Check Fraud

Recently I was the victim of check washing fraud.  A large personal check that I mailed at a US post office was intercepted and the payee name was changed.  I discovered the alteration by accident.  The perpetrators didn’t change the amount of the check, so I didn’t suspect anything when the check cleared my bank. It was only when the intended payee didn’t acknowledge the receipt of my check, that I began to investigate and noticed the fraud.

Doing some research on the internet about what actions I should take to protect myself and recover my money didn’t yield any inspiring results.  So now that I’ve survived the ordeal and recovered my money, I thought I would write this post to help other who find themselves in a similar situation.

Step 1 – Breath

Unfortunately, your experience is not unique.  Take a deep breath.  You will get through this and most likely get your money back quickly.

Step 2 – Report the fraud to your bank

As soon as you discover the fraud, report it to your bank’s fraud department.  They will require you to file an affidavit about the fraud.

Step 3 – Close your bank account and open a new one

Close the bank account that the fraud was on and open a new one.  Once the fraudsters have your bank account information; they will try and use it again.  This is a pain, but it is the best strategy.  The bank will set your account to ‘Debit only’ so deposit transactions will post, but not checks or other credits.  If you have a list of scheduled payment that need to be allowed, the bank will take your list and note it on your old account.

Step 4 – File a report with the police

Contact your local Police department and file a police report about the fraud.

Step 5 – Freeze your credit files

Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies and freeze your credit files.  Consider also putting a “Fraud Alert” on your credit file.

Experian

Transunion

Equifax

Step 6 – Report the fraud to the US Postal Inspectors (optional)

I your fraud involved the US Mail then report it to the USPIS.

If you find yourself a victim of check fraud, then I hope this helps.  It took a week from the time a reported the fraud to my bank before the money was returned to my account.

Facts are Facts

I posted this on Reddit, but the sensors removed it without explanation.

On September 8, 2004, less than two months before the 2004 US Presidential election a letter from 1972 surfaced that disparaged George W Bush’s military service. The letter was widely broadcast on all US news networks. It was a proven fact. Later someone with sharp eyes realized the type font was Times New Roman. No typewriter in 1972 could have produced the letter. It was done in Microsoft Word where Times New Roman was the default font. The media never backed down. A new term was coined “Fake but Accurate.” How does this reconcile to your “Fact are Facts?” Who decides what is a fact? Why do you believe they’re telling the truth?

Stuck in my head

For some reason this verse has been stuck in my head today.

“Chaos umpire sits, And by decision more embroils the fray, By which he reigns; next him high arbiter Chance govern all. Into this wild Abyss” John Milton Paradise Lost

Living well is the best revenge

Sunday lunch consisted of grilled steak with a plantain, feta, hot pepper, and balsamic vinegar relish topping. Grilled asparagus, twice baked potato, and Marsala mushrooms. A glass of red wine was the perfect beverage. Hard times are coming. Live well while you can.

Stuck in my head

This phrase has been stuck in my head today,

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”

― Edmund Burke

This Explains a lot.

“Intellectuals [Democrats (ed)] cannot operate at room temperature.” There always has to be a crisis–some terrible reason why their superior wisdom and virtue must be imposed on the unthinking masses. It doesn’t matter what the crisis is. A hundred years ago it was eugenics. At the time of the first Earth Day a generation ago, the big scare was global cooling, a big ice age. They go from one to the other. It meets their psychological needs and gives them a reason for exercising their power. Many intellectuals’ preoccupation with the poor is very much the same thing. The thing that gives it all away is that after they say, “We must have this program because the poor can’t afford medicine, or can’t afford housing,” they will splutter if you say, “OK, let’s have a means test so it really goes to the poor.” If they were really concerned primarily about the poor, they would agree to it. But they are bitterly opposed to that, because the poor are a lever to reach other, political, goals.”

Quote from 2004 interviewed by the American Enterprise Institute of Thomas Sowell

Hat tip: Ed Driscoll

Happy 25th Birthday

25 years ago today, God blessed us with a baby boy. He was born with Down Syndrome and had some related health problems. At 4 months old he had to have open heart surgery.  After the one surgery, he was a healthy and happy baby boy.

Each stage of his life has been fun. Of course there have been challenges, but everyday there has been love and laughter We have had many adventures together and I hope we will have many, many more.  

If you learn of a friend or family member whose unborn child is diagnosed with Down Syndrome, comfort them and encourage them not to despair. Down Syndrome children are a daily blessing of God’s love. Brighter than diamonds. More precious than Gold.

Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now

Tonight, just for kicks, I went shopping at my local Publix with out a mask. I had one in my pocket if needed, but for the whole 30 minutes in the store and at check-out no one said a word to me.

What if we all just stopped wearing masks? What would they do?

The headline of this post is from a popular song by Portugal, The Man. See the video below.

