Monday, June 20, 2022

How Wall Street is about to implode the housing market

The single family home market is flying off a cliff.  Again.

This is part 2 of a 2 part article.  Be sure to read part 1, published in 2017!

Five years ago I wrote an article predicting new nonsense in the housing market.  It had taken less than a decade after the 2008 mortgage disaster for the gang on Wall Street to regroup and get drunk enough to go back after it with a vengeance.  The result is a coming perfect storm no one could have written.


Thelma is the mortgage industry.  Louise is the market for homes.


What I had not anticipated in the 2017 writing, was that the industry made up of corporate buyers of detached single family residences would find ways to keep their antics from being outed by the standard indicators, such as filed evictions and foreclosures, and would create new financing vehicles to allow individual, proxy "investors" to be their fronts in buying more and more rental properties.  Let's review the game in a nutshell.

MONEY IS LOOSER THAN EVER


After the 2008 crash, single family residences were pushed by Wall Street geniuses into asset class status on Wall Street.  This made unprecedented institutional money available to purchase homes directly, not just packages of mortgages on them, almost overnight.

Next, new institutions bought up entire defunct neighborhoods, not to sell them, but to rent them out, as I described in 2017.

Using the asset class holdings, these companies then packaged up the predicted future rental income of those properties, and sold that future income on Wall Street for big, up-front cash.  Brokerages began making a fortune in fees.

The companies then bought more homes with the cash, and repeated the process until they ran out of defunct neighborhoods to buy.  

The companies then began buying up individual homes to satisfy their appetite and need to invest massive amounts of cash that the profitable Wall Street transactions created.  These homes were also rented.

Homes got scarce, so the companies started 'We'll buy your home, don't bother to list it' marketing campaigns directly to potential sellers, looking to purchase standard tract home models in areas with predictable employment and residents unable or unlikely to buy homes.  Prices started escalating.  Even fewer homes were available to fill the Wall Street appetite. 

Rents began to be dummied-up to create more income anticipation to inflate the securities generated.  Rental contracts have no underwriting regulations or oversight, so it is easy to have a renter sign a contract that appears to generate more rent than it actually does, simply by allowing return favors to that renter.  Renter blogs feature these topics often.

WALL STREET IS MORE CROOKED THAN EVER


The rating companies started rating the single family residence rent-backet securities, based on everything except the rents.  This brought in more institutional investors. The huge appetite for houses, which are effectively removed from the market, never to be re-sold, had to be satisfied.

The companies started using the asset class status of houses to create a new type of mortgage product, designed only for individuals buying rental properties.  Where such rules used to be based on FHNMA guidelines limiting the number of rentals one person could finance (it was generally four rental houses before 2008), those standards were scrapped.  

The result was a mortgage product, often called a Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) loan, based entirely on the expected rent from a house, with almost nothing to do with the borrower's other qualifications - they often don't even pull a credit report, and allow you apply and borrow with no other income, even in a company name.  

A product description from the website of JMAC Lending as of 6/2022. 
No job required, scant credit, no income.  They basically finance the house despite borrower


Once again we see borrowers who are fodder for Wall Street, getting loans at twice the standard interest if they could fog a mirror and find house and a renter.  Suddenly your barista from 3 years ago showed up with 30, 40, even over 100 loans, buying up more and more homes to rent. They became Instagram millionaires and YouTube gurus as they bragged about the rents they collected and offered seminars.

Rents increased, to try to cover the underlying Wall Street debts.  This sent the standards of rent underwriting through the roof.  Where once a loan underwriter would consider rent acceptable at the equivalent of one week's pay, now it was just fine at half your salary.  

Naturally, evictions started to escalate.  With each one came a need to generate more from the standing assets. The companies have thus mastered making "cash for keys" deals to exit the tenants without eviction, as not to draw attention or negative statistics.  


"CASH BUYERS" ARE NOT CASH BUYERS


The new breed of "landlord" could be anticipated to default on large portfolios of home loans, so a new methodology was instituted.  Rather than the lender foreclosing on the home, they would have the borrower hold or transfer the title of the home to a Single Purpose Vehicle (typically a trust or LLC) to hold title to the houses. Sometimes they even buy the home for the "investor," titling it in the SPV in lieu of financing, which looks like a cash offer.  It isn't, it's just that the financing is hidden on Wall Street.  

This is done not only with landlords but with owner-occupied home owners looking for a way to sell out and take profits, while being able to afford a new place.  New Wall Street-backed facilitators do it all for them under a company or trust.  These individuals look like cash buyers.  They don't actually have to have a dime.

