When security goes too far…

… or when the right hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth.

I have an account with Chase. You know, JP Morgan Chase, which used to be known as Chase National Bank. They’ve been pretty good to me and have helped a lot with some particular financial needs over the last couple of years or so.

But the other day, I wanted to do a wire transfer to another account of mine. So I went online, entered the data for the receiving account, and fired off the request.

Email: “Your wire transfer has been cancelled by our security department. Please call us for further details.

Ok, so I call Chase and explain the system. I verify myself with account pins, one-time text messages, and various identifying data. “Oh, it’s because you’ve recently changed your password. I’ve cleared that flag, go ahead and re-submit the request.”

Fine. Request the wire transfer again.

Email: “Your wire transfer has been cancelled by our security department. Please call us for further details.

What the…? OK, I call them and we go through the same rigamarole again. “Sorry, I don’t know what was said during the previous call, but they didn’t identify you properly.” Provide all sorts of information again. “OK, I’ve reset the account. Go ahead and request the transfer again.”

Also: Got a voicemail message and a text message from Chase Fraud Department. “Please call us to clarify some activity on your account.” On a side note, the voice mail was left by someone with a very heavy India accent, leading me to believe this might have been a scammer at work.

Call Fraud Department. The message was legitimate. I am asked for a whole new raft of identifying information, including questions about where I have lived, what cars I have owned, and so forth. I am told all is well. Please submit the request again.

Email: “Your wire transfer has been cancelled by our security department. Please call us for further details.

Shiva H. Vishnu! By this time I’m pulling out my hair. And another text message from the Fraud Department.

Call Chase back, and call the Fraud Department again. Go through the excruciating process of identifying myself for the third time. Everyone decides that it’s because I’m making the request from Florida, and my normal residence is Maine, so the “back office” as they call it is automatically rejecting the transfer because they think it’s fraudulent. By this time I have provided identifying information to Chase five different times.

“You’ll have to go to a local branch to make this transfer.”

Wow. Well, it’s a good thing there are close branches here in Florida where I’m staying for the winter.

To make a long story short, the teller asks me all the same questions again. She has to refer me to someone else in the branch office. Finally someone comes over to help. It takes me about 15 minutes to get her to understand what I’m trying to do and what has happened in the past. She has to get someone else in her branch to approve the transfer request, and she has to call the Fraud Department herself, whereupon in the course of a three-way call I have to provide all my identifying information for the sixth time, perform mathematical operations on my driver’s license number, promise them my firstborn, stand on my head and spit nickels, and tell them that yes, indeed, I would like to make this wire transfer and that no, indeed, the money is not going to Nigeria, but is simply being transferred to another account I own, and Yes, I know the recipient.

At last. The transfer is effectuated.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Banks these days do their very best to protect their clients’ accounts, and fraud is absolutely rampant. Years ago my mother was almost scammed out of $65,000 by a filthy Russian bottom feeder who played the “You’ve won a million dollars, all we need is the taxes and fees” game with her. Being borderline senescent, she sent the money. By a miracle, when I told the bank what was going on, they were able to reverse the transaction (which sent money to an account in Cyprus) before it had been withdrawn, and Mom only lost about $6,000, the amount of the first request (and these skells will keep milking victims for every cent they have as long as the mark keeps sending money.) As a happy footnote, the FBI and the RCMP working together arrested these guys and at least one of them spent a good deal of time in prison. I hope he enjoyed the experience.

So I appreciate the security efforts on behalf of their customers. But in this case, things went beyond the pale, and it should not have taken the better part of a day to get a simple wire transfer effectuated, especially when I was able to properly identify myself to multiple functionaries at Chase, all of whom promised that my problem had now been resolved.

All’s well that ended well, but just reeeee-ing into the void here because the experience was so frustrating.

Cat tax.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

You are not a militia. You have no constitutional right to a gun.

“The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have seen in my lifetime”

Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, PBS Interview in 1991.

 “The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies, the militia, would be maintained for the defense of the state.”

Warren Burger, AP article, 1991

“The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires”

Warren Burger, AP article, 1991

America has a problem with guns. Yes, with guns. Over 45,000 gun deaths in 2020, more than victims of automobile accidents. The right wing wants to blame everything other than the weapons themselves, things like mental illness; other countries have people with mental illness as well, and they have nowhere near the number of firearm deaths that our country racks up every year. It’s the guns, around 400 million of them, more than one for each and every citizen of our nation.

The fact that the 2nd Amendment has been so thoroughly weaponized by the gun lobby and the NRA pretty much means that there is little to no chance it will ever be repealed.

Legislators, particularly Republicans, receive obscene amounts of cash from the gun lobby. According to Market Watch,

Notice the difference in donations to Republicans as compared to Democrats. Looking at the chart above (from 2017), it’s clear that the NRA and associated groups are paying senators to do virtually nothing about gun legislation except sending thoughts and prayers, even when children are slaughtered by the dozen in school shootings.

When cornered about the deaths, Republicans will deflect and delay:

And in the end, nothing gets done, despite the fact that the majority of Americans want stricter gun laws.

The poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households.

AP-NORC poll

But something has to give, and this is what I require from our legislators 1

It’s time. Because doing nothing means that we all agree dead children are an acceptable price to pay for unlimited access to firearms. And it’s not.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


1 There are more things that could be done, but these are an absolute minimum. Things like a ban on assault-style weapons and large magazines, outlawing bump stocks, mandatory background checks and waiting period, among others. Even if you went for the whole enchilada, people would still be able to “exercise their second amendment rights” as they have come to understand them.