, cleaning out your files, defragmenting, security sweeps. Keep your information under lock and key – don’t open emails from people you don’t know, and please, please be careful on social media, Facebook, Clubhouse…

As always, wash those hands, wear your mask. De-clutter your computer to make it easier to keep track of everything.

Stay safe,

Deborah E. Joyce

Author of “Identity Theft: A Victims Search For Justice”

https://www.amazon.com/Identity-Theft-Victims-Search-Justice/dp/B08B388D4D


 

Just in case you didn’t believe me, I’ve attached an article at the end of this blog to show you how easy it is to steal an identity. Because we allow it.

So in the attached article, this man, an immigrant, was not only able to get a passport, and a job with United Airlines, but he also stole the identity of a dead child. He  was able to impersonate the child for over 2 decades.

I have a few questions:

Why doesn’t Social Security retire a number when a person dies?

What kind of background check/verification did United use anyway?

How could he possibly passed the fingerprint test?

What happened to our so-called national Social Security database?

Now that the word is out, how many others are doing the same thing? I find it interesting that I, as a victim of identity theft, cannot change my Social Security number – although, apparently you could do so in the past. I’m told you can only change your Social Security number now if you’re in the witness protection program…

Notice that he was only caught after entering a secure area in the airport

I also noticed that it only mentioned charges of fraud and identity theft. Why not show penalties to deter this from happening again? Unless the penalties are so light that he will get off in a year. Or, it’s not enforced…

Hey United – change your motto – you’ve gotten too friendly!

Don’t forget to wear your mask and wash those hands!

Deb

 

                    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/06/us/united-flight-attendant who-stolen-identity.html?smid=url-share

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. The main thing is that my friends and the people I love are safe, housed, and fed. Please be vigilant, especially now during the holidays, scams are everywhere.

I am happy that my president and his cabinet are taking cybersecurity seriously. Read the article below, at least someone is trying to do something to stop these horrific scamsters!

If you want to educate your family and friends, feel free to pick up a copy of my book, “Identity Theft: A Victims Search For Justice” on Amazon. Stay safe, wash those hands. It’s not over yet, especially with these new variants.

Deborah E Joyce

 

TSA requires U.S. rail and airports to strengthen cybersecurity. By: Associated Press. RICHMOND, Va. >> The Transportation Security Administration is issuing new directives and recommendations aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity defenses of U.S. rail and airport operators.. The Biden administration said the requirements made public Thursday are part of a broader effort at protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure from ongoing cyberespionage and a surge in disruptive ransomware attacks.. “These new cybersecurity requirements and recommendations will help keep the traveling public safe,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. He had previously previewed the new regulations in October.. The new TSA directives require most passenger and freight rail operators to identify a cybersecurity point person, report incidents within 24 hours to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, conduct a vulnerability assessment and develop a contingency and recovery plan in case of malicious cyber activity. They go into effect at the end of the year and the TSA said it is making similar changes to requirements for airport operators.. The TSA said it is recommending but not mandating cybersecurity requirements to some smaller and lower-risk rail and airport operators.. The new regulations are similar to ones issued in May for pipeline operators following the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that disrupted gas supplies in several states.. Republican lawmakers have expressed concern that the TSA has crafted new cybersecurity directives without enough transparency and input from affected industries.. “We believe that care must be taken to avoid unnecessarily burdensome requirements that shift resources away from responding to cyberattacks to regulatory compliance,” a group of Republican senators said in an October letter to DHS’ Office of Inspector General asking for a review of TSA’s process for developing new cybersecurity regulations.. Victoria Newhouse, a TSA deputy assistant administrator, said at a congressional hearing Thursday that the agency had worked closely with private industry officials in crafting the regulations. She said that included a classified briefing with freight and passenger rail executives earlier this week to share intelligence reports about cyber threats to their industry and to solicit input on regulations.. The Biden administration has been pushing aggressively for greater private sector reporting of cyber incidents to the federal government. The Justice Department recently indicated it would sue government contractors and other companies who receive U.S. government grants if they fail to report breaches of their computer systems or misrepresent their cybersecurity practices..

 

Well, here we are, we made it to Thanksgiving! We are not out of the woods yet, please remember that. While we are looking forward to the holidays, it’s crunch time for the thieves. They’re getting ready for the onslaught of everyone out there who is in such a mad rush to be in public, and go shopping, and have a normal life. They know that many will let their guard down.

Here’s a little story I just heard the other day from a friend of mine. She took some friends out to dinner, and, while rushing about, she grabbed the wrong card to pay for the dinner. She didn’t realize until she got to the restaurant she had her debit card. But, she thought she’d be okay. So they had a great dinner and then she went to pay the bill, only to find out a few days later that she was shopping in California. The problem was, she lives on the East Coast. That’s right, restaurant employees went shopping on her card.

She called the police, and she thinks the thieves will be arrested as they were easily caught being the only employees in the restaurant at the time.  But she was stressed out, it was many many hours on the phone, and she doesn’t have the money back yet. She was given  provisional credit, which means that she can’t spend the money until the police release it after the investigation. That could take up to a year. She felt embarrassed, but wanted me to know what happened to her. I told her she was lucky that she’ll be able to get her money back. In her particular case, they were able to trace the thieves to the register in the restaurant, the time, and who was working that day. Also, she could prove she wasn’t in California.  Many people are not that lucky.

Bottom line? She said she doesn’t want to ever use a debit card again. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either. The credit card gives you more protection. Please, please be diligent about looking at your account statements. Report any suspicious activity ASAP to the credit card company or the store. Be especially careful with online shopping. At least make sure you’re fully awake before you get up at 4 AM to go Black Friday shopping! Coffee can be your friend at that hour.…

Let’s all be thankful for those who are watching out for us, especially the police. Times are stressful enough, and the holidays make it worse. As always, wash your hands and wear your mask. Especially now that will all be crowded together.

Deb

 

Hello everyone. This is a departure from my blog, but I had to write about what is going on right now. A friend of mine just came back from a trip across the country with her boyfriend. They went through 7 states and she told me that she couldn’t breathe because of all the smoke. You know, I’m blind, but I used to be able to see and I remember looking at pictures of the giant Sequoia in California, and I love nature. I also think about the plants, animals, birds, and reptiles that we are losing by the second.  I read that Arizona is running out of water, believe it or not

What does this have to do with identity theft? Well, as prices go up, and they will dramatically, thieves will be looking for easy money. Think about it – the lands that were growing food are burning. Trees once used for building houses, burning in a wood stove, fencing, are burned up. Medical bills will be going up because of breathing problems. Please, please be careful. We can come out on the other side if we all work together to keep each other safe. Each drop of water, every molecule of air is precious. And so are you. Don’t forget that. DEJ

 

Trees

sitting in my backyard

with my dog in a cup of coffee

saying good morning to the trees

you’re looking kind of lofty

 

I’ve been to California

never saw the Sequoia

I remember pictures of those mighty trees

sentinels waving in the breeze

 

Home to birds and all kinds of things

hiding in those branches

200 feet above our heads

I never thought they would end up dead

 

Fires were licking their mighty trunks

burned out trees falling down in chunks

what were we thinking, how can this be?

All that is left is a memory

 

I remember the pictures

I can see them in my mind

now I’ll never know their Majesty

you see, we were totally blind

No No: 101

 

 

When I write about identity theft, I always think that the thieves are stealing easily attainable information. The following is a true story, recited to me by a friend of mine yesterday.

She was at the doctor’s office at the counter waiting to pay her bill. Standing next to her, was another patient. The other patient had her wallet on the counter. The wallet was open. The woman was chatting amiably to the person behind the counter and not paying attention. My friend took a 2nd look, not believing what she was seeing.

The woman’s wallet was open flat on the counter. Visible to all was her driver’s license. My friend was easily able to read the woman’s name, address, date of birth, (July 13), I won’t give the year but she saw that too. Other cards were visible below that.

I asked her she thought of me when she saw this going on. She said not right away, but she did think to herself that she could have easily taken a photo of it with a cell phone, but she didn’t have one. Not that she would want to steal the information, but somebody could easily have done so. I asked her why she didn’t say anything to the woman and she said she was too embarrassed for the woman. Even if you made a joke such as happy birthday? “No,” she said, I couldn’t do it.

When I had an appointment the other day, I heard a woman giving her personal information, date of birth, address, apparently into her phone. It was so loud the whole room could hear it. I asked the nurse who was the person was and she said it was a patient. I mentioned that she might want to point out to the person how far her voice carried. The nurse didn’t want to get involved.

Bottom line people, if thieves are going to steal your information, at least make them work for it…

Feel free to share your stories…

Deb

     

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but I haven’t had time. You would think with Covid, and everything being closed, the time would be in abundance. Nope. So how many of you out there became caught up in those PROJECTS you never completed? Books you never read? Have you tried that new recipe yet?

     I moved to a new state about 9 months ago. I am happy to be near old friends. The best part is being accepted by a whole new group of people. After my move, I contacted the local equivalent of the Commission for the Blind, as well as other agencies. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, as a blind adult, I qualified for many different programs. What a shock.