An actual explanation page from a facilitator as of 6/22


HOW TO HIDE THE BUYERS, EVICTIONS, AND FORECLOSURES


Instead of filing foreclosure on the houses, which is a very public and closely measured statistic, the companies now just privately foreclose on the SPV's themselves, quietly taking over the asset positions and not filing any foreclosures in the neighborhoods or courthouses.  No posted notices, no auctions, nice and quiet.  

Wannabe landlords or fantasy buyers can thus be put out, without ownership change in the property.  There is no transfer tax on the property, no realtor costs, no appraisals, no escrow, no property foreclosure.  Even the renters don't know title to their residence has changed hands.  The companies  obtain entire portfolios from former Tiktok gurus, for less then buying them through traditional means in public, without any notices in the papers or running up foreclosure stats.  Then they sell the masked interest in the properties again, to more newly minted "investors" from "secret foreclosure lists" and the like, and keep the Ponzi scheme going.

Fronting the process with 'barista-turned-investor' Instagram experts and individual 'look-at-us-we-movin-on-up' buyers, masks the institutional investors who actually have control of the properties.  This keeps the official institutional investor numbers in the single family home market down around 2%. It's certainly higher.

But have you noticed that the public has begun losing confidence in the value of homes?  This always happens when the payment on an average home, with a mortgage at 80% of purchase price and an 'A' paper, 30-year fixed rate, is more than the legitimate rent that can be collected on that home.  The values have to be propped up, so the companies have begun buying homes from the public more aggressively, and triggering landlords to do the same, sight unseen, often far above the asking price, and often far above all other bids.  

Homebuyers are often shocked that winning bids can be tens of thousands of dollars over the next highest bid. The companies buying don't care if they overpay substantially for a given house. In fact, its an opportunity, because that one transaction buoys up the sales prices of many other homes they own in that subdivision.  They do it to use the overpriced sale as a comparable, feeding it to the the willfully-blind rating companies to determine the value of these ridiculously inflated portfolios of homes and mortgages.  

In short, they took the mortgage scams of the early 2000's, and removed the limitations. 

Now, it's all about to go 'Thelma and Louise.'

A MASSIVE INVENTORY BUBBLE


The companies instigating this have been burying rental losses in more house purchases and Ponzi hypothecations of fantasy future rents.  It all crashes when the renters stop paying or stop renting, in numbers sufficient to trigger a run on the underlying securities, choking off the ongoing Ponzi purchases, then forcing sales on the houses held.

The question of "a real estate bubble" is only a question of false demand.  If there is artificial demand, as there was in the early 2000's with straw buyers, then it's a bubble. 

With hundreds of thousands of homes owned by these companies, what we have now is unprecedented artificial demand driven, ultimately, by Wall Street appetite for single family residences as fodder for fee-generating hypothecation deals.  There is no shortage of supply for families looking for a home.  There is only a shortage of supply for the credit bro's creating this Wizard of Oz behemoth scam, for fat fees.  Your neighbors are corporations, even when they look like families.   

Next it crashes, and those who perpetrated it blame everyone else, from the President, to realtors, to regulators and regulations, to the renters.  Again.


What's your reaction?


A)  I don't care, just get me more rentals financing

B)  Tell me more


I welcome your comments and related experiences.





 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

NFT ownership structure protects thieves

Seth Green capitulates, pays $260k in ransom to retrieve monkey face, sets ugly precedent



Actor Seth Green's Bored Ape NFT, stolen weeks ago by way of a phishing scam, has been returned to him after he appears to have paid $260,000 ransom. 

See The Original Story


There have been no arrests.  No insurance can be claimed, as it is not even clear if capturing the controlling data of an NFT without paying for it is, in fact, a crime.

Seth's Bored Ape #8398 was ripped off in a phishing scam, just as easily and ridiculously as if it had been his credit card information, by an anonymous party. The thief then apparently sold it to (supposedly) another party less anonymous but who claimed ignorance over the stolen status, who then sold it back to Seth.  Unlike other property, it is as yet apparently not a crime to sell a stolen NFT.  This brings me to my primary observation since the outset of this absurd cartoon caper.

What's wrong with this picture

If Mr. Green's ape were a standard trademark and/or domain name, he wouldn't have lost it, and selling it once duped in a phishing scam would have been a crime.  The fact that this intellectual property could be stolen, anonymously held, re-sold, and sold back to the rightful owner with no apparent repercussions, is owing almost entirely to the fact that the title to Bored Ape #8398 is held in the form of an NFT.

