How To Avoid Being Stalked

These days there is a great deal of unease about the business of stalking. The term crops up in newspapers, legal cases, and the social media. Many accusations are made and in some cases substantiated. The BGA has a few points of good advice for those who would avoid the problem:

a. Do not poop in the wild. Or on the screen.

This is the number one give-away for wild animals – at least for the ones who do not instinctively bury their shit. They leave steaming mounds everywhere and eventually the predator who wants to find them just ends up following a trail of increasingly fresh dung until it finds the arsehole that is putting it out. Not a pleasant way of shopping, but a sure-fire way of finding one end of dinner.

In the social media world it works the same way. People post the most improbable piles of merde on the internet – for the most part picked up and ” shared ” in an effort to get attention. Well, if they share enough of it and it gets to be fresh, it can lead directly to them.

b. Do not leave your leavings around.

We are not suggesting that you shred every piece of wrapping paper or McDonalds container that you collect to prevent hackers from trolling your recycle bin…but remember what happened to the US Embassy in Tehran in the 1980’s.  Look at the stuff you throw out and securely destroy the bits with the numbers.

Or fish the number bits out of your neighbour’s verge on bin night and put them in your own waste. Hell, just exchange paper all up and down the street and hack each other.

c. Do not pay by credit card, cheque, or direct debit.

If possible do not even pay in cash. Promise to pay and then skip town. There are towns all over the place. Skipping is healthful exercise.

d. Do not take surveys, answer questionnaires, enter contests, play free games, or request free samples.

You might as well be drawing a red circle around yourself on an ordnance survey map. The people who harvest information trade and sell it, and you, based upon what you give them. You may well end up being used but you do not have to run up the gangplank of the slave ship to embrace it.

e. Do not react to anything.

Reaction is what people want when they wish to know where you are and what triggers you. Depend upon it; when you give them the information they will use it and they will not use it in a way that makes you happier.

f. Be beige. Bland, Swiss, middle-aged, from an outer suburb, and never seen. Try to become a fully visible invisible creature.

g. Avoid all interpersonal relationships – in particular avoid the ones that involve loose clothing and lapses of memory. When that old sweet song echoes in your ear, put your finger inside there instead.

Love is another thing. Love is perennial and blessed. Love is violets and daffodils. Love is the stuff of which very successful pulp novels can be made. If it occasionally becomes a soggy mess and soaks through into the upholstery, regard this as the price you pay for happiness. Or misery. In any case, if you do pay the price, get a receipt – you can sometimes claim it on your tax return.

 

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” This Is A Courtesy Call…”

I was standing in a store when my pocket phone rang.

” Hello, this is Bankwest. Am I talking to Richard? ”

My name is Richard and I agreed that the young woman was indeed talking to me. She asked me whether I would be prepared to identify myself in the store. That’s a rather unusual thing to say…and she was just a voice on a pocket phone…

She said it was just a courtesy call. I asked whether there was something amiss with my bank accounts. She declined to say, but asked me to call at a Bankwest branch, where she would send details of the call.

You want to panic? Try panicking about your bank accounts. I’ve been hacked through Mastercard before and I realise that it is well to jump on these things as soon as they are flagged. I said I would go to my normal local branch immediately…and took off in the car.

The official at the bank took my security passwords and we agreed that I was me and he was him; then we looked at the accounts. All was well…there was no need to  panic…whatever courtesy was intended in the original telephone call was probably some form of marketing idea that they compel junior staff to do…

Note for the future: I would readily identify myself to a recognisable police officer, local or AFP. I would do so to a recognisable magistrate or judge. I would identify myself to a recognisable Australian Defence Forces officer or warrant officer, if we were on Commonwealth property at the time. Other than that, my identity and any proof thereof, will be my own business.

Careful, BW. Your girl was indeed courteous, if a little mysterious, and your branch staff member was helpful, but there is a limit to what you should do in the marketing snoop line.

This Call Is Finished

I took a telephone call yesterday from a noisy location. The caller was a young woman who purported to be a student at WA University. And who also purported to be asking questions connected with the alumni association.

Her voice was rapid and her name was somewhat unclear – but her questions were intrusive. Confirming address, etc. I was evasive, stating that the alumni association already had my address. To her questions about my career I also gave vague, but truthful answers.