One Year Ago

This time last year we were exploring New Zealand. I must admit that I’m over the Wuhan Virus. It has disrupted our lives long enough. I’m ready to travel again, internationally.

Knob Creek Single Barrel Select

I bought this at the recommendation of the associate at Total Wine. I tried some neat. Very smooth. Easy to drink. Made my lips tingle for the 120 proof alcohol content.

I had another serving over ice. The ice dulled the flavor, which was not strong when I drank it neat.

This one was not on my list and I think it would have been better if I hadn’t succumbed to sales associate suggestions.

Polar Plunge

I’m so proud of my son Albert who raised $2,451 for Brewable Cafe today by doing the Alpharetta Rotary Club Polar Plunge.

Sipping

While watching the Notre Dame vs Alabama football game, I was sipping on Breckenridge bourbon. It is a new find for me and I’m enjoying it. It is a lighter bourbon, but has a good flavor and smooth delivery. It’s made in Colorado, so if you’re a “Kentucky-Only” bourbon purist, you might overlook it. Definitely worth it if you can find it.

Goodbye 2020!!

2020 was a challenging year for many.  I have to admit that I feel a little guilty that 2020 was an awesome year for me.  Should I even say that out loud? So many other people suffered through this year.

I will admit that the year began with some anxiety and uncertainty.  But then my faith in God kicked-in and I realized what an opportunity the year would be.  In February, my family flew to Australia and New Zealand for a six-week trip.  We had a wonderful time exploring New Zealand for 27 days before the US State Department told us to get home or plan to shelter in place for the duration.  Our trip home was surreal, but we arrived home safely.  

Despite the prevalence of the Wuhan Virus, that plague has passed over our house.  We have all stayed healthy this year.

In July, after more than a little cabin fever, we took a trip to the western states to explore our National Parks.  Once again, the trip didn’t not go as planned, but it was still a wonderful trip.  We spent 25 days driving across America the Beautiful.  We managed to visit Badlands National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for a second time, Crater Lake National Park, Golden Spike, Grand Canyon National Park, Hot Springs National Park, and Graceland.

So as 2020 draws to a close, I don’t feel deprived, I feel blessed.  It has been a wonderful year where I have been able to spend quality time with the one’s I love.

My prayer for 2021 is that it is better than 2020.  I hope that we will put the Wuhan Virus behind us and get back to normal. 

Ain’t Life Grand!!

Friday Wisdom

“If you can’t control your own emotions, you’re forced to control other people’s behaviour, That’s why the touchiest, most oversensitive and easily upset must not set the standard for the rest of us.”  John Cleese

Introducing Essays

Although I am not academically gifted, I was born very curious.  One of my earliest memories was taking apart a black wind-up locomotive to see how it worked.  Unfortunately, once taken apart, I didn’t possess the understanding to put it back together again.  Of course, my parents were furious that I destroyed one of my toys.  I saw it as a learning experience.

I would have to characterize my parents, God rest their souls, as “color within the lines” people.  Too bad for them, after having three girls they had a boy.  I believe boys naturally see things differently from girls and I was on the extreme end of that spectrum.  Not only did I NOT “color within the lines,” I didn’t see why the lines were necessary.

At age 11, I joined Boy Scouts, and this gave me the opportunity to learn in an unstructured manner.  Eventually, I learned how structure helps focus my learning.  After struggling through 12 years of primary education, I learned how to think with discipline in college.

At my age I consider thoughts to be like butterflies, some are pretty, and I watch them as they fly away, and others spark a deeper interest and I follow them.  I have learned that the best way to develop my thoughts is to write about them.  This is where “Essays” are relevant.  These posts will be longer and hopefully more thoughtfully developed than some of my other more impulsive posts.  Many of them will be on controversial subjects which cannot be discussed openly in our polite, WOKE, society.  I hope you find them interesting and may they inspire thoughts of your own on the subject.

Voted

I voted today, so for me the 2020 Election is over. It would be a relief, but I will still have to wade through the campaign effluent until the votes are tallied in November.

The crowds were light where I voted at the Fulton-Atlanta Library.

I’m curious as to why the powers that be felt they needed to add the phase, “I Secured my vote” to the voter stickers. Probably to make me feel that voting is safe and secure. I just see it as more government Kabuki theater.

Down Syndrome Awareness

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. I know I’ve said it before, but having a child with Down Syndrome is, in my opinion, the closest you can get to God’s love. I know, from personal experience, that raising a child with special needs can be challenging. However, raising any child is challenging. Parenting is always like cutting and polishing a diamond. You focus on getting your child to develop as much as they are able.

My son is 24 years old and he is a daily joy, as he has been since birth. Each stage of his life has been fun. Of course there have been challenges, but everyday there has been love and laughter.