     As an adult, I did not qualify for too much help in my old state unless you were on Medicaid. I had basic cane training in the school gym. I was shown how to cross the street in the 2-stoplight town I lived in. I was lucky enough to receive a computer, scanner, and printer, but that was only because I wrote a book. From that perspective, I thought I was extremely lucky. However, when you don’t know what else is out there, you are satisfied with the status quo. I was enrolled by this wonderful state in what they call an ”immersion program.” I feel like I went from nothing to everything in these past 9 months. In my old state, after the aforementioned cane training, the computer and some computer training, and some in-home management help, the training was ended after one year. No support groups, no contact with other blind individuals.

     With nothing to do, and nowhere to go, I must admit it gave me the time I needed to complete my book “Identity Theft: A Victim’s Search for Justice.”  But if being alone without support wasn’t depressing enough, it was really a kick when my friends told me about a new bus service. It was free, would take you anywhere you wanted to go all you had to do was call for reservation. My friend didn’t believe me when I told him I didn’t qualify. A few weeks later, he sheepishly called to tell me that I was right. That bus service SUPPORTED a new sign on the back – “Medicaid only”.

     My new state is providing me with more than I could ever have imagined. Monday through Friday I am in class from 7:30 AM to at least 11 AM. I’m learning new computer skills, advanced cooking and home management techniques, even braille – which is really hard when you’re old like me. Soon I will be starting a home repair/woodworking course, if you can believe that! And the support groups are everywhere. I have been able to speak with other people who have varied degrees of blindness. We support and encourage each other. A huge weight is lifted off one’s shoulders when you can speak with someone going through the same thing you are.  If you’ve never ridden a horse, how can you teach someone to ride? I have good hearing, and have no idea what it’s like to be deaf or hard of hearing. So how can a sighted individual know what it’s like to be blind? And yet most curricular for the blind are taught by those who are sighted.

     Here’s where I’m going with all of this – when you have the support of people in a similar position as you, life is a lot easier, and also safer. For example, maybe my blood pressure wouldn’t have spiked if I had someone to talk to about identity theft. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to rely on a thieving friend to give me the support I needed when I was losing my eyesight.

     I realize that I am very lucky to be able to move, and put myself in a better situation. If you are in a similar situation, you don’t have to be alone. Call the national organization of whatever your situation is – I don’t care if it’s Alzheimer’s, blindness, an MD, or maybe an association related to your interests, such as a ski club or a retiree organization. You’d think that someone in my situation would’ve known that. But it never occurred to me, and it is my own fault. Don’t look back, just move forward. Find your people and in brace them with open arms. I bet they’ll give you a big hug, and ask “what took you so long?”

Please be safe, wash your hands, wear your mask. It’s not over yet but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I hope we can come together and watch the Olympics. I think the Olympics portray the highest good in people. We come together from all over the globe, to participate in the biggest sporting event ever. We cheer each other along, and learn about each other’s way of life.

My hope is to carry that forward to everyday life.

All the best, Deb

 

Did

 

Hello everyone.

Today I would like to alert you to a new way that my local hospital bilked us out of money.

I moved here a year and ½ ago. My new PCP provided me with referrals to other doctors. One such referral was to a rheumatologist because I needed a shot to prevent osteoporosis. The shot and office visit had always been paid in full by my insurance in the past. You know what’s coming – this time it wasn’t covered.

As a matter of fact, I was billed twice. I paid the co-pay for the doctor, about $25. I received another bill from the hospital, asking for a co-pay of $50. I couldn’t understand what the charge was for, and the hospital billing department insisted that it was due.

I called Medicare. They never heard of such a thing, and looked up bills for the same procedure in years past. I’ve had the same shot and medicine for many years. Not only had it been covered, but Medicare informed me that the medication was over $1000 more expensive than last year. She couldn’t understand why.

Then I called my secondary insurance. They couldn’t explain it either. Looking at the bill, I was informed that Medicare and my secondary insurance had paid the doctors bill, with the co-pay balance of $25. They also paid the hospital about $741 between the 2 of them, with the balance of $50 from a co-pay do for me.

But my insurance didn’t know what the charge was for. They thought maybe it was a coding error on the part of the hospital.

In case you didn’t know, I am totally blind. Which means I record important information such as this. The following is a verbatim conversation I had with the billing department at the local hospital:

Number 1.  A Medicare rep told me that if the hospital owns the clinic in which the doctor’s office is located, the clinic must bill also. The doctor bills Medicare part B, the hospital bills part A, because it’s part of a clinic. So, the patient is stuck with the co-pay from the hospital even though I didn’t go to the hospital, I just went to an office in the hospital.               

Number 2.  So patient is responsible for 2 co-payments, one for the doctor and one for the hospital, because the charge is strictly where the hospital owns the clinic in which the doctor’s office is located.

Number 3.  Another rep put it this way – sometimes, when you receive services in the hospital where your doctor’s office is located, you’ll receive statements, one from the doctor and one from the hospital. This is especially true for something like a bypass, x-ray, anesthesia, Dr. services or part B, hospital services are part A. Medicare pays 80%, secondary insurance pays 20% of the remaining 20%.

However, she went on to explain that I shouldn’t have received the co-pay. Because it had been paid for 80% by Medicare, 20% by the supplemental insurance. Even if it’s an outpatient clinic.

Now wait till you hear the hospitals billing department response:

Number 3. We are unique because we are a hospital and also a clinic. There are outside clinics not connected with the main hospital. If you go to the other clinic, you’re not charged co-pay. If you go to the doctor’s office in the hospital, Medicare requires us to always file a separate bill for the hospital charge. Medicare considers this unique because we’re a hospital but we also have outside clinics. So Medicare always requires us to separate the clinic fee from the doctor fee.

He then went on to say that if I didn’t have Medicare that everything would be on one bill, but Medicare was the one that required that the bill be split into two, one for the doctor and one for the clinic.

When I told him that Medicare never heard of this, he said “Well, if there’d been a discrepancy Medicare would’ve caught it before now.” That they’d always billed this way. He also told me that Medicare paid about $1063.01 and my secondary insurance paid about $265. This is just for the hospital/clinic supposed visit. My secondary insurance paid $215 so I was left of the balance of $50 for the co-pay.

Number 4.  Another rep from the insurance company informed me that the doctor billed for an office visit co-pay was paid by me. But the Dr. used medicine that he received from the hospitals pharmacy so therefore the hospital charged me for use of its facility and its medicine which is always higher because you’re buying a service from the hospital. He said it’s like the difference between getting a walker from the hospital when you leave it or buying it at Walmart. You’re always paying a higher fee from the hospital. He said this is a unique situation that most people don’t know about. To avoid charges like this in the future, go to a doctor who has a standalone office and is not in a hospital or clinic.

I finally received the answers from a local SHIP (state health insurance program) office. Every state has one – an example is FLSHIP for the one in Florida, etc. the state abbreviation goes 1st. The representative explained that the doctors coming out of medical school don’t want to pay for medical malpractice insurance, office space, bookkeeping, etc. So, the hospitals started offering office space with in their hospital to the doctor. This way, the hospital covered the expenses for the doctor, who in turn, paid rent to the hospital. This allows the hospital to charge the insurance company for a hospital/clinic visit. They can also charge for equipment, medication, etc. at a higher hospital rate. And the cost is passed on to the patient.

Well, this is one reason why Medicare may go broke earlier than later. And I’m sorry that I took so long to explain it but I wanted to be absolutely clear. Because it was difficult for me to understand, even with the recordings I made.

The bottom line is, don’t go to the hospital until it’s absolutely necessary. Find a doctor whose office is standalone, not in a hospital or clinic. I told the doctor that I was changing because I didn’t want to pay the hospital fee, and the doctor’s office informed me they had no idea the hospital was doing this.

Hey, if I don’t tell you these things, who will? And I’m sure you have some great stories out there as well.

As always, be safe, wash your hands, and where your mask. And check your bills!

Enjoy the day, Deb

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to pass this latest one along. There was a recent news story about President Biden trying to launch a global cyber security initiative. Well the following article is from the UK…

We need to get together…Please be careful, I can’t stress this enough.

Be safe, wear masks and wash those hands1 Probably why the flu season was mild this year…DEJ

 

