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JPMorgan Limits Access to Customer Funds After Target Data Breach – Susanne Posel | Susanne Posel

JPMorgan Limits Access to Customer Funds After Target Data Breach – Susanne Posel | Susanne Posel.

JPMorgan & Chase Co are limiting how much money their customers can spend on a daily basis because of the data breach at Target over the 2013 Back Friday shopping event.

Cash and debit card spending limits are being implemented on 2 million debit card holders because those customers are suspected of having shopped at Target during the time period in question.

JPM is considering issuing new debit cards to those customers who were directly affected by the data breach.

Chase customers will be limited to $100 daily withdrawal from ATMs.

Debit card users will see $200 – $500 daily limits as well as $500 daily purchase limit.

Customers are encouraged to come into their local branch to withdraw more cash if necessary; however that too is limited to $300 per day.

The new rules will take a few weeks for full implementation. With issuing new cards, JPM recommends that “about half of its 5,600 branches in 23 states can issue new cards on the spot for customers who want the limits lifted faster.”

Due to this new change, JPM “decided to open about a third of its branches on Sunday, when they were normally closed, to help affected customers.”

Because an estimated $40 million was allegedly stolen due to the data breach, JPM does not want to take chances with customers – thereby installing controls on customer funds.

Target Corporation has offered in-store shoppers a 10% discount over this past weekend for having their person information stolen.

Ken Perkins, founder of Retail Metrics commented : “Given how deep discounts have been across the retail landscape this holiday season, I don’t know if that moves the needle that much. Twenty percent might have drawn serious interest, but 10 percent? I don’t know.”

Other banks such as Bank of America (BoA) and Citigroup are taking precautions to monitor and control cash flow from customer accounts using the Target incident as justification.

Earlier this week, Target Corporation had a security breach during this year’s Black Friday in which “millions of customer credit and debit card records” were stolen.

Brian Krebs, computer security expert, stated: “I’ve heard from five different people at five different banks, and the banks are being tipped by the card companies. At least two major card issuers [banks] said hundreds of thousands of cards had been compromised, and there are dozens of card issuers, so that adds up to millions of cards.”

This problem “extends to nearly all Target locations nationwide, and involves the theft of data stored on the magnetic stripe of cards used at the stores.”

Krebs explains: “The type of data stolen — also known as track data — allows crooks to create counterfeit cards by encoding the information onto any card with a magnetic stripe. If the thieves also were able to intercept PIN data for debit transactions, they would theoretically be able to reproduce stolen debit cards and use them to withdraw cash from ATMs.”

Analysts have concluded that the breach occurred on Black Friday and continued into the middle of December affecting “an unknown number of Target customers who shopped at the company’s main street stores during that timeframe.”

Target collects data on customers, including:

• Name
• Address
• Date of birth
• Social security number
• Driver’s license number
• Credit card information
• Email address

By installing malware into the system, “or persuaded an unsuspecting employee to click on a malicious link that downloaded malware that gives cybercriminals a foothold into a company’s point-of-sale systems.”

Technology has afforded retailers the ability to track customers through mobile phones, work computers and even while in line at the register.

Holiday shopping is proving to be a massive data mining endeavor with signups for loyalty cards that collect data on customer behavior.

The private information available to retailers from customer loyalty cards can include:

• Zip codes
• Home/employment addresses
• Personal income
• Insurance expiration

Retailers claim that this information derived from monitoring the public can “determine exactly what kind of buyer [the customer] might be and how much [the customer is] willing to pay” for products.

Mailing lists can ensure that retailers can install cookies into customer’s computers to watch their movements online with provisions for ‘relevant pop-up ads” marketed to specified potential customers.

 

My Two Cents – “The Fate of Dollar Hegemony”

My Two Cents – “The Fate of Dollar Hegemony”.

My Two Cents – “The Fate of Dollar Hegemony”

 

12/06/2013

Despite the quiet nature of things lately from a geopolitical standpoint, coupled with the mainstream media’s obsession with new nominal highs in the various paper indexes, there is definitely turbulence below the surface. There have already been a number of thought-provoking articles written regarding the future of dollar hegemony and the purpose of this week’s piece is to hopefully add to the discussion and stimulate some thought.

