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Flare Gun, Yes; Flares, No. Updated Flight Travel Rules For Carry-On/Checked Items.

when i fly

Having spent the last two weeks traveling nearly 15, 000 travel miles, from JFK , LAX, IAD and MIA to several small, regional airports in between, it occurs to me that the regulations for items that one can carry through TSA and ultimately onboard and alternately, check-in, have changed significantly.  Hence, in this week’s Beacon Bulletin, we bring you the latest official carry-on/check-in guidelines from the TSA.

On Domestic Flights:

FOOD:

                                                  Carry-On Checked
Alcohol                                                             Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Creamy Dips and Spreads                        Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Fresh Whole Fruits                                     Item is allowed. Item is allowed.
Gravy                                                                Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Jam and Jelly                                                Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Maple Syrup                                                  Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Oils and Vinegars                                        Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Pies and Cakes                                              Item is allowed. Item is allowed.
Salad Dressing                                             Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Salsa and Sauces                                         Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Soups                                                               Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.
Yogurt                                                             Less than 3.4 oz / 100 ml allowed. Item is allowed.

FIREARMS: Not allowed as carry-on, but allowable as check-in:  guns, rifles, bb guns, flare guns, starter pistols, air-compressed guns, realistic replicas of gun or parts of guns and, ammo.  As for check-in, properly registered guns MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. Absolutely not allowed at all, carry on or checked-in are flares, gun lighters and gun powder.

 

FLAMMABLES: NO CARRY-ON/NO CHECKED-IN: Aerosols (other than personal care), blasting caps, chlorine, dynamite, fire extinguishers, fireworks, fuels, flammable liquids and gels, gas torches, gasoline, hand grenades, lighter fuel, liquid bleach, recreational oxygen, spillable batteries, spray paint, strike-anywhere matches, torch lighters, turpentine, paint thinners and vehicle airbags.

 

Allowed as Carry-On but NOT as Check-In:

Lighters : (Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage.) Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage, unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case.

Safety Matches: One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.

Small Compressed Gas Cartridges Up to two in life vests and two spares. The spares must accompany the personal flotation device and presented as one unit.


SELF-DEFENSE:
None are allowed as carry-on but all permissible as check-in are: billy clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, kubatons, night sticks, nunchucks, self-defense sprays, stun guns, throwing starts.

SHARP OBJECTS: Only disposable razors are allowed as carry-on.  Knives, ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers, scissors and even swords are allowed to be checked in.

SPORTING GOODS: Only skates, roller and ice, and skate boards are allowed as carry-on.  All others sports equipment have to be checked in.

TOOLS: Only screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers are allowed as carry-on.   Axes, drills, hammers and saws must be checked in.

When it comes to air safety, please pay attention to the rules.  The TSA and law enforcement are not playing around – nor should controlling potentially dangerous items while traveling be taken lightly.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Who Am I Dealing With?? Watching Your Back(ground) Checks.

Lately, we are requested quite often to research the backgrounds of prospective employees, personal and business partners and corporate entities.

With our now internet-enabled reach (not just to locate web-based information but to network with other investigative specialists), we are able to access nationwide data as to the personal, work and credit backgrounds of potential new hires.  We have gained the ability to likewise perform these background search services on a global basis for those seeking new business alliances, products and services.   Today, given the mobility and globalization of people and companies, often the backgrounds of the those with whom we might form potential partnerships are, at best based on hazy anecdotes and very basic, publicly available information.  Unfortunately, these types of non-professionally investigated histories can easily be manipulated, i.e., by net savvy perception managers.  For this, and many other reasons (personal security, access and information verification, to name several) we will always steer people away from the alleged “free” searches available online.  If one is serious about researching a potential employee or partner’s background, get it done right — by an experienced, highly rated private investigator.

Below we outline several types of background searches, their information yield and best applicability situations.

Basic Background Check, Individual:

Primary Uses:  Prospective new hires, subject identification, tenant verification.