Huge surge in coronavirus-related cybercrime including fraudsters using fake NHS Covid apps to dupe victims causes 15-fold surge in scam takedowns during the pandemic By Dan Sales For Mailonline Published: 03:34 EDT, 10 May 2021 | Updated: 03:36 EDT, 10 May 2021 View comments Cyber security experts have taken down more scams in the last 12 months than the previous three years combined – as coronavirus and NHS-themed cons rocketed during the pandemic. Experts oversaw a 15-fold rise in the removal of online campaigns compared to 2019, according to the National Cyber Security Centre. There was a jump in the number of phishing attacks using NHS branding to dupe victims, with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout used as a lure via email and text message to harvest people’s personal information for fraud. Some 43 fake NHS Covid-19 apps hosted outside of official app stores were also pulled. Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, revealed the cons Dr Ian Levy, technical director of the NCSC said: ‘The big increase in Covid-19 related scams, fake vaccine shops, fake PPE shops, show – to me anyway – that criminals have no bounds on what they will abuse and the fear that they engender to try and harm and defraud people. RELATED ARTICLES Share this article HM Revenue & Customs remains the most copied brand used by fraudsters, totalling more than 4,000 campaigns, followed by the Government’s gov.uk website, and TV Licensing. Overall more than 700,500 campaigns were taken down, accounting for 1,448,214 URLs, the NCSC’s fourth Active Cyber Defence report revealed. HM Revenue & Customs remains the most copied brand used by fraudsters trying the cons National Cyber Security Centre HQ in London which has analysed and foiled many attacks – Criminals will offer ‘travel deals’ to obtain your money and information. Websites may look genuine, but subtle changes in the URL can indicate they are fraudulent. Websites may use images of luxury villas and apartments that do not exist. These are offered for rent, often at discounted prices and require deposits which are never returned. Where possible, book directly with an established hotel or through a reputable travel company/agent that is a member of a trade body such as Abta or Atol. – Always use the secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers and do not accept requests to pay separately via a bank transfer. Where possible, use a credit card when booking holidays over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act. – When travelling in the EU, people will be able to access emergency and medical care with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This card has replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Criminals are asking people for payment details, when the GHIC is free. They are advertising cards on fake websites that emulate the NHS. They claim to either fast-track or manage your application process before charging an up-front fee. The GHIC can be obtained directly via the NHS website – https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-he alth-insurance-card-ghic/ – Criminals may also target people with fake ‘Covid certificates’ and ‘passports’. Often posts include a link to a fraudulent website, used to steal personal and financial information. – Make sure you book festival and theatre tickets directly through official sellers. SOURCE: Take Five To Stop Fraud Another problem highlighted were endorsement scams, which falsely claim to be supported by celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson and Martin Lewis, as well as using UK newspaper branding. ‘They’re really convincing things, they’re really well created, so it’s not surprising people fall for them,’ Dr Levy said. The report comes ahead of the two-day CyberUK event starting on Tuesday, with experts among the NCSC due to speak, as well as Home Secretary Priti Patel, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming. Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the NCSC, said: ‘Whether it has been protecting vital research into the vaccine or helping people work from home securely, the NCSC has worked with partners to protect the digital homeland during this unprecedented period. ‘I look forward to hearing from thought-leaders at CyberUK as we reflect on this period and look ahead to building a resilient and prosperous digital UK after the pandemic. It came a month after it was warned criminals were poised to bombard people with ticketing, travel and health insurance scams as lockdown restrictions ease. With many people looking to book holidays and tickets to concerts or festivals, fraudsters are advertising bogus tickets at low prices as well as for events that have already sold out, UK Finance said. It warned people to watch out for scam emails, telephone calls, fake websites and posts on social media. To stay safe, people are reminded to follow the advice of the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign and pause to think before parting with their money or personal information. Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: ‘Criminals have been capitalising on the pandemic to commit fraud, and the easing of lockdown restrictions provides another opportunity for them to target victims. ‘As you start booking holidays and planning social activities, don’t let criminals take you for a ride. ‘Follow the advice of the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign and always visit websites you’re buying from by typing it in to the web browser – avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or text messages. ‘Be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer when buying or booking services online, and instead use a credit card or the secure payment options recommended by reputable websites.

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION/LABOR. Passing .. SB 676… Deepfakes. SB 309.
Makes it a Class C felony to intentionally manipulate images called deepfakes – edited pictures of videos created by computer software that virtually removes a person’s face from an existing image and pastes it onto the body of another.. Online privacy. HB 125, HD 2. Establishes the Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act, which protects the online accounts of employees, prospective employees, unpaid interns, applicants, students and prospective students from employers and educational institutions

 

Hey everybody. It’s always interesting to me to find something like this when I peruse all the newspapers online in different states. This one happens to be from the state of, believe it or not, Hawaii. It’s now a crime to forge state IDs, drivers licenses, employee identification cards, with fake pictures lifted off the Internet. Amazing that you have to write a law in order to make this a crime.

 

Am I the only one out here who thinks this is ludicrous? That it’s obvious that this should be a crime? I’m not about to look at the laws in all 50 states, but I just wonder how many states consider deepfake a crime? Welcome to the 21st century.

 

Obviously (pun intended), don’t forget to wash your hands, and be safe. I’m still wearing a mask in public, because although I’ve had my shots, many have not. It’s a matter of choice.

Be safe,
DEJ

 

Hi everyone.

I just heard that President Biden has committed the US to update our infrastructure to combat climate change.

I hope Congress lets him do it. I want to breathe clean air, and drink water from the tap. Not bottled. Why? We’re our own worst enemy, If you don’t know that fish and turtles are starving because they think plastic is a new food source, you live under a rock. It’s disgusting and very sad.

I also hope that when the President goes before Congress to update our systems, that he doesn’t forget about security!  

Nothing is impervious, at least we can make the hackers work for it… Thoughts?

As always, wash hands, wear your mask. Send virtual hugs!

Deborah E Joyce

You can find my book, “Identity Theft: A Victim’s Search For Justice” on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

Another news story that shows there are no laws stringent enough to stop these thieves. When will we learn?

Hackers break into thousands of security cameras, exposing Tesla, jails, hospitals. By: None. A group of hackers say they breached a massive trove of security-camera data collected by Silicon Valley startup Verkada Inc., gaining access to live feeds of 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools.. Companies whose footage was exposed include carmaker Tesla Inc. and software provider Cloudflare Inc. In addition, hackers were able to view video from inside women’s health clinics, psychiatric hospitals and the offices of Verkada itself. Some of the cameras, including in hospitals, use facial-recognition technology to identify and categorize people captured on the footage. The hackers say they also have access to the full video archive of all Verkada customers.. In a video seen by Bloomberg, a Verkada camera inside Florida hospital Halifax Health showed what appeared to be eight hospital staffers tackling a man and pinning him to a bed. Halifax Health is featured on Verkada’s public-facing website in a case study entitled: “How a Florida Healthcare Provider Easily Updated and Deployed a Scalable HIPAA Compliant Security System.”. Another video, shot inside a Tesla warehouse in Shanghai, shows workers on an assembly line. The hackers said they obtained access to 222 cameras in Tesla factories and warehouses.. The data breach was carried out by an international hacker collective and intended to show the pervasiveness of video surveillance and the ease with which systems could be broken into, said Tillie Kottmann, one of the hackers who claimed credit for breaching San Mateo, California-based Verkada. Kottmann, who uses they/them pronouns, previously claimed credit for hacking chipmaker Intel Corp. and carmaker Nissan Motor Co. Kottmann said their reasons for hacking are “lots of curiosity, fighting for freedom of information and against intellectual property, a huge dose of anti-capitalism, a hint of anarchism – and it’s also just too much fun not to do it.”. “We have disabled all internal administrator accounts to prevent any unauthorized access,” a Verkada representative said in a statement. “Our internal security team and external security firm are investigating the scale and scope of this potential issue.”. A person with knowledge of the matter said Verkada’s chief information security officer, an internal team and an external security firm are investigating the incident. The company is working to notify customers and set up a support line to address questions, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.. Representatives of Tesla, Cloudflare and other companies identified in this story didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives of the jails, hospitals and schools named in this article either declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.. A video seen by Bloomberg shows officers in a police station in Stoughton, Massachusetts, questioning a man in handcuffs. The hackers say they also gained access to the security cameras of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed more than 20 people in 2012.. Also available to the hackers were 330 security cameras inside the Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama. Verkada offers a feature called “People Analytics,” which lets a customer “search and filter based on many different attributes, including gender traits, clothing color, and even a person’s face,” according to a Verkada blog post. Images seen by Bloomberg show that the cameras inside the jail, some of which are hidden inside vents, thermostats and defibrillators, track inmates and correctional staff using the facial-recognition technology. The hackers say they were able to access live feeds and archived video, in some cases including audio, of interviews between police officers and criminal suspects, all in the high-definition resolution known as 4K.. Kottmann said their group was able to obtain “root” access on the cameras, meaning they could use the cameras to execute their own code. That access could, in some instances, allow them to pivot and obtain access to the broader corporate network of Verkada’s customers, or hijack the cameras and use them as a platform to launch future hacks. Obtaining this degree of access to the camera didn’t require any additional hacking, as it was a built-in feature, Kottmann said.. The hackers’ methods were unsophisticated: they gained access to Verkada through a “Super Admin” account, allowing them to peer into the cameras of all of its customers. Kottmann says they found a user name and password for an administrator account publicly exposed on the internet. After Bloomberg contacted Verkada, the hackers lost access to the video feeds and archives, Kottmann said.. The hackers say they were able to peer into multiple locations of the luxury gym chain Equinox. At Wadley Regional Medical Center, a hospital in Texarkana, Texas, hackers say they looked through Verkada cameras pointed at nine ICU beds. Hackers also say they watched cameras at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, in Arizona, and were also able to see a detailed record of who used Verkada access control cards to open certain doors, and when they did so. A representative of Wadley declined to comment.. The hack “exposes just how broadly we’re being surveilled, and how little care is put into at least securing the platforms used to do so, pursuing nothing but profit,” Kottmann said. “It’s just wild how I can just see the things we always knew are happening, but we never got to see. Kottman said they gained access to Verkada’s system on Monday morning.. Verkada, founded in 2016, sells security cameras that customers can access and manage through the web. In January 2020, it raised $80 million in venture capital funding, valuing the company at $1.6 billion. Among the investors was Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest firms.. Kottmann calls the hacking collective “Advanced Persistent Threat 69420,” a light-hearted reference to the designations cybersecurity firms give to state sponsored hacking groups and criminal cybergangs.. In October 2020, Verkada fired three employees after reports surfaced that workers had used its cameras to take pictures of female colleagues inside the Verkada office and make sexually explicit jokes about them. Verkada CEO Filip Kaliszan said in a statement to Vice at the time that the company “terminated the three individuals who instigated this incident, engaged in egregious behavior targeting coworkers, or neglected to report the behavior despite their obligations as managers.”. Kottmann said they were able to download the entire list of thousands of Verkada customers, as well as the company’s balance sheet, which lists assets and liabilities. As a closely held company, Verkada does not publish its financial statements. Kottman said hackers watched through the camera of a Verkada employee who had set one of the cameras up inside his home. One of the saved clips from the camera shows the employee completing a puzzle with his family.. “If you are a company who has purchased this network of cameras and you are putting them in sensitive places, you may not have the expectation that in addition to being watched by your security team that there is some admin at the camera company who is also watching,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who was briefed on the breach by Bloomberg.. Inside Arizona’s Graham County detention facility, which has 17 cameras, videos are given titles by the center’s staff and saved to a Verkada account. One video, filmed in the “Commons Area,” is titled “ROUNDHOUSE KICK OOPSIE. A video filed inside the “Rear Cell Block” is called “SELLERS SNIFFING/KISSING WILLARD??? Another video, filmed inside “Drunk Tank Exterior” is titled “AUTUMN BUMPS HIS OWN HEAD. Two videos filmed from “Back Cell” are titled “STARE OFF – DONT BLINK! and “LANCASTER LOSES BLANKET.”. The hackers also obtained access to Verkada cameras in Cloudflare offices in San Francisco, Austin, London and New York. The cameras at Cloudflare’s headquarters rely on facial recognition, according to images seen by Bloomberg.. Security cameras and facial-recognition technology are often used inside corporate offices and factories to protect proprietary information and guard against an insider threat, said the EFF’s Galperin.. “There are many legitimate reasons to have surveillance inside of a company,” Galperin added. “The most important part is to have the informed consent of your employees. Usually this is done inside the employee handbook, which no one reads.”.