A Licensing Nightmare

In the licensing world, this presents a challenge.  If I am considering licensing intellectual property titled to its owner in the form of an NFT, how do I know the same thing won't happen again?  Licensees could put millions of dollars into promotion of assets, only to have the underlying control shift to someone else, who is not party to that contract and perhaps has no obligation to fulfill the original owner's end of the deal.  Why would I put money into promoting something that it's basically ok to steal?  What if the buyer of the stolen NFT had trademarked it?  The list of questions will go on for years.

Some things never change

It is again apparent that the lawyers will be the ones getting richest from the NFT craze, for years to come.  For now, I'll continue to utilize traditional ownership titling methods, including filing defensible, real trademarks and domain names.

Friday, May 27, 2022

NFT ownership titling method may protect thieves; facilitate scammers

Are legacy brand ownership methods proving more secure than blockchain?


The recent phishing theft of the Seth Green NFTs brings the reality of the dark world of crypto's blockchain technology to the forefront.  



You wanted anonymous ownership?  So did the people looking to steal your stuff. 

Now a thief has stolen a well-known NFT into which significant investment has been made to bolster upcoming production and licensing.  Then the thief re-sold the NFT to what appears to be a third, innocent party.  The thief is in the "ether," so to speak, protected by the very technology that titles the art, and props up its very value.

Three things appear clear at this point:
  1. NFT ownership battles are going to rage in the courts for years before they are settled law;
  2. Lawyers will get richer than owners, and;
  3. Settled law around traditional titled ownership (trademarks, internet domains, etc.) appears to be much more defensible for years to come.
I suspect Seth Green wishes he had utilized standard ownership documentation and protections, after pumping tens of thousands of dollars into promotion of the intellectual property, and missing the opportunity he had secured.  It's value now is certainly not based on its blockchain ownership titling.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Vacation Rental Booking Company Chargeback Scam

How owners of vacation rentals get robbed by booking sites

THE DYNAMICS

The private vacation rental business has grown to gigantic proportions.  Likewise several of the web based companies which offer booking and payment services for owners of such properties.  Among the most popular are Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), Homeaway.com and Vacationrentals.com.  

All of these firms solicit the vacationing public online, with owner-provided photos and information of furnished and outfitted properties available for the vacationer to rent short-term.  The companies also take the booking, contract the ower, sub-contract the renter, collect credit card payments of booking fees, rent and deposits from the renter and disburse funds to the owners.  Of course, the companies keep a healthy cut in between.

Homeaway.com is a major player, which owns VRBO and Vacationrentals.com.  All three of these use one company to handle all payment transactions - Yapstone.com.  

THE SCAM

Recently property owners have seen an uptick in renters who spend time at their properties, then deny they ever did any such thing and charge back the payment made to rent the property, by denying it to their credit card issuer.  This puts then puts Yapstone in charge of dealing with contesting the case, as they act as the defacto merchant account for the property owner.

It's not too difficult to document that a renter stayed at such a property.  They execute an online agreement which provides their IP address.  They communicate online with the owner for access to the property by either keys or code locks.  Often coded locks on vacation rentals record when they arrive and depart.  They often text or email confirmations of arrival and departure, etc.  But recently, a new game appears to be afoot.

Renters are denying legitimacy of vacation rental charges to the booking companies, which pass it off to Yapstone.  Yapstone then contacts the property owner to request evidence of communications, etc. But even when the owners provide this, Yapstone has gone on to request such things as "wet signatures" and "copies of identification" of the renters.  Not only are such items not collected and not necessary to validate payment, but they are not collected by Yapstone itself when it collects the payment, and are not provided by Yapstone to the property owner from whom they demand it in order to protect the payment collected.  Yes, they actually require signatures that they themselves waived.

Owners are being charged back the credit card charges based on not being able to provide the evidence Yapstone itself fails to collect.  Further, the buyer does not contract the renter directly. Instead, the renter is contracted by Yapstone's partner, the online booking companies themselves. These companies bring the renter to the owner, not the other way around. Because the renter's agreement is not with the owner but with the online rental agency, the owner has no recourse which can be executed directly against the renter.  