Should yield:

  • DOB & Alias Names
  • SSN Verification
  • Address History (20 yr)
  • Address Summaries
  • Others Residing w/Subject
  • Possible Phone #s Associated w Subject (landline/mobile)
  • Email Addresses
  • Nationwide Criminal Profile (Includes State & Nationwide Criminal Databases, National Warrant Databases, Department of Correction Records, Nationwide Sex Offender Check)
  • Property Transactions
  • Civil Judgments, Tax Liens, & Evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Registered Vehicles *
  • DL Information *
  • Voter Registrations
  • Hunting & Fishing Permits
  • Professional Licenses
  • Possible Work Affiliations
  • Relatives & Associates

*In available states.

Recommendation: If the new hire will have access to accounting and or client information, we also suggest obtaining a release to conduct a standard asset search.

Comprehensive Background Check, Individual:

Primary Uses:  Prospective partners, major settlement/award cases, potential private care (nannies, housekeepers, home nursing aides…) and personal/business financial services providers (attorneys, accountants, brokers…)

Should yield:

  • All of the above plus :
  • Credit check (obtain authorization)
  • Financial background (to include but not limited to assets, banking information,  involvement in fraud investigations)
  • Professional background (to include but not limited to being a named party in any legal action, professional sanctions, industry rating)
  • Verified (in person/voice) and thorough reference checks

These are basic searches to conduct in the above referenced circumstances.  Of course, no two files will ever be the same and each search should be geared towards individualization.  A good professional investigator will know where to look and when to dig deeper.

As always, stay safe.

Ripped Off Online? 10 Steps That’ll Get You Results.

scammed

(This is an evergreen article that we update and post during the holiday season, especially with the internet now the predominant purchasing venue.)

Let me preface this week’s Bulletin by stating that the majority of online businesses are honest and strive hard to provide the goods and services that the digital public demands, requests and pays for. This self-regulation occurs for two reasons: a) most people/businesses are honest to begin with and b) word of mouth online occurs at lightning speed. Unfortunately, there is always someone out there with a scam and sooner or later, most people purchasing online will run into one of these shady businesses.

Our experience in investigating online fraud has led us to prepare the below checklist of 10 step to take if you are a victim of an online scam:

1. Gather as much information (name, address, phone numbers, domain names..) about the dishonest party as you can.

2. Put your complaint to them in writing rather than phoning it in. Be accurate and concise. Also, think of possible excuses the offending business may try to counter with and be prepared to argue these truth revisions.

3. Put the dishonest party on notice that you intend to take action against them if they do not resolve the problem fairly and to your satisfaction. It may take several rounds of talks before they come around to understanding that it might be better to simply resolve the issue with you and avoid more intense scrutiny. If that fails, we go to the next very nasty steps.

4. File an online compliant with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): www.ic3.gov. and click on the “File a Complaint” link to fill out an online form. IC3 was formed, in partnership with the FBI, specifically to combat internet fraud.

5. File a complaint with the Internet Fraud Watch on their website www.fraud.org. The Internet Fraud Watch was created by the National Consumers League, the oldest nonprofit consumer organization in the United States.

6. File you next complaint with the Better Business Bureau OnLine website: www.bbbonline.org . BBBOnLine specifically deals with web commerce complaints. The BBB contacts the business involved in the dispute to determine if the dispute can be amicably resolved. A huge file of complaints with the BBB will cut into the business’ profits.

7. Google the Attorney General’s Office of the state in which the dishonest party operates. File a complaint. Criminal charges may be brought against the business if fraud is involved.

8. On the Whois website: Go to  www.whois.net and look up the dishonest party’s domain name and web host. Inform the web host of your issue with this business and advise them that if they continue to provide hosting services to this party, they themselves can potentially be named in any legal action arising from this business’ activities, now that they have been put on notice.  Don’t take an accusatory tone, rather, try to co-opt the web host as they probably do not want to become entangled in any questionable practices.

9. If the shady company has their own servers and do not use a web hosting service, contact the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) website: www.icann.org. ICANN is the organization that has responsibility for Internet address space allocation.  ICANN generally is reluctant to become involved in online business practice disputes but they will if your case is presented with strong evidence and they have received prior complaints about this same unscrupulous company.