…The hackers will keep on hacking as long as there are no consequences, and many rewards. Just saying…

Wash hands and be safe, As Always,

Deb

Hi everyone,

I wrote about hacking of electric grids and infrastructure. Here we go… The following item was on Daily Tech headlines news this morning. I keep asking if anyone is taking this seriously.

Please be safe,

As always, wash hands and wear your mask.
Deborah

 


A shocking case of computer hacking has been uncovered in Pinellas County, Florida. Federal investigators are trying to hunt down the person who tried to poison a public water supply — remotely.

© WTVT via NNS oldsmar-florida-water-treatment-plant-03.png

Investigators say a plant operator monitoring the water plant in the Tampa Bay city of Oldsmar noticed breaches starting Friday morning.

The hacker was controlling the computer system’s mouse — opening various functions on the screen and changing the sodium hydroxide in the water supply from about 100 parts per million to more than 11,100 parts per million.

“This is obviously a significant and potentially dangerous increase,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in liquid drain cleaners.”

If ingested in large amounts, sodium hydroxide can cause vomiting, chest and abdominal pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

© Provided by CBS News A look at a water tank at the Oldsmar, Florida, water treatment plant. / Credit: WTVT via NNS

Fortunately, inside the water treatment plant the plant operator immediately reduced the levels back to what was safe.

Now Secret Service and FBI cyber units are trying to determine who is behind the hack and whether it was someone in the U.S. or overseas. It occurred just two days before the Super Bowl in a city about 30 miles away from Raymond James Stadium.

“But the important thing is to put everybody on notice … This is kind of bad. Actors are out there, it’s happening,” Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel said.

Cyber experts warn that hackers have gotten into infrastructure before — but doing something dangerous — changes the calculus.

Happy New Year everyone!  We’re still bogged down by this virus, and the hackers are loving it. A case in point is the following article, although a few months old, it is still holding true. So let’s make a New Year’s resolution to watch our accounts and to be diligent about giving out our personal information.

U.S. Hospitals Cope With Looming Cyber-threats As COVID-19 Surges. By: Associated Press. BURLINGTON, Vt. 

By late morning on Oct. 28, staff at the University of Vermont Medical Center noticed the hospital’s phone system wasn’t working. Then the internet went down, and the Burlington-based center’s technical infrastructure with it. Employees lost access to databases, digital health records, scheduling systems and other online tools they rely on for patient care. Administrators scrambled to keep the hospital operational – canceling non-urgent appointments, reverting to pen-and-paper record keeping and rerouting some critical care patients to nearby hospitals. In its main laboratory, which runs about 8,000 tests a day, employees printed or hand-wrote results and carried them across facilities to specialists. Outdated, internet-free technologies experienced a revival. “We went around and got every fax machine that we could,” said UVM Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Al Gobeille. The Vermont hospital had fallen prey to a cyberattack, becoming one of the most recent and visible examples of a wave of digital assaults taking U.S. health care providers hostage as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide.. The same day as UVM’s attack, the FBI and two federal agencies warned cybercriminals were ramping up efforts to steal data and disrupt services across the health care sector. By targeting providers with attacks that scramble and lock up data until victims pay a ransom, hackers can demand thousands or millions of dollars and wreak havoc until they’re paid. In September, for example, a ransomware attack paralyzed a chain of more than 250 U.S. hospitals and clinics. The resulting outages delayed emergency room care and forced staff to restore critical heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level monitors with ethernet cabling.  A few weeks earlier, in Germany, a woman’s death became the first fatality believed to result from a ransomware attack. Earlier in October, facilities in Oregon, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and California also fell prey to suspected ransomware attacks. Ransomware is also partly to blame for some of the nearly 700 private health information breaches, affecting about 46.6 million people and currently being investigated by the federal government. In the hands of a criminal, a single patient record – rich with details about a person’s finances, insurance and medical history – can sell for upward of $1,000 on the black market, experts say. Over the course of 2020, many hospitals postponed technology upgrades or cybersecurity training that would help protect them from the newest wave of attacks, said health care security expert Nick Culbertson. “The amount of chaos that’s just coming to a head here is a real threat,” he said. With COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations climbing nationwide, experts say health care providers are dangerously vulnerable to attacks on their ability to function efficiently and manage limited resources. Even a small technical disruption can quickly ripple out into patient care when a center’s capacity is stretched thin, said Vanderbilt University’s Eric Johnson, who studies the health impacts of cyberattacks. “November has been a month of escalating demands on hospitals,” he said. “There’s no room for error. From a hacker’s perspective, it’s perfect.” The day after the Oct. 28 cyberattack, 53-year-old Joel Bedard, of Jericho, arrived for a scheduled appointment at the Burlington hospital. He was able to get in, he said, because his fluid-draining treatment is not high-tech, and is something he’s gotten regularly as he waits for a liver transplant. “I got through, they took care of me, but man, everything is down,” Bedard said. He said he saw no other patients that day. Much of the medical staff idled, doing crossword puzzles and explaining they were forced to document everything by hand. “All the students and interns are, like, ‘How did this work back in the day?’ he said. Since the attack, the Burlington-based hospital network has referred all questions about its technical details to the FBI, which has refused to release any additional information, citing an ongoing criminal investigation. Officials don’t believe any patient suffered immediate harm, or that any personal patient information was compromised. But more than a month later, the hospital is still recovering. Some employees have been furloughed until they can return to their regular duties. Oncologists could not access older patient scans which could help them, for example, compare tumor size over time. And, until recently, emergency department clinicians could take X-rays of broken bones but couldn’t electronically send the images to radiologists at other sites in the health network. “We didn’t even have internet,” said Dr. Kristen DeStigter, chair of UVM Medical Center’s radiology department. Soldiers with the state’s National Guard cyber unit have helped hospital IT workers scour the programming code in hundreds of computers and other devices, line-by-line, to wipe any remaining malicious code that could re-infect the system. Many have been brought back online, but others were replaced entirely. Col. Christopher Evans said it’s the first time the unit, which was founded about 20 years ago, has been called upon to perform what the guard calls “a real-world” mission. “We have been training for this day for a very long time,” he said. It could be several more weeks before all the related damage is repaired and the systems are operating normally again, Gobeille said. “I don’t want to get peoples’ hopes up and be wrong,” he said. “Our folks have been working 24/7. They are getting closer and closer every day.” It will be a scramble for other health care providers to protect themselves against the growing threat of cyberattacks if they haven’t already, said data security expert Larry Ponemon. “It’s not like hospital systems need to do something new,” he said. “They just need to do what they should be doing anyway.” Current industry reports indicate health systems spend only 4% to 7% of their IT budget on cybersecurity, whereas other industries like banking or insurance spend three times as much. Research by Ponemon’s consulting firm shows only about 15% of health care organizations have adopted the technology, training and procedures necessary to manage and thwart the stream of cyberattacks they face on a regular basis. “The rest are out there flying with their head down. That number is unacceptable,” Ponemon said. “It’s a pitiful rate.” And it’s part of why cybercriminals have focused their attention on health care organizations – especially now, as hospitals across the country are coping with a surge of COVID-19 patients, he said. “We’re seeing true clinical impact,” said health care cybersecurity consultant Dan L. Dodson. “This is a call to arms.”