Those property owners who suffer chargebacks from Yapstone have no way of knowing if Yapstone actually got paid, as the property owner is not privy to the credit card information collected by Yapstone, nor are they entitled to the information held on the borrower by Homeaway, VRBO or VacationRentals. It is conceivable that Yapstone and/or these booking companies could obtain the charge, without paying the property owner, using the smokescreen of an unverifiable phantom chargeback.

To make matters worse, these booking companies openly and knowingly operate in markets in which they know short term vacation rentals are either illegal, or require extensive licensing which their client owners do not have.  This willful blindness, coupled with the suspicious credit card activity is attracting the attention of class action firms, and as an interstate, online business is likely to do the same with the Justice Dept.

PROTECTING YOURSELF
 
Accepting renters from these services carries risk, no matter how much you document.  You might be able to reduce the risk by getting signed original confirmations of when renters arrive, together with the other verifiables mentioned above.  But even these can simply be ignored, leaving you with no way to effect recourse against a renter who had an agreement not with you the owner, but with the online broker who may not in good faith contest the chargeback.

If you've lost money in this way, get in touch.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Renters likely to fall victims of next Wall Street crash

Big landlords, big financing, big disaster.


SIMPLIFIED ANATOMY OF A COMING CRASH

The basic endeavor:
  1. Large, often publicly traded companies buy up single family tract homes by the hundreds, dominating markets for properties with proximity to certain schools, jobs and other facilities. They then rent to lower-middle class families who are typically unable to buy.
  2. As soon as they purchase the homes, the companies then sell off the future rental income of the homes to Wall Street entities.  These become bonds offered  to investors in various portfolios called tranches, after having them rated by big rating agencies.  The rating agencies offer a supposedly reliable third party opinion of the likelihood of performance of the bonds.
  3. Companies use the advanced funds generated to buy more homes, repeating the process with more and more cash to work with.
  4. They repeat the process, with portfolios growing year by year exponentially.
The dynamics of disaster:

The purchase of the homes was initially in blocks of entire defunct neighborhoods left vacant or unfinished by the last Wall Street mortgage debacle.  Those are all gone.  So now the purchases are in much smaller foreclosure blocks or even single properties, for prices closer to market, or even higher. 

Because the landlord companies obtain from Wall Street the home purchase money as well as an immediate cash payment back to them from selling the future rental income, their motivation to purchase is not true to market.  They are effectively getting what we used to call a "cash-out purchase."  The more properties they buy, the more cash they get. This is causing these home prices to rise above those which families would be willing to pay for the same properties. That's artificial demand, and that's a bubble.

The afflicted areas see a limited diversity of landlords, allowing the companies to set monopolistic rent pricing and also less desirable (shorter) lease terms.  The companies have raised the rental rates above those of the market.  Because there is virtually no regulation on these rents, there is no one to stop them.  They simply say that this is what the market demands.  But it isn't.  That market is a false bubble they are creating.

Addicted to their cash advances and locking up the local rental markets, the companies are willing to pay more and more for the homes they acquire.  This drives up the price for the real, qualified, home buying public, which is increasingly shocked at the appraisal values driven by the companies' practice.  That's another bubble.

How it's going down twisted:

The companies won't forever be able to find enough houses to buy in order to satisfy their need for advanced Wall Street cash.  They are already beginning to build homes to fill the gap, pretending as always that this is what the market demands.  In reality, it's what their cash flow demands.  The market has little to do with it.

The renters will not continue to sign on to the bad rental agreements, especially with the precarious position of the landlord companies growing ever more desperate, and outed in the press for these shenanigans.  This will cause Wall Street to pressure the companies to produce more rental agreements for the new homes, no matter what.  That's when false rental agreements will be executed and used to get more advances from Wall Street.  That's a scam.

The bonds will default, the credit agencies will again collapse, the companies will go bankrupt and their officers will skate free, probably to serve in the public sector, where some have already run. 

With billions in bond crashes, the single family home market will be dominated by bankrupt companies looking to unload, sending prices plummeting.  Those who bought in competition with the companies on the upswing will be decimated and upside down in their homes, causing a second wave of property abandonment and crash beyond the immediate areas of purchase.  

How to protect yourself:

  • Don't rent a home from any big company
  • Don't buy or rent a home in any market dominated by big landlord companies
  • Don't buy any bonds secured by single family residential rents
You may not be keeping up with the Joneses for now, but you'll be ahead of them later.


