Thursday, September 22, 2016

Razzle but No Dazzle

                   Razzle but No Dazzle   By: Jim Silvania

Razzle has come to the world of Private Investigation and Software Development via a variation of a Nigerian Scam.

Razzle is an old carnival game of skill or chance in which an individual pays money for a chance at a prize. The most common version of this illegal game seen at carnivals is football. Eight marbles sized balls are given to the player in a cup to roll out onto a playfield board this has holes for the marbles to go into. Numbers are assigned to each hole and totaled up as yardage for football or miles for a car race. At first the operator cheats in favor of the player by fast counting and makes it appear that the player is winning. The operator then entices the player to continue to play as he or she is close to winning the grand prize. When the player continues the operator no longer cheats for the player and the astronomical odds of winning take over. Winning the local lottery or Power Ball has better odds.

So let’s apply this the scam to a mythical case and a factious PI named Michael Singh. Mr. Singh claims to be highly educated spyware developer who assist individuals and private investigators install spyware on cell phones. He advertises that he can do that from his office and does not have to have the cell phone in his possession. All he needs is that individual supply him with the target’s telephone number. This mythical PI can be reached at Michael Singh michaelsingh231@gmail.com or by messaging him on his cell phone at 302/ 317-1108. He even supplies his customer with false identification in an attempt to verify his reality.

First you pay upfront the cost of the software, followed by his fee for installing the software. Once that you have forwarded those funds to Ile-Ife, Nigeria address additional charges soon follow:

“I am presently done with your job but the Results came out in Encrypted form.
Cases like this are common these days.
Because the target in question always encrypts his/her number so that information would not r accessible.
But then I already got in touch with the hacker I work with.And to decrypt the results, it usually cost 105$.
But the good new is that decryption takes only 45mins. After which the results would be in plain words understandable to humans.
So presently you would need to make a payment of 105$.let me know wen you get this so I forward you the information of the hacker”; and so on and so forth or until the client runs out of money.

When the client complains he is threatened by Mr. Singh who states he develops spyware for the IRS and knows people who will get you.

“I cannot make the refunds because I already purchased the spyware and used it for the job and I would be sending your results like that to you in code so you figure out how to decrypt it, which would cost you close to 4times the amount I told you. I work with the IRS as their spyware developer and I know a lot of people.”

             If that’s not enough, days later the scam continues when you get an email from a Nigerian Private Investigative Agency, Augustus Hall Ltd. claiming that for additional funds they can solve your problems with Mr. Singh and get your previous investment with Mr. Singh refunded.

Every PI has had a client who has been scammed or been requested to follow-up on a Nigerian Scam but this is the first one I have come across which was directly related to our industry. Forewarned is forearmed so please be advised.




Thursday, July 7, 2016

                     I’d Rather Trust a PI

              Let me start out by explaining that this article was written under the new Justice Department and FBI guide lines that apply to intent, otherwise known as the Clinton Rule.  Because of the possibility of early onset Alzheimer’s and possible dementia due to my age, older than dirt, I can no longer be held to the old standards or the standards of anyone younger than me or who is a politician.  
              I have over those years authored three books that contain either chapters or deal with “ethics”. I have as well, authored several articles on “ethics” that have appeared in national publications. In addition to that, I have always made “ethics” a part of my curriculum in teaching over 20 years at the college level. I therefore believe I can forward my two cents on the current issues at hand.

There was a time when having a resume that contained or listed past FBI Agent, FBI National Academy Graduate, ATF Agent or IRS Agent meant something. That was ended today when now FBI Director addressed Congress.

I guess the current teachings at the above Federal Law Enforcement Academies now include classes on how to lie to Congress, how to kill Border Patrol Agents and get away with it and how to plead the 5th and still keep your job.  I guess I should include the new Secret Service class of how to pick up hookers in Columbia but that was previously covered by how to pimp for Bill Clinton.