Please be safe, as always wash your hands and wear your mask.
With best wishes for 2021, Deborah

 

 

Giving Thanks: A Thanksgiving Poem

By Deborah E. Joyce

 

Thanksgiving is over, I’m stuffed to the gills

Ate here with the seniors, I’ve had my fill

went to sleep early, up at four

my body, tired, was very sore

 

Went to the computer with pad and phone

on Black Friday, I never leave home

Avoiding the onslaught of shoppers in droves

I brew the coffee, stay warm in my robe

 

The dog ate my mattress, that’s the 1st stop

Sleepy’ s.com is where I will shop

coupons, rebates, I find them all

presents to buy, most I recall

 

Back to the bed, the budgets okay

spent more on that mattress then anything today

now it’s time to decorate-

my Christmas party is at a close date

 

Before you think this is all about shopping

I’ll tell you a thought in my head that’s been bopping

songs for birthday, Christmas, Easter you see

not for Thanksgiving, how can that be?

 

I hereby proclaim Thanksgiving the best

far and above all the rest

food, friends, camaraderie

This means so much more to me

 

Giving thanks for all the days

abundance, joy in many ways

my circle of people, I give you your due

and thanks to you the whole year through

 

I’ve written a lot about identity theft, mainly because I was a victim. It’s easier to write about what you know. That’s how we learn. Storytelling in the past was of oral tradition. Written after the invention of an alphabet.

Many times, the stories are funny. Sidesplitting laughter is a great teaching tool without being provocative. In my case, but I have to say isn’t so funny. I really, really wish I could relate a positive outcome. I can’t, but I want to share what happened to me with you, so that maybe you won’t suffer the losses that I’ve had to undergo.

So, this is a story about moving out of state, also the mail. When I moved, I did what millions of people do every day – I made a contract with a well-known moving company in my area. The manager came to my home, looked at the items that I wanted moved, very upbeat. When I expressed my concern about the move, especially being blind, she said they would take extra good care of me. Nothing to worry about. I signed the contract, and bought extra insurance at her suggestion.

Two young men showed up at my home to help me pack up my belongings. Their boss, the woman I met with previously, was tied up 3 hours away and couldn’t come. They assured me that she had gone over everything with them, it would be fine. Another woman I know was at my home helping me go through some stuff as well.

When the movers were about ready to leave for the day, the woman remarked there were a few things left. “What about the pictures on the wall?” she asked. They said they didn’t know I wanted those moved. I told them I hadn’t removed some of them from the wall because I didn’t want them damaged while they were sitting on the floor. I had them walk around with me, and noticed they hadn’t packed a substantial number of other items. Again, they said they didn’t know I wanted that moved, either.

Before leaving, I signed off on the paperwork. One of the guys said he had taken pictures of my items on his phone for me so that I would have a record of what was moved. I thanked him, and they left.

My belongings still hadn’t arrived after 3 weeks. The moving company said they couldn’t understand it. I should call their affiliate in my new state. They never answered the phone. After going back-and-forth with the original company for another week, I finally reached the company at my new location. They said they had tried calling me multiple times and never received an answer. They called the number they were given by the manager at my original location. That’s how I found out they were given my old number in my old state.

You might say that’s reasonable, but I had been talking with the original manager in the original company in my original state on my new telephone from my new location. It never occurred to me to tell her to give them that number…

My belongings finally arrived. It took me a long time to go through everything. I started noticing that things were missing, but I kept assuming they were in that other box that I hadn’t opened yet. Besides, as a totally blind person, I could easily overlook items. However, many large items were missing, including a 16 x 20 print that I loved. I had some other pictures, but that was the only one of that size. I couldn’t have overlooked it,

The mover did compensate me a little, nowhere near the replacement value of the items. Of course, the pictures that were on 1 of the mover’s phone had been deleted… I had no proof of anything.

But I had insurance, right? Well, that’s the point of this whole story. I found out that insurance did not matter at all. I would have to prove the value of the items and the only way to do that was to have a receipt for the missing items. But how many of us retain a receipt for something we bought 10 or 20 years ago? And they don’t go by replacement value – that would be too logical. That item purchased 20 years ago would cost more to replace today. Or, if an antique, you have to prove it. What about a gift, or inherited piece of jewelry?

It’s the same with any insurance. A tree hit the roof of my house many years ago. The insurance company paid a pittance of what a new roof would cost.  An act of nature, they said. I was lucky to get anything. When my car was hit on my front right bumper, the car insurance company said the same thing. The insurance company paid roughly half the cost of the damage. They said I was lucky the other driver had insurance, or I wouldn’t have gotten anything.

Then there’s the hoops we have to go through in order to put a claim on health insurance. So, I’m starting to wonder why have any insurance at all? As I thought about it, and started tabulating the cost I was putting out in premiums every year, I realized the cost of those premiums far exceeded any reimbursement from the insurance company.

So, I’d love to start this conversation. What has been your experience with insurance companies? I haven’t even mentioned those poor people affected by the wildfires in California, or the floods in the South. I hear that the insurance company says those are acts of nature, as well. Are we being set up? Think about it.

If we’re lucky, and never have to submit a claim, should we get a discount? I know Allstate does something like that with their good driver discount. That’s only fair, insurance companies are making a huge profit, I hear.

In addition, I had mailed many books through the post office. I used what they call mega mail, which is book rate, instead of priority mail which would’ve been expensive. I opened the last box of books a month ago. The box was all taped up so I had nothing to worry about, right? But books in there did not feel like mine. And it seems like some were missing. I was able to get a neighbor to help me look through the books. I was missing books of my childhood:  Bambi, My Friend Flicka, Lad a Dog, 1st editions and they were from my childhood. They were all replaced with textbooks on statistics, PowerPoint, Greece, with different names in each of the books. Obviously, not mine. The post office could do nothing – this was a new one, they said. And if I had bought insurance, it would not have done me any good. I would have no way to prove what books were in the box.

Since my move, I’ve been lucky enough to find a great group of people. They have enrolled me in an immersion school, teaching me the skills I will need as a blind adult. The classes are daily, 5 days a week. I tell you this because I haven’t had enough time to answer your wonderful comments as I would like. But I will do the best I can.

As always, be safe, wash your hands, and wear your mask.

Deb

I Know Why 
Deborah E Joyce
10/23/20

 

I know why things are changing

people crying, everyone complaining

look around, what do you see?

The need is great, yet people flee

 

But things are not my fault, we say

the someone to fix it is not “we”, but “they”

Aren’t “they” the same as “we”?

All under one family tree?

 

The path to take must be together

no matter what the kind of weather

On this planet, we all had a part

together, from the very start

 

it’s not the planets fault it’s bleeding

her beaches and coral reefs receding

She doesn’t have much time, you know

mother Earth, her hemisphere cannot grow

 

yet, we ignore her, and also each other

looting and killing each of our sisters and brothers

This is all I can tell you, it comes from my heart

this was my thought from the very start

 

we have heaven above with the ground below

let’s turn on our light and let each 1 glow

I think I know why the sky is burning

smoke inhaled has nostrils burning

 

I remember when our skies were blue

I know why everything is churning  – do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Something is not adding up.  I remember my mother telling me that things were simpler in her day. Now, I’m saying the same thing about my childhood.  Each generation’s grandparents talk about the good old days. Things never seem to change.

     I don’t even want to watch the news anymore.  Everyone is on edge.  Between the coronavirus, the upcoming election, the economy, wildfires, and the like, it seems to me that were going around in circles and nothing is accomplished.  

     Should a police officer be held accountable when an innocent is gunned down? In August 2019, a homeless man living on the street was dragged by a rope around his neck by 2 police officers on horseback. They said it was justified because the man was loitering.  People are looting and burning down businesses, in the name of this or that. White supremacy. Black lives matter.
     
     I think all lives matter. I think were all important. I think the law should be the same for everyone. Have we become so jaded, so scared, that we stopped standing up for basic rights?

     Should businesses be held accountable for polluting our waters so badly, that fish mistake plastic for food? I just want to eat a fish, not a plastic soda bottle.

     Does my government have the right to spend $100 on a hammer? Or, is it my responsibility to vote the spendthrift out of office? Is it the government’s responsibility to keep me safe from an insidious virus? Or the drug companies?

     I lost my life savings as a victim of identity theft. The local DA said it was my fault. I am totally blind, and let the thief, who was my friend, help me write out a check to pay the lawnmower guy. I shouldn’t have trusted him to help me do that. He took my account number off the check, was able to get into my bank account online, and drained it. I should have trusted the lawnmower guy, who was a stranger.  So I wrote a book about it. It’s called “Identity Theft: A Victim’s Search for Justice” by Deborah E. Joyce.  When I researched my book, I came across story after story of people who were victimized by friends and family. They were seniors, disabled, recovering from surgery. One woman even stole her son’s life savings while he was in the Armed Forces with his unit fighting in Iraq.

     In the end, are we only responsible for ourselves? Our neighbor? Our country? Our planet?
Does it ever end?

Thanks for listening. As always, wash your hands, wear your mask, and remember to vote.
Deb

Hello out there,

I hope everyone is staying safe.
I received info about Internet security expert, Robert Siciliano, from my good friend Kevin. He has some great information on his website about keeping safe on the Internet, in the home, etc. If you go to his website, scroll around until you get to many hints that he had mentioned that you could read about. I’ve included a link to his website:

https://safr.me/

Scroll down to his blog. He mentions, among other things, how to check that the identity theft protection you just purchased is actually really identity theft protection and not just a label.