READ THE 2022 FOLLOW UP

American Homes 4 Rent
Havenbrook Homes
Allianz SE
Pimco
Colony Starwood Homes
Tom Barrack
Colony Capital
rent secured bonds
rental securitization
rent securitization

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Duty Free Incarceration Scam

This brings "buyer beware" to a new level.


Reports are coming in from consulates around the world of a scam perpetrated by international airport duty free shops and local cops. Here's how it works:

While awaiting your international flight at the gates of an international airport, you go shop in a duty-free store. These are common and popular because they do not charge sales taxes to those immediately leaving the country with the goods.



You buy an expensive perfume, a box of chocolates and a carton of cigarettes. In a duty free shop, the clerk has to take your name and ticket information, as well as your passport number so that you do not have to pay the taxes. In a few airports, they event put your duty free goods in sealed bags on the ramp, so that nothing can be added to the bags before boarding. The problem is in the majority of airports, where they let you walk out carrying your goods.

The scam begins, as is so often the case, with the cashier. She either (a) adds something to your bag, such as an additional bottle of perfume, or a second carton of cigarettes. These items can easily be mistaken for promotional, as duty free stores often engage in this kind of marketing.

Next, after you have left the store and are walking around the gate area or to your flight, the sales clerk calls her accomplice, the local cops. The clerk provides your complete information and says you stole the extra bottle of perfume. The cops have an easy job of finding you at the international terminal, especially when you need your passport to get on the plane.

The finale is when they stop you, and you happily show the receipt for your goods. They then point out that you have a stolen bottle of perfume, and you are held - incarcerated.

 
Document Your Purchases


Next comes the jail hustle, whereby, depending on the location, you are charged for air conditioning, water, a bed, visitors, phone calls, etc. You can easily spend a few thousand dollars before you get free, and even then it may be only by admitting guilt and branding yourself a thief.

This tactic has been reported in parts of east and central Asia, and Central America, but it could happen anywhere a cop can take a bribe.  Because it is so clean, easy, predictable, safe for the conspirators and profitable, I expect it could spread like wildfire.

How to stop this from happening to you:

Don't leave the duty free store unless your receipt matches exactly the items in your bag. If there are legitimate gifts, they must also be identified as such on the receipt.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nevada Registered Agent Scam

A registered agent is simply a company or individual who acts as the resident representative of a corporation or similar entity, in the jurisdiction of incorporation. Until now.

For example, if you reside in California but you are incorporated in Nevada (as is often the case for tax and other reasons), your corporation has a resident agent. It might be your attorney, or it might be any of the many corporate services firms in the registered agency business. Typically, they will charge a fee ranging from $100 to $300 per year to act as Registered Agent.

Legally, there isn't much they have to do. The Registered Agent is just the person or company of record to which anyone can serve papers or formal notices meant for the corporation represented. Being available for such service and passing on such communications, are basically all the R.A. has to do by statute. Most charge the fee and barely provide any service at all. Recently, some have become less than useless. They've begun running a scam.

There are approximately 322,000 corporations resident in the State of Nevada, each paying fees to the various service providers.  Apparently, some R.A. firms have decided they needed a bigger slice of that pie - whether they are actually asked to do it, or not. Their methods are bold and simple.


1. The Clawback

Usually when you incorporate in Nevada, you might use a service which does little else. They tend to charge much less than attorneys, and their focus on the single activity of incorporation often makes them better and more efficient at the task than is a typical law firm. Incorporation firms also act as resident agent for the companies they start, which is the real source of profits and ongoing income. Because a company has to pay a state fee to change its registered agent, the R.A. firm can count on continued business once they have it.

The claw back comes when you have replaced the R.A. firm with your own R.A, as is often the case with people who live in Nevada. Some firms are using the credit card on file for the original incorporation, and charging a registered agent fee and registered agent change fee. They are even filing the forms without any further consent of the corporation. They usually point to their original agreement to act as R.A, typically for the first year or six months, as cover for the scam.

By keeping the credit cards on file, they 'claw back' the R.A. position by billing you later without your consent. Try to cancel, and your bank will likely not believe you, as they see that the firm is in fact the R.A. for the corporation after the billing.  


2. The Renewal Hustle

Some firms are enjoying a tremendous business by calling on corporate officers when their company is close to, or past its due date for filing of the annual list of officers required by the state. These R.A. firms take advantage of the situation by knowing that most of the corporations are small, closely held companies and LLC's controlled by one or two people. They call from a boiler room and use official-sounding names, often with the name of the State or County in the name of their private firm. They tell you that you are "in default" or "in violation" and that you will be fined an additional fee by the state of Nevada unless you renew right away. They quote you a price which includes the renewal (list of officers filing fee) and their own fee. You provide your credit card information, and they have you.