The majority of national groups of private investigators all have a code of ethics that apply to the professionalism of the profession. If one does violate the stated ethical code of that organization, one can be removed for said violation. Even “lawyers’ have an ethical code and violation of that code can lead to disbarment. Bill Clinton was disbarred.  Marilyn Mosbey the Baltimore County Prosecutor has had disbarment charges brought against her. Should their respective bars consider disbarment for Hillary Clinton and James Comey?  I always though perjury was a crime.

            I would be remiss if I did include the latest happenings in Ohio. That is 6 unsolved murders or 4 deaths and two missing females in Ross County and 8 unsolved murders in neighboring Pike County.  One of those events became a script for a national televised syndicated TV series.  The story of the 8 deaths in Pike County will no doubt follow. What’s my point here.

While driving by the death scene of the Pike County incident I observed an Ohio State Highway Patrol Officer directing traffic, but that’s what they’re good at. Who’s investigating the 14 unsolved homicides? Not a State Police Agency with real investigative experience but political entities of the Buckeye State Sherriff’s Office and a political arm of the State AG’s Office.

How many more people in this nation and our state must die before we are provided with professional law enforcement unheeded by political pressures.  As tax payers don’t we deserve better.

        If I’m shot call a PI to investigate not some political unethical law enforcement officer who no longer upholds the ethical standers of his or her profession.
           

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dealing With The Control Freak



A while back I wrote an article for PI Magazine entitled “Dealing with the Paranoid Schizophrenic Client”. I would like to continue along those lines and add some input in dealing with the “Control Freak”.

A control freak can be defined as “someone who wants to control every aspect of a situation and will not allow other people to share in making decisions.  “Controlling people can be hard to live with—with their constant advice, rigid routines, and schedules, times; their backseat driving and their demands that the dishwasher needs to be loaded in a certain way, and the tools in the garage put back on the proper hooks. They obsess and map out every minute of Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks in advance, and they get irritable or angry when plans get disrupted or you fail to follow through on what you said you were going to do.”

You know you are a control freak if:

1. “You believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you'd be happier. So you try to "help them" change this behavior by pointing it out, usually over and over.

2. You micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don't believe in imperfection and you don't think anyone else should either.

3. You judge others' behavior as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control.

4. You offer "constructive criticism" as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda.

5. You change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to incept others by managing their impression of you.

6. You present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviors and toward others. This is also called fear mongering.

7. You have a hard time with ambiguity and being OK with not knowing something.

8. You intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviors to others.”

In domestic matters the above has led to increased sales of Cell Phone Spyware and GPS(s) being sold as well as a PI being asked to assist the individual in their controlling endeavors.  Either party in those situations may be the one to ask for your assistance; the controller or the controlee. At what point does it become an ethical question for the investigator.

In my personal situation I have even received a card from an individual on whose car I had placed a GPS to determine if he was having an affair. Unbeknown to his wife the subject had placed spyware on her cell phone so after wasting my client, his wife’s money he sent me a “Got You Card” letting me know he was aware of everything. Even though Cell Phone Spyware is illegal the internet is flooded with software companies willing to take the chance and sell the software to anyone willing to pay the price. One should look at 18 U.S. Code § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited prior to engaging in such endeavors.

In domestic matters If they have tried counselling and all else fails you must be ready to tell your client if they are the controlee to be prepared to walk away – let their significant control other people.  At least you did your part. But again this is an ethical situation as to due I assist my client or keep my mouth shut?

In another personal matter after providing surveillance for the controlee before coming to the conclusion that he was one I got the call from the controlee who said no sense in wasting her husband’s money she would just call me in advance to let me know where she was going. The money was great but at what point does the PI become a stalker.

Every day a PI engaged in domestic surveillance comes across the “Control Freak” and you have to ask yourself do I take the money and run or do I say no. Each case if different because you may not have the knowledge that your client is a control freak until later in your investigation. It is an ethical dilemma that PIs face every day.  Do I do the right thing or make money?




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Downfall of Federal Law Enforcement

The Downfall of Federal Law Enforcement

I hate to write these things when I’m pissed but the current circumstances leave me no choice.  There was a time in the Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice community when Federal Law Enforcement Agencies were held in high esteem, but those times have come and gone.