Have fun scrolling through his informative blog.

PS – no, I don’t know Mr. Siciliano, and am not making any money from getting his name out to you.

My only goal is to keep all of us safe…

Here’s a question – when was the last time you trained your computer to put all of that spam into your junk folder? This will help train your computer to put that spam where it belongs, in junk!

Then you just highlight the whole junk list and delete it all at once. It’s time-consuming at 1st, but just like your dog, a trained computer has a happy owner.

Enjoy the day,

Deb

 

\

 

Hi everyone,

I know many are home due to the virus. But I wanted to share this from AARP fraud watch, and hope you remain vigilant.

Especially now, don’t let your guard down. This is just the scenario thieves love…

As always, be safe, mask up and wash up.

Deb Joyce

 

 

Dear Deb,
There’s nothing not to like about free public Wi-Fi. That is, if you don’t mind giving scammers easy access to all of your data.
     

 

 
How It Works
Scammers can set up an “evil twin” network — a Wi-Fi network that looks like the one you are expecting to use — hoping you’ll connect to it.
Scammers can also set up a “man in the middle” attack to get between you and the Wi-Fi access point, in order to intercept your data. Once in, they look to steal passwords and other sensitive information from your device.
They also set up fake Wi-Fi access points that require a credit card for you to connect to them. They then steal your credit card information.
 
 

 

 
What You Should Know
Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure if they don’t require a password to connect to them.
It’s safer to use your service provider’s network rather than public Wi-Fi, even if it means incurring charges.
 
 

 

 
What You Should Do
Ask staff for the exact name of their establishment’s public Wi-Fi network. This way, you are sure you are connecting to it and not a look-alike.
Limit your activity on public Wi-Fi to activities such as browsing news, sports and weather. Avoid doing anything that requires a username and password.
If you are a frequent public Wi-Fi user, look into signing up for a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data protected, even on unsecure public Wi-Fi networks.
 
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family and visit the Fraud Watch Network.
Sincerely,
Kathy Stokes
AARP Fraud Watch Network
Are you active on social media? Do you enjoy sharing information that can help prevent friends and family from falling victim to scams? Become a volunteer AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) Digital Fraud Fighter! In exchange for simply sharing the same type of content with your friends and family that you already do, Digital Fraud Fighters will receive access to exclusive scam briefings plus a Welcome Packet, which includes a T-shirt, a copy of the FWN Con Artist’s Playbook, the FWN Watchdog Alert Handbook, and more. Interested? Send us a note at FWN@aarp.org for more information!
 

 

 
Get Help
To report a scam or for help if you or a loved one has fallen victim, contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline.
CALL 877-908-3360
 
 
Receive AARP Watchdog Mobile Alerts*
Text “FWN” to 50757 to sign up.
*By entering your mobile number, you are opting in to receive text messages from AARP to the number you provide. Your consent is not required as a condition to purchase goods/services. Message frequency varies by account. Message and data rates may apply. SMS Terms and Conditions: https://aarp.info/tcofr
 
 

 

 

 

 

Cable finally installed cable, net, phone. Then the work began. Calling agencies for service, i.e., guiding eyes for the blind, etc., scheduling appointments.

Unpacking, patting around the closets trying to orient myself to spaces in this apartment.

I make a mental map of what I put, and where, so I may find them again.

It’s a surprise to find I can get groceries delivered for a nominal fee. It used to cost $30 to pay a friend to bring me to the store.

I found new people with whom to connect. Virtual conferences, Zoom meetings, even the NFB convention, which I never attended before. One kind woman from my local support group paid for the one-year membership for me.

I also found that NFB offers a free white cane to the blind, on a yearly basis. My cane is 10 years old…

Support groups are a blessing. Experienced people out there are eager to share info. We have all been beginners at one point or another.

To those of you who offered a helping hand to the new kid on the block, thank you very much. I look forward to returning the favor when we get past social distancing…

I am also thankful to 2 wonderful supporters, Alix and Kevin, of my new enterprise: I wrote a book!!!
I never thought I would do such a thing.

But it was so important to me to try, alerting people to identity theft and the disastrous results it has on one’s life…

Look for it on Amazon, “Identity Theft:  A Victim’s Search for Justice, by Deborah E. Joyce.

I hope my effort keeps everyone’s identity, and bank account, safe. Don’t let it happen to you or your loved ones.

Thanks for listening.
Be safe,
Deb

 

It’s really tough to give up everything and move on to what one hopes is a better situation. I’ve done just that, and recently…out of state, no less.
Not my dream location, but certainly better than the toxic environment I was living in.

Many live with things/people that are not in our best interest. How to take the first step?

In one sense, I am lucky to be single and don’t have to take into account family, and the affect a major move would cause to many, not just me.
On the other hand, being single stinks. Moving allows you to meet new people, and maybe a closer group of friends. I lived in a rural area, where you need a car. No public transportation. This makes it difficult to meet and greet. So, I was pretty much homebound for the past 10 years, when I lost my eyesight.

The kicker was becoming a victim of identity theft. That straw was the one that forced me to look at the life I had. There were many good things, but this last event did me in.

After I moved, it took 3 weeks for the cable company to connect my computer. Unpacking, acclimating.
I wanted to blog before this, I missed it, and those of you out there.

Life throws you curve balls. Instead of letting things get to me, I left. But I had to rein in my fear, and yes, it was paralyzing. So, I jumped.

Let me tell you, it was the BEST decision I ever made. I am still in shock, and now wish I did this before. I really did want to move sooner, but the aforementioned events got in the way.

Yes, the movers left some of my things behind. They can be replaced. Yes, I lost a lot of money selling my house. My furniture won’t be here for 6 more weeks. And the eBay guy who swore he would sell some of my good stuff didn’t and I lost that as well. It was a big financial hit.

Yet, some of the lost items have somehow been replaced by wonderful new neighbors. The other stuff? Unimportant.

Can this be a good time to find the dream we have been searching for? Why not?

Maybe take this time to research a new job, apartment, neighborhood, whatever. Release what has been bringing us down. Now, more than ever, we need to be lifted up.

I did it, so can you.

Just do it with love.

Deb

This virus has leveled the playing field. What do I mean by that? No matter age, gender, social class, nationality, the coronavirus has affected our entire planet. Borders mean nothing.

Amazon ran out of toilet paper. People are hoarding the most ridiculous things, thinking the world is going to end. This is Armageddon. Experts are pointing out that mandatory social isolation is bad for our mental health. The suicide rate and overuse of drugs will go up, domestic violence, as well.  The most vulnerable of us; seniors, the homebound, people with pre-existing conditions are scared.

On the other hand, medical personnel are coming out of retirement in order to volunteer their help. Restaurants are donating food. Businesses have started donating money for research. There are thousands of uplifting stories like that every day. I’m focusing on those little tidbits, not media hysteria.

I’ve been homebound for almost a decade, due to the loss of my eyesight. It’s been difficult to explain to people just what that’s like. You can’t leave your home unless someone offers to drive you, but everybody is busy. When you do go out, it’s usually for a medical appointment. Visitors are few and far between, again because everybody has their own lives, their own struggles, pain, and issues. When we become wrapped up in our own lives, it’s easy to forget those that are permanently homebound, bedridden, and the like. One thing about this virus – it will pass, when it does, what will we be left with?

Everyone came together during the 9/11 catastrophe. When all was said and done, people went back to their daily lives. Our only reminder was the empty space where the World Trade Center stood. The debris was cleared, the dead buried, the disabled firefighters, police, and volunteers tried their best to put their lives back together. To this day, the mental anguish of that fateful day survives.

A reporter interviewed one nurse the other day. Near tears, she tried to explain her struggle as she tried to help victims of the coronavirus die. The family could not be with the victim, and she didn’t want them to die alone. I cried with her, and am still crying now as I think of her. My heart goes out to those selfless people who are trying their best to deal with a horrific situation.

I started this blog about 6 months ago, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t posted anything in a long time because I’ve been going through my own struggles. I didn’t want to come across in the wrong way. I don’t know if anyone will read this, but it doesn’t matter.

I only hope we can come through this uplifted, responsible, and with a raised awareness that as the human race, we all walk this earth together. Pray, be kind to each other and put ourselves in each other’s shoes.

One final note… I was the victim of identity theft. I can tell you from experience, please limit your information on the Internet. This is the thief’s dream. Don’t say where you are, don’t talk about your birthday because they use that information against you, the less you say, the better. Encourage each other, support each other, help each other.

Stay safe, and healthy,

Deborah

Each new election cycle brings with it new people. Of course, the new people have no idea what’s going on.  The first thing on my list was to find out who my new Senator, Congressman, and Assemblyman were. Accomplishing that, the next step was to contact them.

They were unavailable.  Newly elected, they were setting up their office. They had meetings.  Just when I thought I was getting somewhere, finding out they escaped on a 7 day vacation during the 3rd week in February.  Really? Remember, their office opened in January.

Of course, you cannot speak to these officials directly – you must go through their office staff.  They have 2 phone numbers – one in Albany, and their district office.  No answer at my assemblyman’s office, not even voicemail.  His district office told me the staff member was out with a family emergency.  Still no answer after 2 weeks.

