CategoryRant

American Express / Non-American Call Center

Today, I attempted to use my American Express card as a replacement for an old card that had expired. I entered the card info, hit “renew,” and was told it was declined.

Within a minute, I received an automated phone call from a toll-free number. The automated message stated (paraphrasing here) that this was the American Express Fraud Department and that I needed to call the 800 number to confirm card activity.

If I hadn’t just made the charge attempt, I think I wouldn’t have called… but in this case… I called and a person (with a very heavy accent) answered, said that this was American Express, and asked for my card number.

Now, I actually believe this was American Express. That being said, this same scenario is textbook scam.

How can you tell the difference? (Short answer is that I don’t know.)

I asked if the call agent was in the United States; he said he was in Bombay, India. He wouldn’t transfer me to the United States, so I thanked him and called the number on the back of my card.

The automated system couldn’t understand me (they never understand Yeni) and I was transferred to a call agent… in the Philippines. They also wouldn’t (or couldn’t) transfer me to a call center in the United States.

After a few more attempts I reached a call center in the USA… who was unable to get me to a fraud specialist outside of India.

At one point, I asked “Isn’t this American Express?”

He politely let me know that American Express was a global company, servicing many outside the United States.

I get it. I really get it — hell, I have many clients that operate call centers. There is only one reason to outsource a call center outside the United States. Money.

American Express has a duty to it’s shareholders… but then again… it’s a company that’s benefited greatly by the United States (again… it’s American Express). As a merchant, I know AmEx charges American businesses twice what other cards charge for processing a payment.

The least they can do is keep jobs here in the USA.

As for my card? It’s unresolved. AmEx says it’s for my security that I talk to someone in India. I say it’s not.

Your Phone Company is Watching

Back in 2012 or so, I posted a video hidden within a rant I had made. I rant from time to time. Scratch that. I rant a lot. I blog my rants from time to time.

Anyway, I think about this video often.

Malte Spitz asked his telephone company what type of data they had been collecting on him. An innocent question… what type of information are you collecting?

The results astounded him and he effectively communicated why we should all be concerned.

For those of you out there who don’t find any significance to the Snowden releases, the information our NSA collects, and why blanket collection of data is a dangerous tool… I ask you to watch the movie.

It’s a quick 10 minutes. If you’ve seen it before, it’s time to watch it again.

Malte Spitz asked his cell phone carrier what it knew about him–and mapped what he found out.

My Internet Quote

I don’t think I’ll ever come up with a better quote than this:

The Internet is like a big city. Sure, there’s great museums and entertainment, but there’s also bad, bad places filled with bad, bad people. Fred Posner

I first used it on Palner.com explaining SIP Brute-force attacks to non-techs. =)

Facebook: I'm Breaking Up with You

disney castle fireworks

Missed it. Was on Facebook.

Listen… I’m grateful for our relationship. I do not regret these past 7+ years. After all, you and I have shared some significant events.

When we first got together I was single, had an amazing dog, and was finishing up my degree. You were great in helping me connect with other students in my classes and even helped me keep track of assignments, projects, and more.

You helped me through some rough times.  Continue reading

Best Rocky Balboa Quote Ever

Let me tell you something you already know…

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.

It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. Continue reading

Taxes on my Taxes

So, yesterday I got my electricity bill and it was a little over 180 bucks. It’s Gainesville and hot, so I expected a decently high electricity bill. Add air conditioning with more cooking (and a bunch of hot showers) and $180 is expected.

Of course, my real electricity bill is $150. There was $30 in taxes.  Continue reading

What is a hero?

Words contain power– power that becomes diluted with overuse. The word hero gets thrown around so often it has completely lost its power. It’s become an expected title bestowed on anyone doing a good deed. Which brings me to my question… what is a hero?

Continue reading

A Quick Look at my County Taxes

Here’s the quick and dirty breakdown (I’ve rounded the percentages):

  • Board of County Commissioners: $666.82 (31%)
  • Library: $113.91 (6%)
  • School Board: $931.65 (46%)
  • Water District: $32.14 (2%)
  • Unincorporated Services: $31.88 (2%)
  • Sheriff: $129.17 (6%)
  • Fire Protection: $103.51 (5%)

So, the biggest amount seems, by far, to go to the School Board. I spend over $900.00 on public education– and being that I have no kids, I think that’s very generous of me. Of course, not realizing  this until now is completely my own fault. Continue reading

TSA and the Sacrifice of Freedom

There’s no big secret where I’m going here. Not too much of a secret where I’ve been either. Most everyone knows that I’m a former police officer — if you didn’t, well you do now. I’m not one to label myself a conservative, liberal, or anything like that. I’m registered NPA (no party affiliation) and that’s exactly like I like it. When I vote, I vote for whom I like, although lately that seems an impossible task… but as usual… I digress.

If I were to lean one way or another, I’d most likely say my beliefs are somewhat libertarian. I believe that government is necessary, but must be severely limited. I want government out of my house, away from my body, and focused on protecting our nation from those that would cause us harm. Continue reading

Obama, BP, and the Killing of the Gulf of Mexico

Back in the 90’s, one of my favorite commercials used the tagline, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy; we make a lot of the products you buy better.” Well my friends, when thinking about our government’s response to the continued pouring of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I can only think that our government didn’t make the crisis in the Gulf; they made the crisis in the Gulf more catastrophic.

First, let’s ask the most simple question. How much oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico?

Continue reading

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