I started to have my doubts when “Fast & Furious” came about and it became common knowledge that the ATF sold guns to the Mexican Cartels who in turn executed a Border Patrol Agent with one of those fire arms. I used to call the local ATF Office once in a while and ask, “How many Border Patrol Agents have you kill today?”. But with all the other Federal Agencies following down that  same dark path I’d spend all my free time on the telephone.

I could call Homeland Security and ask them “How many terrorists have you let in the country today?” But I think I would get the same response I get from ATF.  Then again I could call the TSA and ask them how many bombs have you found today but there too busy frisking white haired old ladies to answer the phone. Then again I could call the U.S. Secret Service but they’re all shacked up with hookers supplied by the same Mexican Drug Cartels that the ATF sold the guns to. Then again I could call an IRS Agent but they’re too busy pleading the 5th before Congress and spying on Tea Party Members.  Then there are the new EPA Police now armed and dangerous and the Homeland Security Police, which I quit haven’t figured out their roll out yet except they’re the reason there is a shortage of ammo and then there are the U.S. Land Management Police whose job it is to throw ranches off the property they’ve been grassing on for years. Get my drift?  Today though was kind of the final straw before taking pen to hand, when I read:

“Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) Training Do’s and Don’ts”; Who writes this stuff, CAIR.
This is perfect example of the tail wagging the dog. A few egg heads who think they know what’s best are now running the show. They are either the most incompetent individuals on the face of the earth or the most skilled. They are undermining the professionalism that Federal Law Enforcement . If they are anything like the Homeland Security female who was recently interrogated in front of Congress by Representatives Trey Gouty and Jim Jordan, I’d error on the side of incompetence but then again.

I know jobs are hard to come by but how can any Federal Law Enforcement Agent look at their self in a mirror in today’s world. They have got to come to the realization that whatever professionalism they had is now gone and they must make amends to correct that behavior. That may mean kicking their bosses ass but enough is enough.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hate the Unions Day






                                        Hate
the Unions Day



 



            My day started off like any other
day. The dogs got me up so they could go out to do their morning business while
I started the coffee pot and plopped a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster.
After letting the dogs in I settled down for that first cup of coffee and
downloaded the morning issue of the Columbus Dispatch to my Kindle.



            As always I checked the obituaries
first to see if I was among the dead but there stumbled across a memorial to
the late John E. Scales, president of Local 423 Labor’s Union. A memorial to a
crook and a felon. I played a small part in his conviction but a large part in
the conviction of Robert White, who followed in John’s footsteps, become the
president of Local 423 and a convicted felon. 
Enough about Local 423, the Union of Felons.



            I put that aside and headed to the
Post Office at Beechwood and Livingston to mail a Priority Mail package. There
I was greeted by a line that ran out the door. Let’s see the USPS pays millions
of dollars in advertising to get us to ship Priority & Express mail but due
to the Postal Union’s requirements only one employ can work behind the counter.
To make matters worse only a few of the fifteen people in the line in front of
me spoke any English.  Guess they’re used
of receiving their mail via goat cart or donkey. But in all it took me longer
to drop off my package than it will take it to get to its final destination.



            So after my visit to the Post Office
I continued on my way and stopped at Speedway to get gas, another mistake. Gas
prices had risen some thirty cents per gallon. 
Right now there is more oil in this country than ever in our history.
There’s a glut. But thanks to the United Steel Workers of America and their
refinery strike gasoline is not being produced from that oil. Guess the United
Steel Workers of America need to bring in more money to funnel to the
Democratic Party. All of us on pensions and fixed income thank you.



            And speaking of the Democratic Party
and their Union the Black Caucus I must admit to my mistake here. I stupidly
voted for Joyce Beatty as the Congressional Representative of my district.
Well  when her Union, The Black Caucus,
apologues to every ex, current or retired police office in American for their
continued perpetuation of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shot” lie I might consider
voting for another Democrat in my lifetime.   But don’t count on it.



 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Goes Around Comes Around

                                           What Goes Around Comes Around                                      

We in the Private Investigation industry are in the business of providing information so that others can render solutions. But as a follow-up to my last article entitled “Conducting Ethical Investigations in a World Seemingly without Ethics” I would like to provide a solution.