The first important thing to remember is that unless one has access to credible inside information, most of what we read is speculation, and most of the commentators will readily admit that. I’m going to do the same thing here. Opinions will be clearly noted and facts will be referenced. Despite the abstract sounding nature of the term, ‘dollar hegemony’ is the paradigm that allows America to do what it is currently doing; namely spending money it doesn’t have on things it doesn’t produce (or need). It is the leverage mechanism that is used globally to politely – and sometimes with extreme prejudice – cajole other nations into doing what is in the Anglo-American banking syndicate’s best interests. The fact that the entire paradigm is a complete fabrication without foundation is lost neither on the powerbrokers that perpetrate the scam, nor the parties the scam is perpetrated on.

The main reason the dollar standard, or dollar hegemony, has lasted so long has been mainly been due to a lack of alternatives. Countries who attempted to stray from the dollar were labeled as enemies (remember the ‘axis of evil’?) and contrived wars were launched or economic sanctions were applied until compliance was achieved. That assertion is mostly fact, part opinion, but when it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck you don’t call it a horse.  However, as the wealth has shifted from America to other parts of the world due to our persistent lack of production, coupled with overconsumption and resulting debt load, alternatives to the dollar standard are beginning to show themselves.

The Dollar Standard’s Far-Reaching Effects

So why spend the time discussing this? Does it really matter to the average person? Absolutely. It couldn’t matter more from a financial standpoint. Every financial transaction you engage in as an economic actor rests firmly on this fraudulent paradigm. Without the dollar standard, your credit cards, paper scrip, and bank accounts would buy nothing. Without the dollar standard, your net worth, minus whatever tangibles you happened to own, would drop to zero, with negative equity because your debts would still exist, just not in dollar form.

That is probably one of the hardest things to grasp – the idea of not using the paper dollar. We’ve become so separated in a time manner from the pre-not-so-USFed era that we’ve lost our bearings on what it is like without the paper dollar. How many people are alive that remember what it was like before 1913? Take it another step back – there is not a person alive today that was alive and aware when the banking panic of 1907 took place. The portion of our population that remembers the great depression is dwindling every day and we ignore those people and their testimonies for the most part. We’re so much smarter now than they were back then, aren’t we? I’ve got news for you: those Americans were tougher than 99% of us today, this author included.

Think of feudalism for a minute if you would. I’ve mentioned that previously in other articles and believe that is the direction we’re headed. Let’s face it; America is not ‘rich’ as the quislings on television would have you believe. We’re broke. Sure we have a bunch of stuff, but it is mostly borrowed from others who now have the power over us. In my opinion, America is little more than a nation that is quickly becoming the land of the fee and the home of the debt slave. This is probably where some of you will choose to stop reading and that’s fine. Whether you believe it or not doesn’t make it any less true and ignoring it won’t make it go away. Believe me, I hate that reality as much as you do, but patriotism is about more than just waving flags and singing the Star Spangled Banner. It is also about taking responsibility, tightening the belt, and cleaning up our messes in the hopes of passing along a country better than the one we received.

Geopolitical Moves to End the Dollar Standard – Destruction from Within

So we’ve had this cushy lifestyle, by and large, since the mid 1980s or so. Madison Avenue had figured out how to remove the stigma of debt servitude and the deals had been cut with the Arabs to create the petrodollar (we buy their oil, they buy our junk USGovt bonds). So things were sort of copacetic with one minor problem; we’d started shedding our industry.  See, we cut a deal (my opinion here) with the Chinese to create what I’ll call the WallyWorld dollar. In exchange for unfettered access to the American consumer, who was by then beginning to be armed with credit cards, the Chinese would also become purchasers of our bonds. One of the necessary steps here was to depreciate the dollar to harm American exports and make the imported junk from China more appealing.

