For all of you who still believe it’s 1985

The first bit in the first video – two years old – happened to a CRYPTOCURRENCY EXEC. Not the checkout girl around the corner or the older female adult who barely knows where to find the on/off button on a computer. (The latter would be a stereotypical assessment of me, ha ha, and my assertion that I am genuinely often dealing with hacking would typically be attributed to that plus that I “get delusional when stressed”.)

A friend/colleague of mine in the Netherlands, with PhD in math/physics/computer science, also recently got tricked TWICE, over the phone. Thankfully, other companies spotted the problem and protected her finances.

So I have been trying to tell Portsmouth City Council that currently, for example, anyone can call – or e-mail – local people, pretend to be PCC and ask people to pay, say, council tax over the phone, using their bank card. Because of the lockdown, this type of fraud is much easier at the moment.

Yes, PCC, it is possible to fake an e-mail address and it is possible to fake a phone number.

I have raised this problem with several UK electricity companies – that they have NO SECURITY on the accounts and anyone can mess with your account if so inclined, such as close it or tell them that you have a new address – and the people I spoke with had NO IDEA what I was going on about.

One snapped at me that she simply had to ask me questions because of privacy regulations. She of course knew my DOB and likely quickly made the “useless old cow” judgement. She did not GET that the answers to the questions she asked are largely all over the internet – for example because I am a Company Director – and are in various databases that are accessible to literally thousands of people.

(I hung up on that person. She was rude.)

It’s totally NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

Below is a video that I have posted before. It is about 18 months old.

The other side of this can be that if for example you lose your Google Authenticator app because your phone quits on you and you made no backup, some accounts ask you to supply a list of all your recent transactions as well as (a list of logins with) IP number – if you don’t have a static one, this can be a pain – and take a selfie with an ID document in such a way that the ID document is legible. It can be annoying and I have once gotten really annoyed about it because my selfie with ID kept getting rejected. But it’s better than the alternative.

Speaking of ID, if you need to supply an ID document WRITE ON IT, either digitally or with pen or pencil if you scan a copy, when and to whom you are supplying it. Through the actual document, in large letters, such that it cannot be easily used by someone else to steal your ID. This is a tip given to me years ago by the local Dutch consul.

You’ll also want to watch this one.

The problem with being bullied and sabotaged anonymously

You don’t know who is doing it or, more importantly perhaps, who is behind it and why on earth it is being done. What you don’t know either is whether it could in fact be more than one party.

It’s a Catch-22. When you don’t know who’s doing it, people here tend to not believe you yet when you mention anyone, people here tend to say that you’re obsessed or paranoid.

No matter what you say, you are going to sound like an idiot. Because what is going is idiotic. Except… you are not the one doing it. You are merely the one describing it. Describing a bank robbery as a witness does not make you a bank robber. (I know. Bank robberies are rare these days.) 

But when it happens anonymously, this kind of stuff, there isn’t anyone you can address. Anyone you can talk with. Anyone you can tell to stop it.

And when after years of being unable to do much, people suggest to you that you “have a lot going on”, you just want to slap them, frankly, because the opposite is the case. They have no idea what poverty and lack of income do to a person’s life, for starters. You can’t spend hundreds of pounds on home security, for example, so you may look “mentally incompetent” but you’re merely financially powerless. You do the little bit that you can. And that is not enough.

And in fact, all you want is to get away, to leave it all behind (and get your life back). That is what your focus is on. Patience. But you can’t say that either because that too will be held against you when you’re a migrant and certainly when you’re in a place as insular as Portsmouth. It may be felt like a betrayal of their precious Portsmouth.

And then again… that is no way to live either!

I remember when Kevin H. came over, must have been 2011, and someone was literally hiding in the bushes here, to see what we were up to. Does it get any crazier??? Yes, it can get far crazier, I know now.

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