Moving on to the Senate, the staff member informed me that the identity theft bill had passed the Senate – on June 12, 2018.  What was the status? I asked.  It was just sitting there he told me,  contact the assembly to find out why.

I had to call different members of the assembly committee to find out the problem.  No one knew about the bill.  The new assembly member didn’t even have it on her list according to her office staff.  After looking the bill up, the staff member told me it looked like a good bill.  She would pass the information on to the legislative department in the assemblyman’s office.  The Senate bill number was 2406A,  the same as last year only because the bill had passed the Senate.

One stroke of luck was the new Senator, Sen. Savino (518–455–2945) had worked with Sen. Goldin last year, so she knew about the bill.  However, she was unavailable. The new assembly member Donna Lupardo, the aging chair for the assembly (518–455–5431) would look into it.

Assembly member Rebecca  Seawright  is the new  Consumer  fraud  member (518–455–5676) and had worked with Sen. Goldin as well.  I also spoke with special assistant Jack Robbins.

Sen.  Savino’s office advised me that the bill was moved to the Ways and Means Committee on June 12  last year.  Ways and Means? I looked it up – Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. Under article I section 7 of the U.S. Constitution which declares:  all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. The committee has jurisdiction over revenue and related issues such as tariffs, trade agreements, and bonded debt of the United States. It also oversees revenue related to Social Security, Medicare, and social services.

Someone is trying to move this bill into oblivion and kill it.

Then I  was told to contact  the Assembly chair  Elaine Weinstein (518–455–5462).  At least I found the new bill number…A 5496.

This isn’t a system. We are enmeshed in quicksand.  I voted for some of these people.  To find out that my taxpayer dollars are being wasted on vacation, a blase attitude,  and that my needs are not being met infuriates me. No wonder identity theft is so rampant – no one cares.  Unless you’re a victim.  I included telephone numbers just in case someone out there felt like asking questions.  I don’t want to give up because I feel vulnerable in that there is no law protecting us.

Staff members in each of the above senators and assemblyman’s office could not explain why the current N.Y.S Penal Code shows the bill as law, since it has definitely not passed the assembly.  I am assured that it is not a law even though the Penal Code says it is.  Believe me, I wish it were law, even though it wouldn’t help me ex post facto.

I’m tired, and can use some help.

Good luck,

Deborah

 

Hi everyone.  I hope all is well and that you made it through the latest round of snowstorms. I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of winter, and desperately hope that the groundhog was right in that it’s supposed to be in early spring.

Speaking of sick and tired – I’ve been doing a little investigating. Remember my beef about the New York State Penal Code, that there’s no identity theft law? And many of you looked up Penal Code 190.79 – 84.  Now don’t start rolling your eyes until you hear what I have to say.

I decided to place a call to my senator in order to clarify the current New York State penal law regarding identity theft. I was informed by his staff member that Senate Bill 2406 A, regarding identity theft, was passed by the Senate on June 11, 2018. However, according to his records, it still has not passed the assembly as of this date, February 4, 2019.

So then, I told him that I was confused.  If the law has not passed the Assembly, why is it showing up on the Internet under the Penal Code as if it is a law?  He couldn’t give me an answer. Then I queried him “why is it showing up as if identity theft is a crime?” He didn’t know that, either.

I wondered if this happens all the time?  Are amendments showing up as if they were laws when they haven’t been passed?  This can be confusing to people.  Well, he couldn’t answer.  The only advice he could give was to contact Assemblyman Lentols office, as the assembly sponsor, and find out what was going on.

When, or if, I can get an answer to my question, I will update the blog. In the meantime, even though it looks like there’s a law for identity theft, there is no law.

Of course, if the DA won’t move forward with prosecution, it doesn’t matter anyway. Prosecutorial discretion, remember?

Welcome to New York.  If anyone out there can clarify this crazy situation, let me know.  It might stop my head from spinning.

Have a good one, be safe.

Deborah

I am so happy to report that my good friends just became the proud grandparents of a baby boy on February 1! Good thing, as mama was ready to burst. Oddly, she didn’t complain about giving birth early – Gee, I wonder why?

I don’t know the name of the baby, because dad was so happy he was crying. When my friend asked her son-in-law the baby’s name, he couldn’t speak. She told me he just kept blubbering “I don’t care” whatever”!”

It’s wonderful to see a baby that’s lucky enough to be born into a loving family able to support him both financially as well as emotionally as he grows. My heart goes out to the many people and children who are not as fortunate. Each new life brought into this world deserves the best. Every parent, no matter where they live, wants the best for their child.

While I know that this child will grow up with the best education, the best nutrition (my friend used to be a chef), and a secure environment in which to grow up, I can’t help thinking about the many children who are not so fortunate.

Each living being on this planet is precious. No matter what country we live in, background, race, religion, creed, every one of us is just a segment of humanity.  Every living being, whether animal, tree, or fish, is part of the whole that nourishes us.

We all feel the same emotions, and we all have a heart. My hope is that this new generation will be able to live in light, love, and peace. That would be a great lesson for us all.

U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World – YouTube

These words are still true.

Love,

Deborah

It has been pointed out to me that I am wrong. Identity theft IS a crime according to the New York Penal Code. I have maintained, as a victim of identity theft, the law should have been upheld. In my case, it was not.  If the law is not upheld, there might as well be no law.

I was robbed twice. The first thief wiped out my savings, and two financial institutions provided proof of that. But the case went on for years, going through three different district attorney’s, and two jurisdictions. By the time the case got to district attorney number three, it was so overwhelming that the district attorney could not make sense of what happened. Since it never went to a grand jury, the thief got away with it.

The second case was handled by a different investigator. He gathered information and questioned the thief who confessed. The investigator brought the information to a different DA in the same office where my first case was handled. Because it was so clear, the thief faced felony charges, and I received restitution.

The victim of any crime has no say in the matter. The final decision is up to the district attorney making it subjective to the district attorney’s whim. That’s unfair to the victim. My hope in telling you this story is to find other victims in similiar situations so that we can come together and find a solution.

It’s really difficult if you have not been in the same circumstance to understand the victim’s position. We don’t want to cry and moan all the time, but it’s frustrating dealing with a blasé system that only cares for the criminal’s rehabilitation in addition to freeing up jail space because it costs too much money to incarcerate. The victim is left bankrupt, and in some cases homeless. The problem is exacerberated because now the victim, having lost everything, is forced to apply for help from social services.

Look at what happpened to the unfortunate employees of the federal government who were working without a paycheck and were forced to apply for government assistance. No one wants to be held hostage by a system that has little regard for its citizens.

My goal is to bring others together in order to share stories and lend support to each other. I know I’m not alone, but sometimes it sure does feel like it. I want to plug the hole in the system before it becomes a flood. Our democratic system is at its best when people notice a problem, gather together to raise awareness and affect positive change.

Maybe the Penal Code should add this disclaimer: Identity theft is a felony only if the district attorney says so.

I welcome your opinion.

Deborah

Isn’t it strange how your life can change overnight? I received some disheartening news yesterday.  My friend and I had an appointment to get our hair cut together today.  My friend called last night to tell me our appointment had been canceled.

Our hairdresser has a small shop in a small town. One of her employees went outside to get something across the street.  It was early evening, and she was wearing dark clothing.

Our hairdresser ran outside when she heard the brakes screech and a loud thud. Her longtime employee lay disheveled on the ground in front of the car that hit her.  She was gone.

I didn’t know the woman that well, but she was a bright, well spoken, happy person. Even though we weren’t friends, I’m sitting here with tears flowing from my eyes for a kind woman whose life was cut short. I don’t know the particulars, but it doesn’t matter. This kind woman has left family, friends, and acquaintances behind.

I only hope that somehow she knew that her life brightened the world of those around her. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen in a small town on a weekday evening.

Gen X and Y would use the above as an example to do everything today because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

As a baby boomer, I don’t know what the future will bring. I don’t want to be a burden, so I try to plan for the future.

There’s no right or wrong between these two ideologies. Experience shapes behavior and thought patterns.

I think most of us do the best we can. One thing binds us all – we are all on this planet together.

I know this isn’t my normal blog post, but I had to share this event with someone. If you took the time to read this, thanks for “listening”.

Deborah

 

It’s confusing because just the name identity theft can be a misnomer.  For example, usually, when people think of theft they think of tangible property, such as a wallet, jewelry, etc.  You think of a burglary, robbery, stealing someone’s possessions.  Or a bank robber at gunpoint.

Is a name a possession?  Yes, it is, in one way – but a name is not something you can touch or hold onto.  It’s the use of that name that is attached to a bank account for property and is used to steal something real, such as your life savings.

Right off the bat. It’s confusing as to what identity theft actually is. It’s also open to interpretation by law enforcement.  Maybe the name of the crime should be changed to Identity Hijack or something like that. Because your identity really is hijacked. Your information is used by another person to whom you have not given permission, to steal your money, possessions online, etc.

That’s the other glitch – online is the new way of stealing. Cybercrime is something we still have to learn to deal with.  Our government for example still has no clear cybercrime law especially when it comes to the hijacking of our information by persons in other countries.  Most companies have not found a way to secure our personal information stored in their database.

Merriam Webster Definition of theft.
1: The act of stealing specifically: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

 2: An unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property.

Definition of Identity Theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal information (such as a Social Security number) especially in order to obtain money or credit.

