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Chris's Random Ramblings

Tue, 29 Mar 2005 - Money Laundering

Couldn't find my wallet this morning and then realised I had put it through the washing machine again. Not much paper left in there now, and luckily the Pedal Power membership card survived. Am very grateful we use plastic money these days. It seems pretty clean too. Have put my wallet near the air outlet of a 16 way POWER 4 box. Should be dry very soon.

Wed, 13 Aug 2003 - Banking Security There are lot of articles these days about the security of online banking systems, but I wonder if they are any less secure than the everyday branch banking. A few months ago, someone managed to get one of my account numbers, and managed to withdraw about $5000 from the account. They did this not using electronic means, but by merely walking into various branches of the bank, filling out a withdrawl form and signing it with a signature which looked nothing like mine. It appears that the bank never bothered to check the signature, nor ask for further identification. Over a week or so they withdrew amounts ranging from $4 to over a $1000. They also deposited a stolen cheque which they laundered through my account. It was only stopped when I happened to check my account balance online and reported the problem to the bank.

It has taken the bank about 3 months to investigate the problem and return the money to me. Apparently the police managed to get some video footage of the person, so hopefully they'll get caught.

I recently refinanced my some loans with the same bank and went into a branch which I'd never visited before to fix some things up. After mentioning my name and one loan account number I was shown a computer screen with the details of all my other accounts (include account numbers). I managed to update which account loan payments were taken from, my postal address, and close an account without showing any identification. I did have to sign several documents, but given the past experience I don't have much confidence that they'll actually be checked before being processed. It wasn't until I asked for an atm card to be enabled that I was asked for a driver's licence. So it appears that at least this bank has put in place reasonably security checking in electronically related areas, they're extremely lax when it comes to transactions made face to face.

Tue, 29 Jul 2003 - Quelle Surprise! 7:30pm (in flight to Chicage): Sorry sir, but your connecting flight to Austin has already left.

9:15pm (at arrival gate): Your flight hasn't left yet! its boarding now at gate F9

9:20pm (at departure gate): Sorry sir, your flight left half an hour ago

No wonder Chicago airport is such a mess if they can't work out where the planes are. When I left the airport for the hotel an hour or so later the monitors were still saying that my flight was boarding. At least the airline staff were polite. Airport hotels must love these delays so they get to charge exhorbitant fees to people who don't want to sleep in the airport overnight.

United transferred me to an American Airlines flight with a promise that my bags would still go via a united plane, as there's room for my bags on the flight but not me. I'm beginning to think that Paulus's idea of carrying 3 days worth of clothes as carry-on is a good one. I checked in this morning with American without any luggage to check-in, and got the dreaded "SSSS" on my ticket, which I think means you get passed off to the high security check. Hopefully this tag won't follow me for the rest of my flights.

Tue, 24 Jun 2003 - Touch no more The lamp in my touch lamp blew the other night. I picked up a replacement bulb, but unfortunately it appears the "touch circuitry" no longer works and its stuck on permanently. No longer particularly useful as a lamp.