As many of you already know, I have not been blogging, but something happened that was so beyond the pale that I just had to share it with you!
STOP BANKING AT BANK OF AMERICA!!!!
If you have to, go to a credit union or any other financial entity, but close ALL accounts and any other financial ties that you have with Bank of America. And here’s why.
In my town, there were only 3 Bank of America branches. Last year, one of them closed, two months ago, they ‘temporarily’
PERMANENTLY closed a second branch. No reason or explanation was given. This month when I went to the last remaining Bank of America branch, there was a sign on the door, “TEMPORARILY CLOSED” ALL THREE ATMs at that location were inoperable. The ATM at the other ‘temporarily closed’ Bank of America branch was also, inoperable. The already, “permanently closed” branch’s ATM was inoperable. There was no way for ANY Bank of America customer to withdraw funds from their account.
When my cousin tried to use his Bank of America card at another bank’s ATM, he could not get any funds. He spoke with an employee at that bank and even the employee had no idea why my cousin’s ATM card would not work, especially when he was able to obtain a receipt from the ATM stating what the balance in his account was. He called the bank to inquire as to why he was unable to withdraw funds from another bank’s ATM since ALL Bank of America branches were closed and their ATMs were down, he was told that there was “suspicious activity involving his account.” The Bank of America customer service representative had my cousin on the phone trying to explain who his third cousin five times removed was, how many uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and other siblings he had, where had he worked in the past and the list was endless. My cousin was becoming more and more flustered and I simply took the phone from him and hung up.
I called Bank of America and apprised a customer service representative of the problem and was told that all I had to do to solve the problem of branch closures was to “make use of ONLINE BANKING or use their MOBILE APP.” I went THEE fuck off! I said, “How in the hell can I fucking withdraw money via online banking or via your goddamn mobile app?” I further added that Bank of America was NOT going to force me to do everything via online or via a mobile app and that since hacking is occurring ALL over the goddamn place, why on earth would I sit somewhere and do ALL banking transactions online so that someone can hack my shit and I’m left sitting somewhere looking stupid? I told that bitch that one day, she’d wake up, log in to her account and find it wiped clean by a hacker and then she’d wish that there had been plenty more like me screeching and wailing before being dragged into a cashless society. Almost right after those words had cleared my mouth, I read about the hacking of the PIPELINE that resulted in gas shortages all up and down the East Coast and Southern portion of the country and the shit was being held for ransom.
At least 15 separate security breaches occurred at retailers from January 2017 until now. Many of them were caused by flaws in payment systems either online or in stores.
Data breaches are on the rise for both retailers and other businesses.
A recent report by cybersecurity firm Shape Security showed that 80% to 90% of the people that log into a retailer’s e-commerce site are hackers using stolen data. This is the highest percentage of any sector.
These data breaches are a real danger for both companies and customers and can affect the trust shoppers have in brands.
According to a study by KPMG, 19% of consumers would completely stop shopping at a retailer after a breach and 33% would take a break from shopping there for an extended period.
Consumers’ credit/debit card data has been hacked at Adidas, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Delta Airlines, Best Buy, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Under Armour’s MyFitness Pal app, Panera Bread, Forever 21, Sonic, Whole Foods, Gamestop and Arby’s.
Adidas has stated that only customers in the United States have been impacted. Go figure! They know Americans and they know that nothing is going to stop them from passing that plastic card across the counter. According to the company, you guys in Europe are okay, but I would check just to be sure.
Macy’s says that between April 26 and June 12, your personal information and credit card details have been exposed to a third party. Who that third party is, they can’t or won’t say. But not to worry. You will just assume that they will correct the problem in time for Black Friday and back inside Macy’s with your credit card, you will go. No worries.
Sears says that a “security incident” happened with an online support partner and that 100,000 of you have had your credit card information stolen. Who stole it? They don’t know. But online shopping is SO convenient, no one is going to stop doing it. Just ask Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. Thanks to billions of shoppers shopping online at Amazon, Bezos’ employees are pissing in containers because they cannot leave the warehouse floor to use the restroom because your hacked online order has to be delivered to you before the hackers can max out your credit cards and drain your bank accounts. But Bezos wants you to know that it would be prudent for you to wash your hands after touching their merchandise, it may still have traces of a worker’s piss on it.
Kmart was also affected by the Sears hack and then was hacked again in a separate incident. They are indeed, going for broke and taking you along with them. “Identity theft,” anyone?
