Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Big Brother thinks I made a Suspicious Transaction

Am I on the terrorist watch list? I just went to get a couple of money orders this morning at WalMart. Because the total was $1000 I had to show ID. I questioned this and the clerk showed me a framed notice regarding cash transactions and the Patriotic Act. Has anyone really read what this piece of legislation has done to our freedom? It didn't really bother me but it started me thinking about this. I have gotten a lot of money orders there. I pay my rent this way. Funny, this was the first time I was asked for ID. As far as I know I am not on any terrorist watch list. Due to the fact, according to the Patriot Act, money order transactions totaling $1000 may be considered suspicious. So what happens if I go one day and get a $500 money order and another one the next day? Am I funding a terrorist group? No I am paying my rent. On the other hand I could be sending the money to a terror group. What's funny, it seems to be who is the clerk, the mood they are in, how busy the store is and so on, because most of the time no one asks for ID. Surely the government has more important things to do with their time. If the American public were to actually read the Patriot Act, they might be concerned at how much the governemt is sticking their nose in our private business. I have heard some of our elected officials say this act is taking away our freedom gradually and that most people blindly agree with it. I dont. I dont like Big Brother watching my every move. Slowly we are being eased into a watchdog state and we are allowing them to do this in the name of freedom. We had better start paying attention before we lose too much.

5 comments:

S said...

I hate it when one place/person asks for ID but the next doesn't. Seems to me, either all or none. IMHO, I'd rather be safe than sorry because if we get too comfortable again.......

cube said...

I'm of 2 minds about this. Of course I don't want to give up my personal freedom, but on the other hand, we have to stop the islamofascist threat. Look at it this way, you still got your money orders, it was just a little hassle. If the islamofascists win, your money orders won't matter. You won't even have a head on your shoulders. It's that black & white for me.

jafer said...

It is a funny thing to happen... we don't have it quite that way here in Canada.

However, with that said, we do have some strange practices on the phone.

I have called up the cable company because I want to find out exactly how much my bill is, or I wanted to see about order a new service.

They go through this whole ordeal with me about my name, my address, my secret password, my firstborn's middle name, yada yada, exaggeration but truth in what they want to know from me.

At one point I asked them if they thought a stranger was going to call up to order me some new services on my account and pay my bill. But of course I got the usual, just doing my job stuff.

Pauly said...

Being in the financial industry, I know what the USA PATRIOT act is designed to do. Even though it's a pain, especially for those of us who handle large transactions daily, the purpose regarding your money order transactions really is to help circumvent money-laundering activities. Money orders were one of the easiest ways people used (and probably still do to an extent) to hide dirty money.
Larger transactions of cash are broken into many smaller ones, and deposited in accounts of "shell" companies, then redistributed through seemingly legitimate means into criminal hands.
It's a racket, and largely hindered by the measures used such as the one you described. It's set up mainly as a paper-trail, and could be used to identify multiple transactions of smaller amounts. Suspicious activity is caught mainly by computer programs that are set up to look for stuff like that. So, if you were the type to say, make 10 $1000 transactions in 10 days, at the same location, chances are, you'd be flagged as "suspicious."
Beleive me though, your $1000 transaction of cash is not what the USA PATRIOT Act is looking for. Big Brother didn't even stir from your transaction, and you're not in any danger of having a visit from the FBI, CSI, NCIS, or the PGA. But if you start seeing black helicopters...

By the way, did you know USA PATRIOT is an acronym for `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'?
And, yes, I've read it. Click here if you want to read it...

Jessey said...

There are lots of things that you have to present ID to buy, alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, cold medicine...etc etc.

You have to look at it in the larger picture. What freedoms did you sacrifice by displaying valid identification to a person who works at Wal-Mart. On the other hand, someone engaged in criminal activities may be dissuaded from doing so if they know they will be identified prior to their transaction.
I'll take less crime if all I have to do is flash my cute drivers license.
I mean, if you want to get nuts, why even GET a drivers license at all? Or a grocery store discount card, or money orders or a bank account. Live off of cash from your mattress.