Why are we so vulnerable? We are becoming a nation of sitting ducks waiting to be plucked. Even if Americans are easy marks does that make saving us from ourselves a job for the Federal Government? We should be smart enough not to burn our hands on the stove.
Saving ourselves isn’t about terrorism, an international cyberattack, or catastrophic global warming. It’s about not being stupid. When we are smarter Big Brother doesn’t have to intervene.
When government steps in, there is a cost. Washington has better things to spend our money on.
Justice Department saves us from phony IRS calls
There has been a lot of controversy focused on the Department of Justice, but the agency also does good work. Part of its job includes saving us from ourselves.
If you hate being transferred to an overseas call center you probably hate it even more when a call with India ends up costing you money because you are too gullible.
Recent Justice Department indictments of individuals who bilked “tens of thousands”1 with threatening IRS collection calls show how little thought we give to handing over our trust. All it takes is a threatening caller masquerading as a government agency demanding money.
If Uncle Sam wants your money he knows how and where to find you. Of course, if the IRS gave this one a try we might not have such an enormous tax gap.
Please keep your naked pictures off the Internet
The Internet can be an ugly, dark place. Ransomware, viruses, phishing schemes, and identity theft lie in wait for the unsuspecting.
Revenge porn is a prime example of the bad things that the Internet makes easy.
A December 2015 case involved defendants snagged by the FBI for using comprising pictures taken from hacked email accounts.2 That’s not a hard thing to protect yourself from. Just keep your naked pictures to yourself or better yet, don’t take them at all. This sort of thing has a way of becoming public. Just ask your kids. We hear news reports all the time about teenagers getting in trouble for sexting.
After our money has been stolen and our naked pictures spread around, it’s time for a breather.
Let’s go shopping.
Real stuff costs lots of money
The Cubs World Series win is already old business. So are the people who bought counterfeit tickets.
Fake goods are big business. Sports fans can be suckers for phony merchandise. Homeland Security nabbed fakes with a value of $1.3 billion in 20153 as part of its role in saving us from ourselves:
Large sporting events such as the NBA finals are prime targets for counterfeiters, many of whom travel the country with the sole intention of scamming unwitting sports fans. HSI regularly teams up with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement during significant sporting events like the playoffs – and most recently at Super Bowl 50 in the Bay Area.4
Counterfeit goods may be hard to spot, but it’s not that difficult to find the real thing unless you don’t want to spend money. If you can only afford knock-off prices your money should stay in the bank.
Illegal foreigners have to be saved, too
It’s easier to be cheated when you don’t want everyone to know what you want.
Like any other illegal activity, America’s overwhelming immigration problem means there is money to be made. Illegals are protected from those who try to profit from their status, whether that means employers paying substandard wages to illegal workers or fraudsters with false identities for sale.
ICE found that illegals will pay a lot of money to stay here:
According to court documents, Smirnoff and the two women told prospective clients they operated a consulting firm called ABC Flex, which purported to offer “legal support” to foreign nationals wanting to obtain immigration benefits that would enable them to stay in the U.S. For fees as high as $8,000, the services offered by the defendants allegedly included creating phony employment visas, which they told clients were genuine.5
The undocumented steal from U.S. citizens every day, whether that means sending their kids to school or working under a fraudulent Social Security Number. Ironically, the Federal Government is thrust into the role of protecting illegals from fraud. Taxpayers pay for this service and we also pay for immigration enforcement. How much sense does that make?
Saving us from our failure to succeed
The myth that part of the Federal Government’s job is make sure Americans are successful has turned into a fact, thanks in large part to Democrats who see this falsehood as an opportunity to force employers to spend more money so the party can take credit. Minimum wage laws, paid leave requirements, health care regulations, sexual preference guidelines, and efforts to pass wage insurance are all ways of saving us from ourselves. The fact that some people need help is a ready excuse to raise the bar ever higher.
Sometimes that bar gets raised unreasonably high and only government benefits.
Saving us from ourselves or from government?
We can be victims of fraud through no fault of our own, unless you include our decisions on who to vote for. Government has its own unique ways to defraud us. Most of them are perfectly legal, like lying about the benefits of legislation or exaggerating threats.
There are times when the Federal Government needs to step in on our behalf, such as the recent corruption case involving a Chicago transportation official who received over $600,000 in bribes for red light camera contracts:6
From the time Redflex received the contract in 2003 until Bills retired in 2011, evidence showed that the transportation official used his influence to expand Redflex’s business in Chicago. That resulted in millions of dollars in contracts for the installation of hundreds of red-light cameras. Redflex was enriched—and the company made sure Bills was as well.7
Chicago was enriched by these cameras too, as well as the myriad fines, fees, charges, assessments, tax hikes, and other ways city government extracts more and more cash from taxpayers. Residents get burned at both ends.
Hint: when you live in a city like Chicago or a state like Illinois and it’s obvious things aren’t working, vote for new people. Democrats are entrenched here. Certainly there are a few voters who aren’t standing around with their hands out?
Even if there was no corruption, we would still find ways to defraud ourselves. Sometimes we go out of our way to get into trouble.
It’s not that hard to stay safe, but it’s a lot easier to rely on the government to save us.