Delta Airlines wants you to “Fly the friendly skies” AFTER your personal information and credit card information has been hacked by the same entity that hacked Sears and Kmart. Sit back, relax in extreme discomfort in your little seat with no leg room while your neighbor behind you kicks your seat while back on the ground, your credit card’s getting hacked.
Best Buy was affected by the same hackers who targeted Sears, Kmart and Delta Airlines, but they also want you to know that “only a small fraction” of their customers need worry. Which of you need worry? I don’t know and neither does Best Buy and so you ALL should worry.
Saks Fifth Avenue wants you to know that a data breach compromised your credit/debit information and that it probably affected millions of you. But not to worry. If you can shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, then what’s a few thousand stolen from you? And according to Saks Fifth Avenue, only ‘in-store’ sales were affected.
Lord & Taylor, for all you rich folks out there, wants you to know that their customers were affected by the same breach as Saks Fifth Avenue and that is all they want you to know. You can speculate on your own time as to whether it was 10 customers or 1 million customers. You figure it out, but please continue to shop there, by all means. The Black Friday sales are sure to get you hacked, but it will be all for a good cause, after having given thanks on Thanksgiving Day, the day after calls for a ‘thankful’ hacked shopping experience.
Under Armour’s MyFitness Pal app wants you to know that while you were out there getting into shape, sweating to the beat of some great music, your names, emails and encrypted passwords were hacked and more than likely it was over 150 million of you who were impacted by this breach. I suggest you ‘sweat’ to the beat without their app. It might save you from another bout of ‘identity theft’. Fit and hacked is not a good combination.
Panera Bread wants you to know that if you placed an online order on or about April 2nd of this year, your personal data has been compromised by a breach. But they certainly hope that you enjoyed your meal. Please feel free to place another online order and get hacked again because their product is SO worth it!
Forever 21 wants you to know that from March to October 2017, your personal information as well as your credit card numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes were released to hackers who are most thankful that Forever 21 is acting like it is Forever 5 and not protecting its customers’ personal information and credit card information. Forever 21 plans to change its name to Forever 5 in the near future so as to not have to assume responsibility for its actions of allowing hackers to access its customers’ information. Enjoy your shopping experience and thank you for understanding that hacking of your information will continue. However, our Black Friday Madness sale, just cannot be missed and they know you won’t. “Come back now, ya heuh?”
Sonic wants you to know that over 5 million of their customers’ credit card information has been stolen and they are very upset about that, but not to the point to offer you a free hot dog while you are still getting hacked. Please, no cash. That cannot be hacked. Sonic prefers that you use credit/debit cards; the better to continue to get hacked, suckers!
Whole Foods, now owned by AMAZON, also known as AMAZING wants you to know that it has “recently received information regarding unauthorized access of payment card information” and that this was caused by some sort of flaw, but not to worry, it is sure to happen only a few more times. Meanwhile, enjoy your Whole Foods-Amazon-Amazing experience while getting hacked and they appreciate your business. Oh, and no returns! You will be banned, if you return the product! Tsk! Tsk!
Gamestop confirmed a data breach in April of last year for customers who shopped online. Names, addresses and credit card information were all affected but please, keep playing video games. They will be a welcome distraction from your identity theft issues. Just play all day until the power company turns the lights out because a hacker has emptied your bank account and maxed out your credit cards. Then go to Gamestop and plug your video game into one of their sockets and when they call the cops on you, see if the jail will allow you to use one of their computers to tell us how much sympathy you received from the folks at Gamestop. Happy playing! And no, Gamestop will not bail you out of jail. Don’t even think it! It’s all a game to them!
Arby’s wants you to know that in addition to them having “The Meats,” they also had a data breach last year that affected over 355,000 credit/debit card users thanks to malware which allowed hackers unauthorized access to your credit/debit card information. Arby’s would also like to say that for those customers who used cash to pay for their “mush between buns,” you were NOT affected. But next time, please pay with a credit/debit card so that they can increase the number of customers who are affected by data breaches because stores are now vying for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the company with the most data breaches in one year. It is going to be a tight race to the top, folks! I am going to get some popcorn and a tall flute of ice cold champagne and watch this ‘Olympic’ style race. You betcha!
Also, a note of interest here, Kroger Foods and VISA are locked in a fierce battle!
Kroger will stop accepting Visa cards at some of its locations later this month – the latest salvo in an escalating war between the nation’s biggest grocery store chain and the biggest credit card company.
The ban on Visa comes in a battle between the supermarket chain and the credit card company over the “swipe” fees Kroger pays the company to allow credit card purchases. Bloomberg reports Kroger pays about $90 billion in credit card processing fees each year.