Now maybe this wasn’t an explicit treaty or anything like that, but there was a definite trend shift in trade and monetary policy. The 1990s included a bevy of additional ‘free trade’ agreements that did nothing but further the de-industrialization of America and fuel the industrial revolution in China. This period from the mid 1980s through the end of the millennium also featured significant destruction of the USDollar from a domestic price perspective. According to the USGovt’s delusional consumer price index (CPI), prices rose 57% from 1986 through 2000 (a period of 14 years). According to the newly cooked numbers, they’ve risen an additional 36% from 2000 to the present (almost 13 years), which, as many know, has been one of the most notorious inflationary periods in history even if the BLS insists otherwise.
To put it another way, from 1986 to 2013, the dollar lost around 54% of its purchasing power due to the above and sub-equilibrium interest rates to encourage indebtedness. The less the dollar has purchased, the more EVERYONE has borrowed to fill the gap – from the government to the consumer and every entity in between.

Tying this back to the dollar standard, if you’re one of the parties around the world that uses this currency for your international trade, then how do you feel about it losing its purchasing power in such a manner? You probably don’t like it very much. One of the functions of money is to act as a store of value and the USDollar has become like trying to hold sand between your fingers. The harder you squeeze to hang onto it, the more it slips away. The simpletons in academia and government like to pretend that either a) nobody has noticed this annoying trend, and/or b) they don’t really care or feel they can do anything about it, and/or c) because this is America and we’re just entitled to do whatever we please.

But so far, these are all moves that have served to systematically undermine the dollar standard from within. Well, there are some pretty prominent statesman who said the only way this country would fall would be from within. So maybe those old folks weren’t so dumb after all.

Geopolitical Moves to End the Dollar Standard – Destruction from Without

However, the above only represents half the story – and a very abbreviated version of it at that. There have been a whole raft of agreements over the past half dozen years in particular that have sought to undermine the dollar standard. It is pretty simple how it works. If the dollar is the ‘reserve’ currency, then that creates automatic demand for dollars because countries need to keep a given amount (subject to policy changes and economic conditions) for settling their international trades. As the purchasing power of the dollar has decreased this has increased the demand for dollars because countries needed more to purchase the same amount of goods. This is one of the biggest (and perhaps the main one) reasons the ‘fed’ has been able to get away with its inflationary policies without going into Weimar mode. Couple that with military strong-arm tactics and order has been maintained for the most part – up until now.

Conversely, what more and more countries are doing is cutting deals with other countries and settling the transactions in some other currency – or even gold in some cases. These actions that exclude the dollar reduce aggregate demand for dollars and make it harder for the ‘fed’ to hide its inflationary tactics such as QE. Assisting in that cause is the fact that most other central banks are doing the exact same thing; they’re attacking their own currencies to make them cheap to facilitate exports. As if you can’t have a strong currency AND a strong export base. We might get into that another day, but for now it is a race to the bottom. However, China for one is making a power play. Their gold-buying habits have become very well documented. From the article:
“The increased appetite for gold also reflects rising wealth. China’s rural per capita income in the first nine months of the year jumped 12.5% from a year earlier, while urban per capita disposable income rose 9.5%. In April, when the price of gold fell 14% in two days, Chinese media showed images of women clearing shelves in gold shops.”

The actions of the Chinese demonstrate the huge disconnect in thinking between East and West. But it isn’t rural Chinese buying gold that should concern Americans, it is the actions of the central bank and the deals the country has cut with Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, to name a few, that will impact the future of the dollar standard.

Central Bank Gold Buying

As indicated in the article below, Venezuela is set to start selling the Chinese oil priced in Yuan rather than USDollars. The deals to provide the oil were cut several years ago and at the time myself and many others opined that the trades would eventually be settled in Yuan rather than dollars. That pretty much takes Venezuela off America’s bully list. China will protect her interests as Russia did in the case of running to the side of Syria as the US screamed for war a few months back. Oh, by the way, where is all the outrage from our leaders at the alleged chemical weapons attacks? (emphasis on alleged) Stories rise and fall from the news based on political expediency rather than anything else. If you want backup for that assertion, just go and look up some of the stuff that has gone on in places like Liberia and Mali.

