Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Free to Become Otherwise

      A long, long time ago while attending Capital University here in Columbus, OH I wrote an op/ed article for the campus paper which was based on the premise that “All Men Are Created Equal and Should Be Free to Become Otherwise.” I still after all these years, additional education and life experiences believe in that premise, but with exceptions.

As we all know God did not create us equally. We are not duplicates made from the same cookie cutter mold. Some have hair, other do not. Some are gifted with higher intelligence, vocal, musical or artistic talents.  Others different in skin color, language, religious beliefs, gender, size and a multitude of other things that make us, us. But we should be free in this country to become whatever it is we care to be as long as it is not a violation of our statutory laws or does not interfere with the another’s freedoms.

When we are not given the freedom by outside forces to obtain those goals it is called discrimination.  The Constitution and the Civil Rights Acts address those issues and offer a legal path to correct those issues.  It should be applied freely to all, period.
When those outside forces attempt to force us to believe as they do it attacks our freedom. It becomes oppression.  If we disagree with our oppressors, we are labeled as non-believers, racist, homophobes, rednecks, and a multitude of other slanderous names depending on your standing in the community.

Our “Freedom to Become Otherwise” has been under attack for a number of years now but never so much as within the last few. In this country, there should be no such thing as labeled Americans. If you are born here or obtained legal status as a citizen, then you are an American. There should be no hyphenated Americans, just plain old Americans. Who have one flag, the Stars and Strips.

Your religious beliefs should be your own with the freedom to worship the God or the Prophet of your choosing. But you should not have the freedom to impose those beliefs on others. The same applies to sexual beliefs. Whatever you care to do in your own bedroom, that is within the law, is up to you but you should not be allowed to force others who do not accept your life style to bake you wedding cakes if they care not to.

There is a thin line between freedom and oppression and it is dependent on who’s ox is getting gored. We are supposed to be a country of laws. The statue of Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason and the scales should be balanced for all. There will always be those who care to oppress our freedoms and unbalance the scales of justice but our right to freedom for a  better life should never be repressed because of other beliefs.

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?