Beware of con artists

I got a phone call this afternoon from someone with a very bad fake Indian accent.  By Indian, I’m referring to the country of India.

He claimed to be calling from Microsoft about a problem with my computer.  Knowing what people from India really sound like, I decided to have a bit of fun as I don’t get the scam phone calls or emails.

He tells me that I’ve downloaded a potential dangerous virus and he needs me to get on my computer so he can help me delete it.  Now, I’m no computer genius, but I could see what he was trying to do.  So, I start peppering him with questions that I knew he wouldn’t be able to answer.

I asked him what type of virus did I download, and he kept giving me a vague answer and trying to coax me to log into my computer.  So, knowing I wouldn’t get an answer for that one, I then ask him when did I download the virus.  He stammers to try to stay on script trying to get me to my computer.

Every time he tries to stick to his little script, I keep asking him to tell me what virus is it and when did I download it.  I reminded him that he said he was with Microsoft, and that if he knew that I had this potentially dangerous virus on my PC, that he would know what it was and when I downloaded it.

By this time, the guy sounds like he has a speech impediment because of his sputtering and stammering.  Knowing the call had been going on for a few minutes, I decided to turn the tables on him.

In a calm and deliberate voice, I informed him of who my employer was and that I was no dummy.  I told him that he had been on my line long enough for me to trace his call and that I’d be getting in touch with the FBI about his call.  I think that was probably the fastest I’ve ever had someone hang up the phone on me since I worked in retail.  Guess he won’t call my number again.  LOL!!!

If you’re not already aware of such a scam, the people are trying to get you to give them remote access to your computer.  Once you give them access, they can do anything to your computer that they want too.  Some scams involve putting a lock on the computer with a threat to delete everything unless you pay a ransom.  Others will use your computer to launch malicious programs across the internet.  Others will simply try to steal any personal information they can.

Companies don’t call you out of the blue like that.  If you or a family member receives such a phone call, please don’t give them any information.  Make them give you a contact name, phone number, and supervisor so that you can verify their ID and call them back.  If you think it’s a scam and you threaten to involve law enforcement, they will scram faster than a cheetah chasing a gazelle.

Indictment for 6 officers involved in Gray case

I didn’t want to post much of my viewpoint on this because I know it would run counter to what many others would perceive.  However, I was sickened by the details of Freddie Gray’s final trip that was released this morning.  Knowing that he was handcuffed, shackled, and rode face down in the transport van without being secured by a seat belt runs counter to any transport policy that I’ve ever heard of.

There have been so many “leaks” from law enforcement that turned out to be false narratives that it’s almost impossible to think the police or someone close to the officers were not trying to control the narrative in the face of the facts presented this morning.  This story has followed the same trajectory as the previous issues of people dying at the hands of the police.  It’s always “protect the officer’s reputation/credibility at any cost and slander the victim no matter what the truth says”.

As an officer, I have no problem with defending fellow officers when their actions are lawful and necessary to do the job.  At the same time, I cringe when I see people going out of their way to defend officers who are in the wrong.  Many times, we’re faced with split-second decisions where there is no right or wrong action at the moment it’s needed.  I don’t Monday morning quarterback such decisions because I don’t think you can justifiably criticize those decisions when you are not in the same environment that the decision was made.  However, there’s no way to justify covering up every day procedural violations which is what I picked up on first in this case.  Even then, I had no idea the issues were as bad as they’ve been told.

Disappointing, yet predictable

C’mon Baltimore, I was hoping better for you.  You’re falling into that same trap that springs anytime the Black community seeks to highlight and protest perceived injustices to the community.  We’ve seen how this ends several times, and it’s not going to be any different from the previous cases.

Freddy Gray’s death is tragic, even more so because it came at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve.  While the family has questions they want answered, that doesn’t give others the right to tear down their own community.  What does that solve?  Ask the people in Los Angeles about that.  They’re still recovering from the 1992 riots in some areas.

Instead of tearing up your own community or threatening to kill cops (like that’s going to automatically make things soooo much better), why not do as the protesters did in the 1960s.  When marchers were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, they didn’t burn down the town, they peacefully completed what they set out to do.  The Freedom Riders who were assaulted in Anniston and Montgomery had all the reason in the world to exit their buses with an open can of whoop ass in hand, but they did the complete opposite, even in the face of danger.

Quit tearing things down, because it makes it that much harder to build up.  Most of this stuff appears to be done by teenage kids, so that makes me wonder where are the parents in all this?  Do you know whereabouts of your child or children?  Are they out there acting stupid and setting themselves up to carry a criminal record for the rest of their lives like a dumbass.

That’s all that’s going to happen.  You act stupid.  You get arrested.  You get stigmatized for the rest of your life and then you blame others because you can’t get a job or do anything else.  As I tell my daughter every day, “Each and every thing you do causes something else to happen.”  You make a dumb or stupid decision, then you have to bear the consequences of your actions just as you would reap the benefits of a good or smart decision.

Don’t use the death of Mr. Gray as some reason to act like an idiot.  If you’re angry about how the police is treating you or the people in your community, don’t commit vandalism or threaten violence as a response.  You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.  If there’s really injustice going on, then use non-violence just as our parents and grandparents did.  You can always provoke a bully into lashing out and making himself look bad without having to stoop to his level.

Three questions

If the Republicans thought Eric Holder was such an incompetent and complete failure as Attorney General, why did it take 5 months to replace him?

Loretta Lynch confirmed by Senate as attorney general

Washington Post

If a test administrator or teacher deserves harsh prison time for changing answers on tests in a racketeering case, what does a judge, court clerk, police chief, and others deserve for charging outrageous fees, suspending licenses, or even jailing people for simple traffic or other municipal infractions?

Jail Terms Handed To Most Atlanta Teachers Convicted In Cheating Scandal

NPR

Why in the hell is it headline news about what Bruce Jenner wants to do in his personal life, or the personal affairs of any other celebrity for that matter?  I would add “Who gives a f**k?” but then that would require me to change this to four questions…  ;)

Diane Sawyer reveals little about upcoming interview with Bruce Jenner

NY Daily News

 

Touching tribute to fallen soldiers

I came across this video yesterday, and I think it’s well worth reposting.  Members of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment 2nd and 1st Battalion performed a haka as a sendoff for three of their members who were killed in Afghanistan by an IED.  Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris, and Corporal Luke Tamatea were killed when an IED hit their Humvee as they traveled in a convoy in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in April 2012.

From the YouTube description:

Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit’s parade ground. It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time.

Haka –sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be ‘free style.’ Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow. There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.

After seeing the video, I don’t know of anything more emotional or touching they could have done to bid their friends a final farewell.  Godspeed soldiers.

via stuff.co.nz