“Currency swaps taken individually are not of great importance, but the combined impact is resulting in a transformational change to the world financial system. In the first quarter of 2011, the Chinese renminbi surpassed the Russian ruble in trading volume for the first time. This year, Britain became the first G-7 country to set up an official currency swap line with China.

Venezuela, Sudan and Angola are expected in the near future to sell oil in the yuan. Both Russia and Iran are already using it for oil sales to China. This helped accelerate a new US $85-billion China-Russia oil-and-gas deal that will be transacted in rubles and yuan, not U.S. dollars.”
Note also in the paragraph above the part about Russia and Iran already using the Yuan for oil sales to the Chinese. Remember back to 2006 when Iran was rumored to be on the verge of starting its own oil bourse and selling its oil for Euros as opposed to dollars? That’s about the same time that Iran got put on the hotlist for its ‘nuclear aspirations’. Now, maybe Iran is working towards a nuke and maybe it isn’t, but the fact of the matter remains that there is a disturbing pattern of countries getting put on the Anglo-American hit list anytime they threaten the dollar standard.

These are not new developments though; the except below is from an International Business Times article written back in 2010 where China and Russia agreed to bilaterally dump the USDollar from trade between the two nations. But it gets even richer. Check this out:

“The dollar reserve currency status allows the U.S. to run up high deficits and have its debt be denominated in the U.S. dollar, which in turn enables it to print unlimited dollars and inflate its way out of debt. America, understandably, wants to protect these privileges.

In fact, some allege that the U.S. wants to protect this status so badly that it invaded Iraq because the country began selling oil in euros instead of dollars. Now, the U.S. is allegedly threatening Iran because of the country’s desire to use euros or Russian rubles in oil transactions.”

Russia's Gold Reserves

The bad news in all this for dollar hegemony is that the smaller countries are starting to get the hint. The US won’t (and really can’t) mess with a Chinese-Russian alliance, so if these smaller players want to dump the dollar, all they have to do is align themselves with either or both of those powers, cut a few deals, and let the big boys do the protecting of their interests, which they will.

A buck gets ten this turns into a military conflict at some point in the not too distant future. This is not that type of publication, but there is very good information that backs up the assertion that the Chinese and Russians are arming to the teeth and developing new weaponry specifically aimed at challenging and defeating the US military. Would the world really go to war over a bunch of paper tickets (dollars), and who gets to issue the ticket that everyone uses? Absolutely; not for the paper itself, but for the power it represents. Note also in this entire article, the theme of wealth transfer. America was formerly the richest nation in the world. Granted, we still are rich in many resources, such as coal, timber, and natural gas, but in all likelihood, it will be others, rather than Americans, who end up enjoying the bounty from our former riches. For after all, we’re the ones with the tab and the debtor doesn’t get to make the rules.

If you found this article informative, please consider listening to Andy’s podcast ‘Beat the Street’. It is free of charge and you can visit the show page, listen to shows, subscribe via RSS through Windows Media Player and iTunes, and sign up for the reminder service by clicking here. The podcast deals with similar topics and covers current economic and financial trends in great detail. The show also seeks to empower listeners to be their own advocates by providing information on various ways to navigate through a world that is fraught with risk and the unknown.

Until Next Time,
Andy

 

Andrew W. Sutton, MBA received international honors in the field of Economics in graduate school and is the Chief Market Strategist for Sutton & Associates, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information about the company, its products and services, or contact information, please visit our websitePlease feel free to distribute, copy or otherwise disseminate this information.

 

 

Federal Student Loans Surpass $1 Trillion; Delinquency Rate Soars To All Time High | Zero Hedge

Federal Student Loans Surpass $1 Trillion; Delinquency Rate Soars To All Time High | Zero Hedge.

There is a reason why US consumer revolving (credit card) credit growth is getting lower and lower and lower and at last check posted a mere 0.2% annual increase.

That reason is that as the NY Fed disclosed moments ago, federal student loans officially crossed the $1 trillion level for the first time ever. Notably: the quarterly student loan balance has increased every quarter without fail for the past 10 years!