Once they have attain the position of R.A, you can't get away from them without paying another fee to the State of Nevada. This helps keep them in the game. Unless you have someone to perform the service in Nevada for less, why would you change once they've already grabbed your cash? They bank on the confusion, misdirection, state fee structure and inept credit card administration companies.

Please comment with your own experiences regarding registered agent scams, whether in Nevada or any other state or country.  We want to hear about it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bank Instrument Leasing and Letter of Credit Scams

This one has been a long time coming.

If you have paid money to anyone for a service like this, and are still waiting for the desired result, call me in complete confidence.  I can usually help if you move quickly enough.

Bank instrument scams are usually offered to any of the following
  • Those looking for large project financing for which they can not qualify
  • Those in control where large sums of cash are held on deposit (e.g: escrow companies, corporate treasurers, etc)
  • Those who think they may have influence on those who control where large sums are held on deposit, or;
  • Those who hold themselves out to be any kind of financial broker
  • Legitimate investors seeking high returns

Bank instrument leasing scams come in a variety of looks, shapes, sizes and descriptions. The verbiage used to hook the mark into the scam can vary as well. Typical examples include:
  • HYIP or High Yield Investment Programs
  • HYTP or High Yield Trading Programs
  • Platform trading programs
  • MTN or Medium Term Note trading programs
  • Bank instrument trading programs
  • Credit enhancement programs
  • Sinking fund programs

These programs represent the most sophisticated misdirection techniques I have ever seen, as well as what I suspect are the most successful in history.  Virtually all of them involve duping the mark, and often the brokers too, into believing that a balance showing on a statement is something more than what it is.  Various real bank instruments are used for this con.  Some of these instruments are:
  • SWIFT MT799
  • SWIFT MT760
  • Letter of Credit  or LC
  • Standby Letter of Credit
  • Medium Term Banknote
  • Bank Instrument

By some estimates, this scam has existed for 30 years.  I first saw it 15 years ago, and have been approached with more of them every year since.  By now it has developed its own vernacular.  Some of the terms used by the practitioners of these scams are:
  • "Top 25 bank"
  • "Trader"
  • "Platform Trader"
  • "High Yield Investment Program"
  • "Show Money"

The specifics of each of the scams included in this breed is a thick book I've yet to write.  Let's hope it becomes history before I ever have the chance.  I will summarize for your here.

If you have paid any funds whatsoever toward the objective of leasing a bank instrument, you won't see it again.  If you see anything, it is the proceeds of others who bought into the same scam, and a perpetrator paying you to keep you quiet while he does it again.

It's a scam. 

If you have paid funds for such a service, and are getting delay after delay, feel free to reach out to me using the information to the right. 

Don't be embarrassed.  Some very sophisticated people have done the same.  

If there is any potential of getting your funds back, I can help.  Move quickly!



I offer no legal advice and charge no fee.  Nothing herein shall be considered an offer of any legal service whatsoever. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tax Prep Identity Thieves Filed for $4 Million in Tax Refunds Using Names of Living and Dead


“I am probably the single biggest threat to the U.S. government currently living and they don’t even know it.”

“I can do things to the government that will make all these terrorist organizations look like sewing circles.”

- Arizona Tax Preparer



1900 fake tax returns

$4 million in stolen refunds
170 bank accounts
175 different IP addresses
2 guys
1 still at large

Some of us never stop to think about the fact that a tax preparer has all of our critical, personally identifiable information. It's time we took notice.

Read the full story:

Identity Thieves Filed for $4 Million in Tax Refunds Using Names of Living and Dead | Threat Level | Wired.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Uncompetitive RFID Policy Leads to Cottage Industry

The race is on. With the near complete failure of authorities to recognize the security risks inherent in the prolific use of RFID chipping in everything from credit cards to passports, the private sector has found a cottage industry in making up the lapse in attention.

One firm leading the pack is DIFRWear. Founded in 2005, the Company's Mission is "Our mission is to give individuals the ability to maintain privacy and ensure security in a world of insecure contactless devices." Their products are designed to facilitate just that.



We invite other firms to share their approach to RFID protection as well.

How Wall Street is about to implode the housing market

The single family home market is flying off a cliff.  Again. This is part 2 of a 2 part article.  Be sure to read part 1 , published in 2017...