The Visa ban might expand beyond the Foods Co. stores and into other stores under the parent company if it doesn’t reach a deal with Visa.
WOW! I did NOT see that coming! Kroger just might not accept your Visa credit/debit cards if Visa doesn’t get with the program that Kroger is in business to make money as well. Who does Visa think they are, making billions off Kroger in CREDIT CARD PROCESSING FEES EACH YEAR? $90 billion is nothing to sneeze at. For god’s sake, Visa has been putting the squeeze on Kroger for too long and damn it, that stops now!
I am going to recommend to Kroger, some Mafia hit men that I know who could possibly set things right. They’ll fix those folks over at Visa who think they should be top dog and rake in the dough while leaving Kroger in the dust.
Kroger, you go with your bad self! I am behind you one hundred and fifty percent because I PAY WITH CASH!
So, there you have it folks! Clash of cards vs cash! If you think for one second that those stores listed are the ONLY stores impacted, put down whatever it is you are smoking, clear your head and get real! You have only yourselves to blame because you pick up whatever is put down in front of you without ever thinking about what could happen. You willingly gave up cash for the ‘convenience’ of that credit/debit card and now that we are ALL FICO scores and credit reports, thanks to the stores we shop at not being able to protect credit/debit card information, millions of people are at risk for false information on their credit reports and identity theft. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that it is easy to clear up false information on your credit report. You can do some research and find people who are still reeling from identity theft even after having called in attorneys to help them.
Meanwhile, continue to pass that plastic over and you will continue to get hacked both in-store and online because you refuse to learn and apparently being stupid is a goal that many of you have obtained with relish. No one told you that a stupid fool and his/her money are soon parted? Well, now you know!
Margaret Kimberley is, once again, saying what I have been saying ALL along.
Of course Black Agenda Report utilizes social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to communicate with readers. Any individual or organization who needs to connect with large groups of people does so as well. But our adversaries know that too and have embarked on unprecedented efforts to diminish black and left voices or silence them altogether. The change was announced quite publicly in November 2016 when the Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post presented the infamous Propornotlist. This anonymous group claimed that some 200 sites, including Black Agenda Report, were susceptible to Russian propaganda, hence the propaganda or not label.
Social media is dangerous precisely because we use it voluntarily. We voluntarily provide personal information to strangers at Facebook, which is seen as harmless and even benign. But Facebook recently decided that planned demonstrations against white supremacists in Washington were created on orders from the Kremlin and removed their information from the site which everyone uses to promote their activity.
The dystopian world of the novel 1984 is here but in an even worse way than Orwell imagined. In his imagination Big Brother interposed himself into the lives of ordinary people. But in 2018 the people are giving their enemies information that may be used to harm them. Humans are loathe to go backwards but that is what we must start considering. We may well have to time travel to the days of rotary phones and pieces of paper. Otherwise we are giving our enemies ammunition that they will surely use.
Telling ALL your business on Facebook and tweeting where you are going to be on Twitter and using YouTube to post videos from your home would be great if we had any rights left, but we don’t. The government can come and yank you up out of your chair and haul you away, detain you indefinitely and not ever give you a reason why. Just ask those who are still detained in Guantanamo and in secret facilities stationed all across this planet.
As Margaret Kimberley said, “people are giving their enemies information that may be used to harm them and any individual or organization who needs to connect with large groups of people does so as well. But our adversaries know that too and have embarked on unprecedented efforts to diminish black and left voices or silence them altogether.”
And though I am not on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform, I also know that what I post on WordPress is and can be used against me at any time. However, with that having been said, I have used this platform to try and discourage people from relying on the very tools we have been relying on in order to pass information back and forth because at least by limiting ourselves as much as possible, we make it harder for so-called ‘Big Brother’ to know our every move. For instance, why do you think I have posted multiple times, the need to use cash instead of opting for that credit/debit card? It is to limit to some extent, our purchase history to those who are targeting us for surveillance. At least with cash, they cannot trace everything we buy, but they most certainly can with credit/debit cards and also, cash cannot be hacked, credit/debit cards are still being hacked even with the chip that’s been newly installed in some of them.
Also, don’t forget that Facebook has allowed third parties to make use of your information without your knowledge and you have been targeted for certain ads based on the information you supplied to Facebook. Many of you have ditched your landline phones and instead opted for smartphones which are touted at every opportunity for a reason; the reason being that every single tap of that phone sends information about you to spy central. The NSA, The CIA, The FBI and god only knows what other governmental agency is gathering data on us to be used against us in case we ever were to get our act together and attempt to beat back against those who are our oppressors. Because make no mistake, they are watching everything we do because there are more of us than there are of them and they are well aware of that fact. Why do you think the police have been told to kill and they will never be found guilty? Because they are the line of defense between us and our oppressors. I would not trust a cop as far as I could throw him/her since they have already sided with those who oppress us all.