And just to prove that while credit card balances are plunging due to more stringent bank repayment requirements, this is more than offset by borrowers shifting to student loans, where the delinquency rate on student loans is soaring and has just hit an all time high of 11.83%, an increase of almost 1% compared to last quarter. Even according to just the government lax definition of delinquency, a whopping $120 billion in student loans will be discharged. Thank you Uncle Sam for your epically lax lending standards in a world in
which it is increasingly becoming probably that up to all of the loans will end up in deliquency.

 

 

Thanks to Harper, I Recently Apologized For Being Canadian | Emma Pullman

Thanks to Harper, I Recently Apologized For Being Canadian | Emma Pullman.

This Saturday, Canadians and Americans will gather outside the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis to build a united wall of opposition to pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway climate change.

The event is the first of over 90 confirmed Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communitiesrallies to take place outside of Canada. According to Carolyn Pennisi, the host of Saturday’s event, these aren’t just Canadian issues. “These are not even just North American issues,” she says, “They’re global issues.”

Pennisi is a self-identified “Canadian American” who grew up in Canada and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. Though she’s lived south of the forty-ninth parallel for most of her life, she says she still feels very Canadian in her heart.

Both the Alberta and federal governments have been pushing hard to sell Alberta’s oilsandsin the country her family now call home. In fact, Alberta Premier Alison Redford is in Washington, D.C., this week pushing Alberta’s “responsible energy development and… strong environmental policies” according to a media release from Redford.

Redford and representatives from the Harper government have been lobbying President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. Obama has said he will not approve the project if it increases greenhouse-gas emissions, so Canadian representatives have been arguing KXL won’t increase GHG emissions by driving up bitumen production.Documents obtained from Alberta under Access to Information legislation and released last week by The Globe and Mail dispute this argument.

According to Pennisi, “Our countries are historically friends. But on this issue, Canada’s getting some bad press.”

“I recently apologized for being Canadian, for the first time ever,” admits Pennisi.

“What we keep hearing is Canada is putting in the pipelines and Canada wants to send all this oil down here and Canada this and Canada that… we don’t all want to push our oil on the U.S. Some of us object. But it’s not Canada. It’s just some people in Canada.”

A recent poll from Canada 2020 and the University of Montreal found that a majority of Canadians understand that humans are contributing to global warming and they overwhelmingly believe that the federal government should take the lead on combatting climate change.

In addition to the Keystone XL which would increase total capacity of the pipeline to 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen per day, Enbridge filed plans to Monday to build the $2.6B Sandpiper pipeline project across northern Minnesota. If approved, the project will move 225,000 barrels per day of unconventional oil to Minnesota, and 375,000 barrels to Wisconsin. Pennisi notes there are local groups fighting both projects.

Pennisi is concerned that our government’s massive lobbying efforts to push the oilsands are having a detrimental impact. “I’m concerned that our reputation has started to tarnish. For Canada to start being seen as this big greedy polluter is not good for either country.”

Pennisi has participated in activism before: She once took an overnight bus trip to Nebraska to testify for the Keystone XL hearings. But she’s never hosted an event like this before.

At first Pennisi was anxious about drawing folks out to Saturday’s action, but she’s feeling really encouraged at the response from her community.

“I actually have people rallying around me,” Pennisi said, adding that one man from her daughter’s school said he would try to make it despite it being the Sabbath, and others promised to help spread the word on Facebook.

“It’s happening, and it feels so good to have people in my corner rather than to feel like I’m fighting climate change alone.”

 

Say it often enough and it’s true

Say it often enough and it’s true.

Try this experiment.

Ring up your credit card company at the end of this month. Tell them that you and your spouse can’t seem to reach an agreement about how to allocate your monthly budget.

So in the meantime, you have been forced to shutdown your household… but you hope to be back on track in a few weeks.

Chances are, they won’t take you seriously. Yet for some reason, this has been dismissed as commonplace and benign in the Land of the Free.

Here’s a list of quotes we’ve heard from the telescreen talking heads over the last 24-hours:…

 

Smartphones easily used to skim credit card data – Manitoba – CBC News

Smartphones easily used to skim credit card data – Manitoba – CBC News.

 

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