ALERT – Social Security, IRS Refund Scam

ktadmin Posted in Identity Theft, Self-Defense

All scam artists are scum but this one is really low. Some scams take advantage of greedy people or people who think they are looking to rip someone else off. This scam targets senior citizens, the sad part about this scam is the victims get warned before they get ripped off but they ignore the warning! Guess they may fall into the greedy category after all but I still think this one is low. Here is how it works:

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), someone approaches an elderly citizen and asks if they have filed to get the tax back on their Social Security benefits. They tell the victim (the Social Security beneficiary) to get a 1099 from Social Security so that they can file the income tax refund for the beneficiary. The beneficiary requests the last 3 years 1099 statements showing their Social Security Benefit. The SSA has no choice except to give them the information because it gives them the total payments they have received. (here comes the warning I mentioned) The Social Security Administration does tell them that what they are about to participate in is a scam. Few believe them — or want to. The tax preparer files three years’ tax returns showing SS benefits as income. They put in the standard deduction and come up with a refund amount. The beneficiary files the tax return. The Internal Revenue Service sends them a refund. The beneficiary pays the preparer between $40 and $100. IRS realizes the error and either takes the refund out of the beneficiary’s bank account or sends a demand letter for the refund. The preparer has gotten their money and has moved on, while the beneficiary is out the amount of money paid the preparer and must repay the “refund” to IRS. For more information, visit:

Now I don’t know about you but that sounds like a lot of work to do for $40 to $100! For all the time and their risk you would think the scam artist would want more for their time. Well no one said criminals are smart, just the ones that don’t get caught. The one thing that this report forgets to mention is that the scam artist also walks away with your social security number, date of birth, signature, and if they are crafty a copy of your driver’s license…that is a self-made identity theft gift pack!! So as always protect yourself and for goodness sake use some common sense because if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is!

Equality in Domestic Violence

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, News, Self-Defense

This article was reprinted here with permission from the Author.

Domestic Violence: A Danger To Men And Women Alike

By: Anna Blaise

Originally Posted: 10/31/07

The term “domestic violence” is generally linked with violence against women in today’s society. But what isn’t usually thought of is the fact that men are victims of violence in relationships as well.

A recent study by Daniel J. Whitaker, Ph.D., Tadesse Haileyesus, M.S., Monica Swahn, Ph.D. and Linda S. Saltzman, Ph.D. of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, showed that men and women can be violent in a relationship and that injury occurred more often than not when the violence was reciprocal.

“We were interested in understanding the phenomenon of violence in relationships,” Whitaker said. “A lot of other studies noted that a lot of partner violence is reciprocal and this is the first [study] that looked at whether or not violence was worse when it was reciprocal.”

Silence is no defense against violenceDr. Whitaker and his colleagues took 11,370 respondents from the samples of the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to survey. Out of these respondents, 24 percent of all the relationships had violence in them and 12 percent of those violence were from both men and women. The study also showed that when the violence was reciprocal 28.3 percent of the time injury occurred.

“In our study, our findings showed that the more violence was reciprocated, the more injury occurred,” Whitaker said of the study’s findings. ” Another important factor was the fact that women and men alike started these violence and led to an escalation of violence which in turn led to injury.”

Whitaker said this finding is important to note because reciprocal violence was more dangerous for the victim, both men and women alike, than nonreciprocal violence in a relationship. Therefore, when violence occur because a woman initiates it, it’s as dangerous as when men initiate it because that violence can escalate more and become more serious. Two-thirds of the time, the victim is a woman.

The study also found that men in relationships with reciprocal violence were reportedly injured 25.2 percent of the time, whereas women in relationships with nonreciprocal violence were reportedly injured 20 percent of the time. Also, among the relationships with nonreciprocal violence, women were reported to be the perpetrator 70.7% of the time.

Whitaker said these conflicts that involve violence happen because some people in relationships do not have any communications strategies.

“[These violence] happen because of conflicts that escalate out of control,” he said in the report. “If people can learn relationship and communication strategies, it would decrease a great amount.”

The president and attorney of the National Coalition of Free Men, Los Angeles chapter, Marc E. Angelucci, said he is not surprised at all by the findings. Angelucci, who started the chapter, said he is angry that the media does not cover the fact that men are as much victims in violence of relationships as women are.

“[The study] does not surprise me at all because as far back as 1975 the National Family of Violence industry, which is feminist leaning, has not yet publicized the male victims and has only cited the figures for female victims. That has gone on decades and there is a long history to this, documented by Professor Linda Kelly of Indiana State University School of Law. Today, almost 200 similar studies have already been done and confirmed the same [findings as Dr. Whitaker’s study] more or less.”

He added, “When you look at the social science instead of just the crime data, you find the only serious differences between the sexes with regard to domestic abuse is that men are much less likely to report it and that women suffer more physical injury on average.