There is a reason that we are constantly bombarded with Russia is behind this and Russia did that because then they can claim that our sites are actually controlled by Russian agents and that comments are made by Russian bots and so shut that shit down. Dissent is to be kept in check because an awakened population is a dangerous population. Keep the sheeple distracted and hypnotized and they are unaware of how fucked they are. As long as the smartphones are working and people are playing on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter and sharing photos on Instagram and purchasing upgraded smartphones, all is well. But the minute that shit ceases, there will be hell to pay because then the ‘powers that be’ know that the oppressed people of this world have awakened and are not going to sit still for being spoon fed fake ass employment numbers, false economic figures and they will figure out that they are being fed shit and told it’s caviar.
Go back to landline phones before they are completely phased out. I would suggest that ‘enter the carrier pigeons, but I just read that pigeons are dying out. So, there goes that avenue. However, don’t forget that before the previous few decades, people did manage to come together in massive protests. The Civil Rights Movement is proof of that, the Montgomery Bus Boycott is proof of that. Black people know the deal and we have been trying to teach it to whites since, forever. Even if you have to read back through history as to how people communicated with one another, do that if you can’t remember. But it is essential that we pull back from these so-called ‘social media’ platforms that were designed to spy on us and go back to the basics. It is essential that we ditch this new technology that has hijacked our lives. What serious need have you for Alexa and Siri? It is not too late yet, but we are getting there and I wouldn’t fight against going back if I were you. Believe me, those who pull the strings of the puppet politicians all across this planet do not have our best interest at heart. Just look around. Can’t you tell? From Amazon workers who have to piss in containers in order not to miss deadlines to get your order shipped to you, from Apple product makers overseas who would rather jump out of an 8th story window and commit suicide than continue under horrid working conditions to Walmart workers who have to apply for food stamps to feed their children and Medicaid to get them health care to workers at Disney World and Disney Land who have to live in motels because they don’t make enough to rent even a studio apartment or a room in a rooming house; those people are being shitted on and those of us who are using Apple products, who are shopping at Walmart, who are purchasing everything online from Amazon, who are running to Disney World and Disney Land, are complicit in what the ‘elites’ are doing to those who are in the same predicament that each and every one of us will soon be in. You had better recognize and get with the program that what is happening to them, we are not immune to it happening to us.
We once had sustainable communities where we looked out for one another. We don’t have that anymore. We don’t know who our neighbor is, but yet, we are chatting via Facebook live with someone clear across the planet. What can they do for us when the shit is hitting the fan in our neighborhood? Not a damn thing. Put those overpriced products of distraction down and recognize what is important and what is important is our REAL relationship with the people we live around. Those relationships are what will matter. Do all you can to preserve them. Help your neighbor when you can and you will find that the way things used to be before the advent of the internet, social media and smartphones was the better way. Technology is not our friend and I hope that we will realize this before it is too late.
And so here it comes!
The other day at Dig Inn, a just-opened lunch spot on Broadway and 38th Street in Midtown Manhattan, Shania Bryant committed a consumer faux pas. She placed her order for chicken and brown rice and yams, and when she got to the register, she held out a $50 bill.
“Sorry,” the cashier told her. “We don’t take cash.” Not, “We don’t take $50s.” No cash. Period.
“What?” Ms. Bryant asked.
The cashier patiently explained. Credit and debit cards were fine, as was the easy-to-download Dig Inn phone app. But the almighty dollar was powerless.
“I’ve never experienced that before,” said Ms. Bryant, 20, an assistant to a designer. “I guess we’re in new times.”
Why do we always allow ourselves to be pushed around? For the life of me, I cannot understand why we go for this mess time and time again. Why we let some shopkeeper tell us how we are going to pay them. Why we allow ourselves to be prodded into giving up more and more of what few freedoms we have left; the freedom to pay with cash as opposed to an app on a phone or with a credit/debit card.
I guess you’ve forgotten how easy it is for hackers to hack into store point-of-sales transactions since you are now ignoring the fact that there have been massive data breaches at many stores we all shop at; Kmart, JC Penney, Target, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Michael’s, Home Depot and don’t forget Experian’s T-Mobile data breach, UPS and even healthcare companies, banks, government agencies and credit bureaus have been breached as was the case with Anthem, Premera Blue Cross, Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield, UCLA Health System, Excellus Blue Cross, JP Morgan’s customers, Ebay users, 21.5 million people who’d had a government background check, Sony employees were hacked and have we forgotten about the Ashley Madison hack and the list is endless and yet companies are refusing to accept cash payments even after knowing the extent of data breaches at stores and damn near everywhere else.