In addition, cybercrime/identity theft laws are not consistent throughout the United States.  Furthermore, district attorneys are not consistent within each state.

For example, a few years ago the Albany Times Union reported that a woman whose husband passed away was having a difficult time managing everything.  Her neighbor offered assistance.  These two women knew each other for a few years, and the widow considered the neighbor her friend.

The neighbor helped herself to the widow’s money.  The widow’s daughter found out about it and went to the police.  When the police brought the case to the district attorney, charges were filed against the neighbor and the court ordered restitution to the widow.

I live in a different county from the aforementioned widow.  A friend of mine stole my information, broke into my bank account online, and stole my life savings.  I knew the thief for 11 years and also considered him a friend.  When police brought him in for questioning, he told them that I gave him all my money because I was losing my vision and mentally incapable of handling my money.  My district attorney said it was” he said -she said” because I asked the thief to help me write out a check.  The thief was not questioned by my district attorney, and I lost my life savings.  The district attorney refused to listen to the bank or my attorney.

We are at the mercy of the district attorney’s whim.  My case was almost identical to the aforementioned case of the widow.  The only difference between the two cases is the fact that there were two different district attorneys.

What good is a law in the Penal Code if that law is not followed by law enforcement?  If a law is not consistent, it’s not a law. It’s just a statement.

I hope this blog entry clears up the questions that many have had.

Deborah

 

Hello Everyone!

I came through my first ever live interview on Lois T. Martin’s show, “I’ve Got Your Number” on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. I was nervous, but Lois and her cohost JoAnna Garfi  McNally brilliantly guided me through the interview.

Not only was it an amazing success, we even had enough time at the end of the show to answer a few questions. I am grateful, in that Lois and JoAnna gave me the time to talk about this very important topic, identity theft, on their amazing show

Due to the success of my segment, at some point in the near future, Lois has decided to use each Wednesday nights show as a platform to disseminate information on various hot topics to her listening audience. Upcoming shows will include, but not be limited to such topics as autism, healthcare and

money management.  Lois and JoAnna both felt there is a lack of information on many topics that are not generally discussed.  Each week, the guest host will answer questions from the audience as well.

I  would like to mention that the Monday shows are geared for all to join in to ask their questions to the utmost professional and intuitive empaths one would want to listen to.  

My heartfelt thanks to Lois and JoAnna for helping me to spread the word about identity theft. I know that upcoming speakers will enjoy the same success as I had, under the guidance and support of these two wonderful women who only want the best for everyone.

“Thank you” Lois for this amazing opportunity. I know that because of your show my mission of moving identity theft from civil to criminal court will succeed. I leave you with the last two words that Lois said to me: “have faith”

Happy  New  Year,

Deborah 

Listen  to  “I’ve  Got  Your  Number”  with  Lois  T.  Martin  and  JoAnna  Garfi  McNally  every  Monday  and  Wednesday, on  Blog  Talk  Radio (646)  716- 6237, 7pm  EST.  Also  online  at  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/loistmartin 

Note:  Each  show  is  archived.  If  you  miss  a  show, or  wish  to  listen  to  past  shows, go  to  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/loistmartin and there is a listing of previous episodes on the  page.  Enjoy!

Hello and thank you for the nice compliment.

I’m so excited and wish to share. My good friend,
Lois T.  Martin, has a  great show on blogtalkradio..com.  Check her out on www.blogtalkradio.com/loistmartin.
She has invited me to be on her show this January, 2, 2019 to talk about protecting yourself from identity theft.

Lois is a  numerologist and healer. She has many wonderful guests on her show, from astrologers to life coaches. You can go to the blog talk site and look at the archives on her show.

Lois is a  no nonsense, down to earth  person, who brings people together from all over the world. But she won’t hold your hand, instead  reminding people that they must do the work themselves. Lois and her co host with the mostest, JoAnna Garfi -McNally,  let people know that they are there to support you, but you have to do the work. No hand holding here.

When I  listen to questions, I  realize that I  am not the only one going through a  particular situation. Sometimes, you think  you’re the only person  having an issue. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s affected by a  situation.

I  am blessed to call these wonderful people my friends. They definitely don’t let me get away with anything, and let me know when I  don’t hold  up my end of the bargain.

Along with regular  listeners, we have formed a  strong group of like minded people who only want to be there for each other, from giving a  cheer when things are great, and support when things aren’t going the way we wish them to.

What a  wonderful group, and a  great  honor  to be able to bring identity theft to the forefront. Thank you Lois and JoAnna, for the wonderful work you do. I  am honored to be a  part of the solution. I  look forward to giving some positive information on the upcoming show, so that people can be empowered. I  hope to see readers of this blog there.

How it works:

  1. Call  1 (646) 716-6237 about  15  min before the show, which airs  at 
    7:00 pm  on Jan 2,  2019. 
  2. As soon as you hear “blog talk radio, your show is scheduled to start in…press  the number  “1” –  this puts you in the queue so you can ask a  question.
  3. You can listen  while you’re waiting. You’re on mute until they reach your  place on line.

Lois and JoAnna  air every  Mon/Wed  at  7:00 pm. I  hope  to  hear you there.

It’s  a  great  show, join us!

Have  a  wonderful  day,

Deborah   

 

 

This is something you didn’t think of – the effect of identity theft on seniors, and their ability to afford rent. I had another sleepless night, because it dawned on me that I’m smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation. ”My” generation has already started to affect the housing market – and no one prepared for it.  As a matter of fact, I bet some people became rich following the baby boomers from birth. You start investing in diapers, and end up investing in rental housing. Follow the trends, that’s what they say. It’s true.

Lucky in one way – I can move anywhere in the United States I want. The problem is, I realize you have to live in the city.  Close to shopping, transportation, medical services. Outlying areas do not provide the transportation necessary for seniors who don’t/can’t drive. City  living is more expensive. It’s insane out there.

I did manage to find one apartment, but was rejected after the background check showed the bank listing me as a bad credit risk. Well, the bank made a boo-boo because it never reported that I had paid off a loan three years ago. It still showed the loan outstanding.  After I finally straightened out the bank, and my credit history, I was knocked off the list. Now I have to start again, and the list is 15 years long.

Many of you are not in this predicament so you’re not facing this problem.  But let me tell you something, it IS your problem.

People like me who saved their money, became victimized by identity theft, are now broke. Affordable housing is the only option someone like me has.  Not all seniors can move in with their family. These days, families struggling to get by, living in a small apartment themselves, can’t take in relatives like they used to. Seniors are on their own. That’s just the way it is.

Affordable housing is through the state, once a person qualifies. The state providing the service raises taxes for all state residents to cover the subsidy. So those thieves out there stealing our money end up paying through higher taxes.

Like everything else, the need for affordable housing was put on the back burner. Well, the flame is up and the pot is bubbling over.

The average size apartment afforded to low income seniors is roughly 400 sq. ft.   If you have adaptive equipment such as a walker, a guide dog if your visually impaired, etc. you need a little bit more room than that. Most bathroom entryways aren’t wide enough to allow a walker into the room. The next time someone complains about baby boomers and their drain on society, think twice. This is affecting grandparents and parents, families, our entire economy.  Identity theft victims never wanted to be a drain on the system.  Stop pointing the finger at us.  Start pointing the finger at the thieves running around dressed in Bergdorf Goodman.

Tell them to bring all that stolen merchandise back to the store and get a refund. We (Identity Theft Victims) need our money back.

Happy holidays. Deborah

 

Hello  Everyone,

I  received  an interesting phone call this morning.  A  representative  from the Council On Aging  responded  to my email regarding  the  Guardianship  Accountability  Act.

She was quiet  while listening to my story . I  explained that, as a  victim, I  couldn’t do anything as the DA refused to treat my case as criminal.  I  also told her that I  have a  civil judgement that does no good, as I  can’t get anyone to serve the Judgement on the thief.

She said she has heard my story from a  long list of victims. She wished there was something she could do. I  thanked her for the Council’s efforts in adding another Federal law, but if the local DA  wouldn’t prosecute, they are wasting their time.

She related  this wasn’t the first time she heard complaints about local District Attorneys.  Was there a  way they could work on legislation requiring a  DA to comply with Federal regulations on a  State level?

Otherwise, what’s the point?

I  felt bad for her. She sounded tired, frustrated, at a  loss.  Feel free to email the Council.  Someone needs to take responsibility for the thousands of us floundering in a  broken system.

Contact_Aging@aging.senate.gov 

Be Safe,

Deborah 

 

 

Hello  everyone,

Well, I  don’t know if  anyone knows my blog yet, but if you do, “Hi There!” If you think someone may be interested, send them my way…

The holidays are here. We are rushing about, somewhat oblivious  to our surroundings, as we hurl ourselves into the cooking, shopping, decorating mode.

Now is the time to be more diligent than ever. Thieves are out there, waiting to pounce on the harried .

One thing to watch out for…your packages. The UPS  driver is being followed by a  thief, just waiting for the package to be dropped off at your door, in plain view of all.

What to do? Ask UPS  to leave a  delivery notice, and keep the package until you are home to receive it. Or, pick  it up at the post office. I  know it’s inconvenient, but it’s more inconvenient  to try and get your money back…

Feel free to share your insights on this blog. My intention is to bring people together and help each other.

Happy Holidays. With Love and Light,

Deborah