After a few years in the security business, most people develop “security awareness”, a useful superpower that normal people would call “paranoia”. The Awareness is super helpful in the job, as it allows you to see through most deceptions, frauds and suspicions. It is also time-consuming and energy-draining, but that is part of the job description of super heroes.
The most difficult part of working with The Awareness is that most of the time, we see dangers that are not there. We see the deception, but we cannot grasp the intention. Sometimes Paypal, a rather confusing organization, might send you mails that appear to be from spammers and scammers. We don’t know why they engage in such erratic behaviour, but it is part of our job to keep readers of their digital pamphlets safe.
But this story is not about shady organizations, it is about the greatest fraud in the history of frauds. There is currently no criminal that knows about it. Only the ones with The Awareness might even get a glimpse of it. But before I let you into the secret of The Best Fraud, you need to get into The Awareness.
To reach The Awareness, you need to let go of any trust you have. Trust into your government, trust into the court of law. To reach the necessary power of The Awareness, you need to doubt society itself. Everything happens in bad faith, and the only trust you have is in yourself.
When you have reached the darkness of a trustless world, you might be ready to accept the gift of The Awareness. That is when you start to see patterns. You look at what is in front of you and you know that the world is wrong. With this in mind, you start to look through the pages of this letter you found in your mail box. There was no envelope. But is still says your name on top of it. You do not know who, but someone knows about you. Knows your address. Knows your full name. This might not be unusual, all your neighbours know this. Your employer, your mailman. The organization where you registered to receive that rewards card for your shopping habits.
The paper in your hand is old and faded. Letters from German officials always look like this. Its scent reminds you of depression and bureaucracy, just as expected. You never received anything like this, this is new and terrifying. There are crown symbols and big faded letters on top, like some kind of seal. You stopped trusting the government, yet this feels real. The words “we demand to stop payments” lure you into the authoritarian obedience you were taught to trust.
Then you notice other words. Names. A list. It is not only you. They know your neighbours. They know your landlord. There it is, black ink on light-grey paper. You are confused: how are they part of the story? This list, it changes everything. How can they know about these people? The list is longer than expected. There are names you never heard of. People you never knew existed. But here they are, and you are part of it. Did these people get the same letter? Do they know you? The many questions start to crack the last bit of sanity in your mind. You notice that your landlord is named on most of the pages. Pages with numbers, unfullfilled payments and more numbers. You do not see any reference to your identity. A bank and a law office is involved. This seems serious, but is it for you?
You start to doubt yourself. Was this really an official letter from a district court? But who can you ask for advice, when you trust noone but yourself? The woman next door is on vacation. You are not going to bother other strangers. Should you call the phone number on the front?
The voice from the speaker is calm and stern. You know only half the words that are spoken. But it sounds threatening: Required by law; seized; criminal investigation. Words straight out of a Law and Order show. The voice changes to a soothing sound. Collaborate and everything will be fine. They will call you if anything comes up. Here are the new account details.
Photo by Chanhee Lee on Unsplash
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