“But men sustain about one-third of the injuries and children are psychologically damaged by witnessing it regardless of injuries. So the difference in injuries should not be an excuse to ignore any victims or downplay female violence at all as some try to do,” Whitaker said.

Red Flags Remind

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Self-Defense

This article was reprinted here with permission from the Author.

Women’s Center Raises Awarness of Domestic Violence.

By: Vanessa Joy

Originally Posted: 10/9/07

It may surprise many to realize that verbal and physical acts including breaking furniture, punchingRed Flags Remind walls, swearing, name calling, mocking, shouting, interrupting and ridiculing are all warning signs of violence. More specifically, these are considered warning signs of violence directed towards women.

What one might mistake as a ‘normal’ argument between boy and girl may in fact be the foreshadowing of a more intense and perhaps deadly display of emotions in the future. According to FBI statistics, “every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in this country.” Furthermore, “typically, in 72-77% of the cases, violence occurs only after a couple has become seriously involved, rather than in the early, more casual, stages of dating,” reports Angela Browne, in her article, “When Battered Women Kill.” Dating violence is a real threat to campus communities nationwide.

As a result, the UConn Women’s Center has chosen to dedicate the next few weeks to educating students on those often-ignored domestic violence warning signs and will provide a variety of promotional and educational materials that aim to prevent violence directed towards women. These materials are available on the Women’s Center Web site and are all part of The Red Flag Campaign, made visible by the red flags that students can now see around campus.

Specifically, this is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on campuses.

“The Red Flag campaign, although it is silent, sounds a powerful message that these issues affect everyone,” said Caitlin Torino, chairperson of the campaign. “We are working against the traditional belief system that abuse is a ‘private matter.'”

The red flags set up around campus are a visual reminder that violence against women is an all-too-common occurrence. Torino hopes these flags will remind students to actively think about this issue and perhaps influence them to make appropriate changes in their lives in order to prevent future violence against women.

A common misconception about violence against women is that it is solely a physical act.

“Many college students don’t realize that their own friends and peers may be victims of dating violence, or that they themselves may be cycling in an abusive pattern within their own relationships,” Torino said. “In part, this is due to common myths, which include the misperception that physical violence is the only form of abuse. In reality, violence against women in relationships is marked by patterns of power and control that may include not only physical assault, but also emotional and verbal abuse.”

Common forms of such emotional and verbal abuse include excessive jealousy, possessiveness, not listening, interrupting, changing topics, criticism and put-downs.

But dating violence does not just stop at physical or emotional control, it can also involve sexual control.

According to a study by the National Institute of Health, “one-fifth of college women experience forced sex by someone they know.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that, “more than 80% of all rapes are acquaintance rapes.” Just because a person is involved in a serious relationship, it does not give their partner the right to have sex with them against their will.

However, despite all the awareness campaigns against domestic violence, many UConn students say it is still a large issue on campus.

“Someone that I know said that their boyfriend at one point, they were in a public place, just like physically pushed them, for like making fun of them or something, and people around them that were watching, uh, looked very alarmed but didn’t really intrude,” said 3rd-semester undecided major Ashley Yalof. “I think she said she started crying as soon as it happened and he immediately apologized, but still.”

In an effort to help those harmed by domestic violence, the Women’s Center is sponsoring a survivor’s group for women who have experienced actual or attempted sexual assault at any time in their lives.

You never really know…do you

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

On July 18th Leandro Aragoncillo, 48, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for espionage charges in connection with stealing classified national defense documents from the White House, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of State. This is surprising because Leandro Aragoncillo was a former U.S. Marine and FBI analyst. Aragoncillo’s case marks the first time in modern history that someone has been charged with spying out of the White House The man who was a career Marine and had served under two vice presidents (Cheney & Gore) in the White House had pled guilty to stealing information in an attempt to foster a political coup in the Philippines, his ancestral home country. Aragoncillo was brought to justice using the same tools he was using for his treasonous activities, text messages, Web-based e-mail accounts and database queries.
There are many aspects of this case that are interesting, from his motivation to his religious affiliation to his career highlights. But what has prompted me to write about this is the aspect dealing with security and self-defense. Even though this story covers a big topic it has lessons that we can learn at a much more personal level. Most people tend to accept certain positions as trustworthy, and because of this, assign an inherent trust to people holding these positions. Examples abound, police, clergy, teachers, fellow parents all are positions we assign trust and responsibility to yet are the individuals filling these roles responsible and trustworthy? In this case, no. To often our self-defense is breached because we relax or rely on the trust of a position and not the individual. Trust should be earned regardless of the position. As a parent this is more true then ever. I trust no one with my children that hasn’t earned that trust. Even after earning my trust, when it comes to my children I am ever critical of motives and actions. Remember that self-defense starts with awareness and vigilance. Luckily the Federal government was vigilant in this case. But if we apply a personal tone to this story the damage is done because the crime has already happened. The difference is that in our personal life, concerning our personal safety we do not have to wait for a crime to be committed to change the course of events. So be aware and pay close attention to motive. There are a lot of nice, kind hearted people out there but there are also a lot of wolves pretending to be the same. Can you tell the difference? Train hard and stay safe.
Read about the Aragoncillo case here