Have you never guessed why the use of credit/debit cards is touted everywhere? It is because every transaction is recorded, just as our phone calls are recorded and our keystrokes are recorded and our photo is recorded every single time we are out on the street, walking or driving. We are even issued tickets based on a recording of our license plate thanks to red light cameras and speed cameras that are pro-ticket because there have been lawsuits challenging the fact that tickets are issued not because people did anything wrong but because this puts more money into the coffers of the city that is promoting these types of cameras and putting money into the coffers of the companies that make these traffic cameras go off before the light has even turned red. The acceptance of this mass surveillance by us has led to the massive erosion of the few rights we have left, such as the right to pay for our purchases by any means at our disposal; i.e., credit/debit cards, gift cards or cash.
Why is it you have no problem aiding and abetting in the continued deprivation of your rights by patronizing instead of boycotting businesses that tell you how you are going to pay them? How many times do you have to get hacked to understand that you don’t need a credit/debit card or an app to pay for a sandwich? And don’t even think that just because you have a chip on your credit/debit card that you are secure when you make a payment using that method because it is just as ‘hackable’ as the chipless card. Am I suggesting that you walk around with hundreds of dollars on your person at all times? No, but at one point, people did and we never heard of excessive muggings. I have carried stacks of money on me and I have never lost a dime. I have, however, had money stolen from off my credit/debit cards.
Case in point. I was at a restaurant and I paid for my meal with a card and gave the waitress her tip in cash. Now, I am one to check on what is going on with regards to the charges on my cards and so the next day, I called to check on the status of my card. Sure enough, the restaurant had added an additional charge to my card. I went back to the restaurant to inquire and guess what. The waitress did not think that I had tipped her enough and so she added an additional amount and charged it to my card. I decided right then and there that I would never pay for anything at a restaurant with a card, ever again and I have not. If I had paid with cash, could she have added on an additional charge? Absolutely not.
Businesses count on people being too busy or distracted to check on their receipts, the balances on their cards, the transactions on their cards and they are making an additional killing off of us because either our kids are screaming to the rafters or we just got off from work and so we’re in a hurry to get home and get dinner on the table or we’re rushed for another reason. If a business will not accept cash from you, then they don’t deserve your business. It is way past time that you fought back against businesses or corporations telling you how to spend your money, what to spend your money on, where to spend your money, and now they are telling you that you cannot pay for your purchases in cash. I truly hope that you will nip this in the bud before we get any further “into new times” because believe me, you will regret this. If cash was acceptable yesterday, than by God, it should be acceptable today.
This mass surveillance state has gone too far as it is and the sad fact is that payment in the form of cash is about the only holdout left. Those purchases cannot be traced, not unless you have signed up for a store discount card and every single time you make a purchase, in order to get an item on discount, you must first pass that store discount card to the cashier and then make your payment.
Food Lion has an MVP card and there can be no anonymity about it. The store insists that the only way to get their MVP card in order to get store discounted items is to fill out a form on a kiosk and they will mail you the MVP card. Hell! Going to the grocery store now is like going to the Division of Motor Vehicles because nowadays, our licenses are mailed to us and now a half-ass store like Food Lion is insisting that it has the right to gather information about you first in order to mail you a discount card so that you can get ten cents off a bag of potatoes? Where will this end? When we’re all standing at the register paying for our items by having a robot scan our hand for the barcode payment stamp on it?
And what about those of us who don’t use smartphones and so we cannot pay using an app on a non-existent phone? Call me the last of the dinosaurs, but I insist on a landline phone. Those of you who ditched your landline phones for smartphones may think it convenient now, but once when a tornado blew through a town I was living in, the only thing left working was my landline phone. Tell me, how will you power up your smartphone when the electricity is out? How do you call for help? You, with your demand for smartphones and your contempt for landlines have caused those of us with landlines much anguish because word is, companies are going to phase out landlines. So, because you are too stupid to see beyond today and what you think is convenience will doom us all. Those of you who will simply pull out that smartphone and pay for your sandwich with an app because the deli refuses to take cash are dooming us all because we will go down with you.
I have always said, “If I don’t stand for something, I’ll fall for anything!” ‘They’ will have to drag me kicking and screaming into a ‘cashless society’ and apparently, I will be the last holdout, non-conformist, that I am!