• ‘SYNTHETIC IDENTITY THEFT’ IS A SCAM WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR ONE IN FIVE CREDIT CARDS WHICH GO BAD. While the financial industry have spent years convincing retailers to upgrade card terminals to accept computer chips (which supposedly prevent crooks from stealing CC numbers), “synthetic fraudsters simply buy stolen social security numbers, then combine them with a sham identity using real addresses, then apply for new cards… The most prized data are SSNs of people who don’t use credit – particularly infants & children – because they give the thief a blank slate to work from.” Once any lender opens an account and a credit file is started, then “the long con starts,” as fraudsters pay monthly bills (forwarded to P.O. boxes), qualifying for higher limits and additional cards, until the collective credit limit is high enough to “bust out charging everything to the hilt, then discard the identities, leaving collection departments to waste months trying to reach the borrower before realizing it was all a fiction,” and leaving the victim with a huge clean-up burden. [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK – Sep 18, 17]
  • WHY REBUILD IN THE FLOODZONES? Severe flooding is only going to worsen, from melting glaciers & icecaps which foster rising sea levels, and rising climate helps storms absorb and dump larger volumes of water. Forecasted ‘one in 500 years’ floods just happened for the third year in a row; Miami Beach has experienced 34 flood events in the last ten years. Within the next thirty years, predictions are for U.S. Coastal areas to be hit with over 30 days of flooding annually, affecting up to ten million households mostly on the Gulf & Atlantic coasts. Why rebuild? Because, why not? Politicians and real estate developers have succeeded in (1) overbuilding more than 30% of wetlands with at least 7,000 residential buildings in the floodplain areas, and (2) providing for artificially-cheap flood insurance which pays out up to $350K for property & content damage – over and over. “The Nat’l Flood Insurance Program (currently some $25 billion in debt, before this season’s losses) insures 30,000 ‘severe repetitive loss’ properties which have been rebuilt at least four times; one $69K home has flooded 34 times accumulating $663K in claims.”  Among our most vulnerable cities are Boston, New York, Tampa, Miami Beach & New Orleans.  [THE WEEK – Sep 29, 17]
  • NOTWITHSTANDING THE ADVERSE IMPACT FROM ONLINE SALES, 90% OF ALL U.S. COMMERCE IS TRANSACTED IN LOCAL RETAIL STORES. More than four in five ‘searches’ are followed up with an in-store visit, and 80% of consumer budgets are spent within 10 to 20 miles of home. An exceptionally creative new tech company, co-founded by Ryan Duitch, now helps brands and local stores measure and exploit local marketing through ‘Brand Ambassadors.’  Check out:  http://www.fielddayapp.io/
  •  THE EQUIFAX BREACH WILL LIKELY LEAD TO ITS BANKRUPTCY, as result of negligence displayed in “delaying a patch to a known security bug more than nine weeks… and failing to protect a portal for customer credit report disputes with perhaps the most easy-to-guess password combination ever: ‘admin/admin’.” So far, at least two dozen class-action lawsuits have been filed (one seeking $70 billion) and the “costs associated with repairing damage of its breach is $8 billion above the Company’s market valuation.” With Congress now considering making executives “personally liable for certifying effectiveness of their internal control over data security,” the blasé attitude of many corporate execs may soon be rectified. [TECHREPUBLIC.COM – Sep 14, 17]
  • EXCEPT FOR GEEZERS, network and cable television are fast becoming irrelevant. According to the latest Pew survey, two-thirds of Americans now get their news on social media – under age 50, the ratio is nearly eight in ten. Around 63% is now delivered through Facebook and YouTube platforms, with another 23% through Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat. [TIME – Sep 25, 17]
  • MORE ON BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY making its way in to a wide range of businesses. Cautions: “(1) Blockchains are not databases, they are a ‘ledger data structure’ suited for appending new pieces of data and allowing validation of contents, but not designed for supporting queries on data (or confidentiality)… (2) As an audit tool, there’s no guarantee that every transaction gets posted to the chain, or that every element in the chain is ‘real’… (3) Typically a third to half of a blockchain’s participants may be error-prone or corruptible… (4) While auditing, shared state, and consensus between distrusting parties are pretty impressive benefits, alternative approaches may be easier, especially if legal enforceability of contracts is a factor.” [DARKREADING.COM – Sep 8, 17]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Humans release an average of 9 million tons of plastic into the world’s oceans annually – equivalent to nearly 136 billion plastic milk jugs which, stacked on top of one another, would reach more than halfway to Mars.”

          “With success comes ego. Every single person has one, but it depends on how you use it. You don’t accidentally get to be an asshole. To be a bad person and treat people badly, you have to be that all the time, and it’s hard work.”  – Ozzy Osbourne