If you learn of a friend or family member whose unborn child is diagnosed with Down Syndrome, comfort them and encourage them not to despair. Down Syndrome children are a daily blessing of God’s love. Brighter than diamonds. More precious than Gold.

The Lives of Others

I really enjoyed the movie The Lives of Others (2006). It is about a German Stasi agent before the Berlin Wall fell. He sets up a surveillance to get some dirt on a playwright and his girlfriend. It gives a glimpse of how bad thing can really be in a police state. The story has some interesting twists. I really enjoyed the story, but you have to read the 2h 15m movie because the dialog is in German with English subtitles.

Chernobyl

My wife and I watched the HBO series Chernobyl. It was gripping portrayal of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union. It consist of 5 one hour episodes. We watched it over 3 consecutive nights. Really good story and acting. I highly recommend it.

Friday Wisdom

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert Heinlein

Southern Hospitality and Love

Nothing represents Southern Hospitality like homemade Deviled Eggs. I believe this is because they are labor intensive. When someone shows up at a get together with Deviled Eggs, you can bet they spent some time preparing them.

If they are a meticulous cook, then they started the night before by flipping the eggs, so the yolk is in the center of the egg. The next day they boiled and peeled the eggs. The peeling is the work part. Then separated the yolks from the whites without breaking the white. Mixing the yolks with mayonnaise and other spices to make the delicious filling. Then spooning or piping the yolk mixture back into the whites and toping with a garnish or simply smoked paprika. If all this is done with love, then there is nothing like a delicious Deviled Egg.

Deviled Eggs for our tailgate party today to celebrate the start of SEC football.

Friday Wisdom

“It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.”

C.S. Lewis ( as quoted in a speech by US Attorney General Barr)

Boyz Weekend

Shari has left the boys home alone. She is in Knoxville celebrating her nieces 50th birthday. Albert and I started Boyz Weekend by watching all The Hobbit movies. 9 hours of Bilbo Baggins.

Watching The Hobbit wearing our Hobbit t-shirts.

Home Again

After 26 nights away from home, I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in my own bed last night. I slept in until 8:00 this morning. When I walked downstairs, there was a pot of hot coffee ready. Ain’t Life Grand!!

We travelled 8,842 miles across the country. It really was a wonderful trip.

Day 25 – Graceland

There was a Waffle House across from our hotel in Lonoke, AR.  We skipped the bag breakfast at the hotel for a plate of scattered and smothered at Waffle House.  It was delicious.

We struck out East for Graceland.  We have an 11:30 appointment with Elvis.  This was my first time visiting Graceland.  I was not a big fan of Elvis’ music, but I believe Graceland is something everyone should experience.  We picked the right time to visit, because Graceland was mostly deserted.  Perhaps 100 people were there during our visit.  We spent about 2 hours at Graceland.

Exploring Elvis’ Car Collection
Albert with the Elvis race car

As we drove south toward Birmingham, AL we decided we were ready to be home.  We drove the rest of the day and arrive home a little after 11:00PM. It is always a fun adventure to travel, but it is nice to be home.

Day 24 – Hot Springs, AR

We woke up this morning and hit the ground running.  We showered, dressed and packed up.  Grabbed coffee and a bag breakfast in the hotel lobby and got on the road.

Our first stop was Fort Smith, AR.  I wanted to stop here because I had seen it depicted in a John Wayne movie and I wanted to learn more about it.  At one time, it was the westernmost outpost.  The edge of civilization before the wilds of the west.

Because of the Wuhan Virus most of the park is closed.  A lone Park Ranger was standing under a tree helping the a few visitors.  We wandered on our own, first taking in the gallows and then walking the parade grounds.  We walked across the train tracks toward the river and the site of the original fort.  

Fort Smith, AR

It was all very interesting but we did not stay long.  We left the park a little after noon.  As we left Fort Smith we located a local Chick-fil-a where we went through the drive-thu.  We now had the problem of where to eat.  Luckily, Carol Ann Cross Park was nearby.  We drove there and found a shady picnic table where we ate lunch.  About half way through eating our lunch, the ducks arrived looking for handouts.  A sign at the entrance to the park said it was $1,000 fine for feeding the ducks, so we didn’t.

Next, we headed to Hot Springs.  It was a long winding drive, through the piney woods, on mostly two-lane roads.  It took us almost 3 hours with one rest stop break.  Once in Hot Springs we went straight to the National Park.  We found a spot to park right on the street across from bath house row.  All the bath houses are closed, so we just strolled the promenade.  It was a lovely shady stroll.  Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of the bathhouse.  However, I did enjoy the ornate architecture of the National Park.

Having walked through most of the park, we decided to move on.  We have an appointment to see Elvis tomorrow, so we drove for a little while East.  We stopped for the night in Lonoke, AR.