(Okay, I hope that title doesn’t get me a visit from Homeland Security…)
According to a government report released last week, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration agents made almost 300 attempts last year to smuggle bombs past security screeners at three major American airports. Twenty percent of the bombs passed through undetected at San Francisco International Airport, sixty percent at Chicago O’Hare, and seventy-five percent at Los Angeles International Airport.
Clark Kent Ervin, a former Homeland Security inspector general, calls this “a huge cause for concern” and says that the screeners’ poor performance might encourage terrorists to try smuggling bombs and other weapons on board planes.
Okay, now here’s a thought: Is it possible that terrorists might be less emboldened by the screeners’ poor performances themselves than by the fact that the government saw fit to release the report including specific details?
This is nothing new, by the way: A few years back, the government released a study of which American port cities were most vulnerable to terrorist attack and why.
The phone call I got yesterday from somebody claiming to represent Visa was actually from Vonage, an attempt to get my new credit card number so they can continue billing me after they refused to put through my repeated requests for cancellation (see previous update).
Wow. At least I was right about this being a scam to make fraudulent use of my credit card.
“This is the Security Office at **** Visa. We’ve discovered a possible fraudulent charge to your account. Please call us back immediately at 1-800-***-****, and have your credit card number ready.”
Not a bad scam as scams go. I’m sure they caught some fish.
As obvious as this should be, you should never call any number other than the one on the back of your card.
As it happens, I called the number on the back of my card, asked to be connected to Security, confirmed that they hadn’t called me, and tried to explain to a brick wall that I was calling to let them know somebody was making these calls in their name. The brick wall didn’t quite understand how this scam worked, and advised me not to give out my credit card number to anybody. “Yes, thank you, I got that,” I said. “That’s why I’m talking to you instead of to the criminals who called me.”
Then the brick wall asked me for my mother’s maiden name again.