To her request for $ 50 per month contribution to a scholarship…and then for an immediate $ 100 contribution…I gave a polite but firm refusal.

My daughter, who works in the financial section of a rival university, said that the call was most likely genuine – a result of students assigned to try to get money out of people on an old-student list. Possibly, but it could also have been a number of other things.

I think my best bet in the future is to remind myself not to engage in answering questions on the telephone from someone I have never met. I shall politely decline and civilly press the hang-up button. This will also serve when I receive subcontinental calls.

The Fraud Guide – Brought To You By The BGA – Part Three

” Oh what a tangled web we weave – when first we practice to deceive… ”

Take heart. if you put in enough dedicated practice, you can straighten out that web and make it tough enough to act as a crash barrier. Lies need not be complex nor involved – they can be simple and straightforward. And people appreciate this – they will reward your efforts to make up things in a way that is easily understood. No-one likes confusion – if you can make falsehoods regular and simple you will be doing a public service.

Lies should not be big to start with – and the best ones need never grow to unmanageable proportions. Take the business of Father Christmas.  Stripped of all the commercial hype and cultural nonsense, Santa Claus becomes a simple cautionary tale that can be used to keep the children quiet for at least one month in the year. You needn’t embellish it with science and computer letters to the North Pole. Elf On The Shelf is seasonal totalitarian oppression, and is not needed. It is far easier to just threaten the tykes early in the piece and let imagination do the rest. If all goes well they will be cowed into obedience for 30 or so days – if it goes badly you can save on the cost of presents.

The really interesting thing is the business we alluded to in the first post – the bit about ” wrongful ” deception. It argues that there is also a  ” righteous ” variety. And the “criminal ” part can also be counterbalanced by the thought of ” legal ” deceit. If something has to be defined carefully as bad, there must be good as well. All we need to do is find it.

I should start looking at the local council level – at the bit on the rates notice you get each year that refers to ” Security “. Have you ever stopped to think about exactly what security your local council provides? These are the people who cannot collect a bin from the verge on time and without spilling the contents. People who are not sworn police officers. People who start at 9:00 and finish at 5:00. They are likely to be kind and decent people, while the criminals who steal and assault you are not. Guess who is more likely to turn up at your door at 2:00 AM…

Yet…we pay the levy for security and we pretend that it exists and that we are reassured by it. Deceit with a receipt.

There are any number of deceptive practices that are served to us as ” services ” by other institutions in our daily lives. We are told of ” products ” that have no more reality than a scheme of words of paper. In some cases they never actually make paper – they are just a series of dots on a phosphor screen. Nearly all of them are sanctioned.

The role of the BGA in these things is not to debunk nor to promote them. It is simply to make the Guild member aware that there is a world of possibility between the dawn and the dusk, and a wise explorer looks carefully before he steps.

No Additional Fees*

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*Conditions may apply.

Now we offer you no additional fees on top of the buyer’s premium and the overseas currency exchange application form fee and the international transfer back-charge levy. Of course customs fees and internal security holding charges are normally  added to the 45% intra-service folio.

This means that you can transfer the balances of the personal fee credit paradigms to the flux-capacitor account of your choice under the Fee Fi F.O. Fum. Is there an English person here?

Your new cards will be accepted at over 8 terminals throughout the world and you’ll never have to worry. About travel insurance. Again.

” Does this mean a royalty? ” I hear you ask? Only if the first-born male of the line survives to puberty. It is a complex ruling but since three counties were devastated in 1603 to establish it no-one really wants to change it. Frankly, they don’t want a King but they want those three counties even less…

Now you can have the security of knowing that your passwords can never be lost. Even if you become old or incapacitated in a car accident, your financial deposits will be safely administered by Rajiv in Bangalore as soon as you click on the little window at the bottom of your computer. Please do this now or your account will be suspended. This is not a robotototototot.

The first 10 callers on the BGA hotline will receive a free travel wallet and complimentary bar-pass to the Crazy Horse in Paris. Your first drink will be on the house. Note: it is not a bar. It is a horse with a severe personality disorder. Do not be judgemental.