            Years ago while attending Graduate School at The Ohio State University I submitted a term paper entitled “Some thoughts on the causes of crime and delinquency” that was later published in the State FOP Magazine then known as the Ohio Police”.

            A Chinese study I referred to in that article was the results of a program that ended crime in the Province of Lu. The study read as follows:

            “I have made a study of our prisons and I discovered that almost all the prisoners are poor, or children of the poor. I have also discovered that almost all the prisoners are ignorant or children of the ignorant. It therefore seems that poverty and ignorance make people commit our laws and commit crimes. If we could do away with poverty and ignorance then we would have no more crime in our land.”

            The question was raised as to how would one do away with poverty and ignorance?

            “The way to do away with ignorance is through education. If we educate all the people, then we do away with ignorance. We can do away with poverty by teaching the people useful trades and occupations so that they can earn and honest living.”

            When asked by the community leaders how do we bring about this change the answer was:
            “You are their leaders, it is your duty to be good and honest. People need leaders who they can follow.  If the leaders are corrupt the people will also be corrupt. But if the leaders were good, the people will follow their example and also be good.”

            The above was written by Confucius in 550 BC when he was the Minister of Crime in the Province of Lu in China.  After two years of the above program being implemented the prisons were empty.

            Recently in my home city of Columbus, Ohio and similarly as in Atlanta, GA. School administrators to include principals and teachers were criminally indicted for changing student’s grades from failing to passing as well as absences to presents in order to obtain pay bonuses; thusly dumbing down our youth to a life of ignorance and crime.

            As a personal note, it was the main reason I gave up teaching part-time at the college level.  My students couldn’t read nor write and had a hard time speaking English..

            As I watched the happenings of the fiasco in Ferguson, MO. I could only relate back to the above 550 BC findings as lawlessness and criminal activity played out on national television for all to see. It was only interrupted by so call leaders exacerbating the circumstance.

            Until we demand honesty from our leaders we are doomed to a society of ignorance, poverty and crime. The solution was found in 550 BC but then who reads.
                       
  



            

Monday, November 17, 2014

Conducting Political Investigations in a World without Ethics

Conducting Political Investigations in a World without Ethics
           
The standard for ethics in our profession was set by Kitty Hailey in her text entitled “Code of Professional Conduct, Standards and Ethics for the Investigative Profession” and “do no harm “continues as that standard. But might I query, ‘harm to whom”?

Harm to our purse or wallet; harm to our children by not provided them with the latest technology or a college education; harm to your significant other by not being able to provide for that yearly vacation; harm to your political and/ or religious beliefs and harm to all of mankind. I guess the answer depends on whose ox is being gored.
“Doing the right thing when no one is looking” has also been a past standard but in today’s world there is never a time when someone isn’t looking.  I just finished reading Sharyl  Attkinson’s best seller “ Stonewalled” and began question myself as to what the right thing was. To some her text will be pure fiction while to others it will be the blatant truth.

What do we as investigators do if placed in Shayl Attinson’s shoes?  Do we have a greater responsibility other than handing our client what we believe is a factual report? If there is an extreme injustice are we to turn a blind eye?  

Doing no harm is an object statement that each investigator faces with every investigation that he or she conducts.  When does a simple locate or domestic surveillance case become stalking?

We are all in this for the money as no one in their right mind would do this for free.  So what part of yourself are you willing to sacrifice for your client?

In conducting political investigation one must first inquire as the reason behind the inquiry. Why were you asked to conduct the investigation? Was there or is there ongoing political corruption or is your client just looking for dirt?

What happens to the truth as you come to know it? If you are a believer in Ms. Attikinson’s findings in “Stonewalled” who do you trust?

At present we are living in a world with no apparent ethics or moral standing. If you have both you become the villain to be demonized.

As an investigator you must look in the mirror daily and ask “Am I doing the right thing?” Am I doing no harm? You only have two people to answer to in the end, that’s yourself and a deity if you so believe. If an atheist only one. But most assuredly if you are a NALI member you have to answer to Kitty Hailey.