Cell Phone Self-Defense Week – -Tip #5

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

So this ends our week of cell phone “self-defense” tips. We thought of rerunning our very popular Crime Deterrent post but projectile humor didn’t seem appropriate so we dug deeper. While this last tip isn’t exactly a self-defense tip it is an important tip for helping you stay informed without breaking the bank. Free Directory Service from your cell phone!
If you dial 411 information from your cell phone you are going to be hit with a nice “little” service change ranging from $1.00 to $2.00!! So instead of dialing 411 and pay dial 800-FREE-411 (800-373-3411) and get your information for free (at no additional charge but at the expense of normal airtime)! Punch that number in and save it to your contact list today! Now that I think of it this could be considered a self-defense tip as it is protecting you from being … taken advantage of … by your mobile service provider! Hope you found these tips useful.

Cell Phone Self-Defense Week – -Tip #4

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

This week you are learning that your cell phone is truly an important Self-Defense and life tool. Well what do you do if your cell phone is stolen or lost!?! Think of everything that you have stored on the phone, contacts, pictures and more…not a nice thought. But it happens, cell phones bring a premium on the black market to criminal types so what DO you do if yours is stolen. Why disable it of course but you need to plan ahead for this event. You need to have your cell phone or mobile devices serial number. On some phones you can get the serial number by keying in the following code *#06#. A 15 digit number will appear on the phones display. This 15 digit number is unique to your phone. Once you retrieve this number write it down and keep it in a safe place.
If your cell phone or mobile device should ever get stolen call your service provider and give them the 15 digit serial number. Depending on your provider (and who answers the support line) they may be able to use this code to block your handset even if the thief changed the SIM card thus rendering your stolen cell phone useless. You won’t get your phone back but perhaps no one else will be using it either! Stay safe, protect your assets and make crime unprofitable!

Cell Phone Self-Defense Week – -Tip #3

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

Here is a cool way to use your phone though chances are you won’t need this one.
Does your car have a remote keyless entry system? Then keep reading. If you ever lock your keys in your car but have a spare set at home you may be in luck. If someone is at home call home on your cell phone and ask them to get your spare set of keys. Then have them hold the keys to the phone and press the unlock button. At the same time you hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door. Your car will unlock! So you no longer have to wait for someone to drive your keys to you, especially handy if you are in another State. This trick also works for your trunk and if we’re right about this it should work for remote car starters however we haven’t tested that one yet. Let us know if it does.

Cell Phone Self-Defense Week – -Tip #2

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

Now you know how to get help in an emergency but what do you do if your cell phone’s battery is low and you need help!?! Don’t worry some cell phones (such as Nokia) have an emergency reserve in the battery that you can activate (if you know how). SO the next time your cell phone battery is about to die here is what you do… To activate the reserve battery power, press the keys *#4720#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve activated and you should see a 30% increase in the battery. The reserve will get charged the next time you charge your cell phone. To see if your phone has this ability check to see if it has the Half Rate Codec, as stated not all phones have this feature. The sequence *3370# enables Enhanced Full Rate Codec, which provides better sound quality at the expense of shorter battery life.
So when you are lost in the wilderness, need help, and your battery is about to die you now know what to do. With this kind of knowledge you could quickly become the hero of the day, at the very least you can explain to your friends why the person in the movie could have gotten the help they needed if they had read this blog!

Cell Phone Self-Defense Week – -Tip #1

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

We’ve covered the importance of cell phones as tools of self-defense but this week we will disclose 5 unusual ways to use your cell phone to make yourself safer! Here goes…
Send help NOW! We in the United States tend to take our emergency services for granted, here we simply dial 911 and theoretically help is on the way. But even here using a cell phone to dial 911 can introduce some deals in getting help. Fear not, there is a solution to this emergency woe.
Most people don’t realize it but there is a worldwide Emergency Number you can dial from any mobile device (including cell phones). The Worldwide Emergency Number is 112. This number will work even if you are not within your coverage area. When you dial 112 the mobile device will search any existing network to establish the correct emergency number for you. Another interesting fact is that this Emergency Number (112) can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. So the next time you have an Emergency and are away from home, dial 112 to get the assistance you need.

Stop the Silence

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

Stop the Silence