10. If the disreputable business continues to operate despite your best reporting efforts, and they have advertisements n their site, contact their advertisers. Advertisers are not given to spending their marketing budget to receive complaints from disgruntled, ripped-off customers.

The above steps are tough measures, but they should get your internet fraud situation resolved and hopefully, it’ll be a one-time occurrence.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware..

As always, stay safe.

 

Your Social Security Number, Please? Just Say NO! When Disclosing Your SSN Is Mandatory.

ssn

Your Social Security number is one of the most important keys to your financial health. It’s a unique identifier that lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. It’s also exactly what a would-be thief needs to apply for a credit card, mortgage, car loan or job in your name.

If you’re like most Americans, it’s also something you give out all too frequently and often, unnecessarily.

Case in point: A recent Javelin Strategy & Research report — their ID Fraud Survey — found that, among identity theft victims, 38 percent said the perpetrator had obtained their Social Security number and used it in the crime.  It’s certainly logical to state that you could eliminate 38 percent of your risk of identity theft by limiting access to your Social Security number.

Also, given the massive government and corporate database breaches lately, it’s equally safe to assume that someone – other than you – has your SSN info.

So, when is it mandatory to provide your true SSN and when is it not required?  See our chart below, developed by credit reporting agency, Experian.

WHO CAN, CAN’T REQUIRE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Mandatory                                                         Optional
Credit applications                                                 Doctor and dentist intake forms
Cash transactions over $10,000                          Supermarkets
When applying for certain federal benefits       Drugstores
Military paperwork                                                 Preschools
Department of Motor Vehicles                             Airlines

‘Your Social Security number, please’
Still, saying you are going to limit access to your SSN and doing it are two different things.  From the dentist’s office to your child’s pre-school, nearly every application or information form we fill out these days requests your Social Security number.  Shopping stores may ask for it, too, when accepting a check for payment or before issuing check cashing privileges. Potential employers also need it but it is important to remember that you should provide them your SSN only to process your E-Verify submission in anticipation of being employed at this company.  If you are not hired, request that your paperwork, identifying your SSN, be returned or destroyed.  Why would you want it lingering in someone else’s possession and have no control over who may have access to it?  You may also be asked for it by car dealerships, pawnshops, drugstores — even at the airport, should you lose your luggage.  It’s amazing how prolific this practice has become.  (A few years ago I was placing my mother’s things in storage, and I was asked for my SSN.  I denied the request.  It was wholly unnecessary for the transaction at hand.)

Just because someone asks for it doesn’t mean you have to comply,  especially since there are only a handful of organizations that actually have a valid need for it. For instance, anytime you’re applying for credit — for a new credit card, a loan, new utility or cellular service — the creditor will need your Social Security number to run a credit check. You’ll also need to provide it if you are applying for federal or local government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, unemployment insurance or disability. The local motor vehicle department, thanks to the USA PATRIOT Act, has the legal right to ask for Social Security numbers, too. In addition, when you complete a cash transaction totaling more than $10,000 you’ll be required to provide your number so that transaction can be reported to the IRS.

Medical professionals have their own reasons, too.  As morbid as this is, should you die while under a doctor’s care, they are required to put your Social Security number on the death certificate.

Still, fulfilling noncredit-related requests — even medical-related requests — is purely optional.  The problem however is that while you have the right to refuse to disclose your SSN, a business owner has a right to deny doing business with you.  Understandably, they want reassurance should they have to track you down for not paying a bill.

Gracefully saying ‘no’
One of the best ways to get out of giving your Social Security number to someone is to simply overlook it on your paperwork.  It’ll probably not be questioned  If so, however, simply ask why they need it.  But again, be prepared to be denied service if you refuse to provide it.

 

In the worst case scenario — when you absolutely can’t get out of it, but you still don’t feel comfortable –  make up a number.  Just make sure you write it down and don’t inadvertently steal someone else’s identity. The easiest way to ensure that is by putting in two zeros for the middle digits.  No Social Security Number have double zeros in that section.

It’s high time we take back control of our personal identifiers and especially one as important as our SSN which follows us from cradle to grave.  Just be smart and non-confrontational about it.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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