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Phone Card Risks

One of the plethora of TV Magazine shows featured Tim McViegh and phone
cards last week.  Maybe I should post to Risks.

According to the story, Tim McViegh bought a bunch of phone cards from "The
Spotlight" (famous Klan paper) which carried the Spotlight brand name.  He
made lots of calls.  

Later, the Fibbies who checked all the phone records for room and pay phones
at the motels where TM was staying came up with lots of calls to the 800
number of the vendor who was actually switching calls for the Spotlight
phone cards.  The vendor found the card number(s) that matched those calls
and all the other calls that matched those card numbers.  

They made it seem like such a match was a big thing.  Perhaps their
transaction database was not well developed.  In any case, they wrote a
little software and gave the Fibbies a list of all of TM's calls.

There are supposed to be lots of calls to fertilizer dealers, his sister,
and others.  Very interesting.

This is an obvious risk in the use of phone cards that anyone should be able
to figure out for themselves since it is the same risk that pay phones have
always had.  If the Fibbies can find out what telephones you have used, they
can get those records and trace things from there.  This problem has
occurred before for "right wing" nuts and the Mafia.  Several years ago
after members of The Order robbed an armored car in northern California, the
Fibbies found a nearby motel where a bunch of suspicious characters had all
stayed together and traced calls from the pay phone outside to various
wives/girl friends and broke the case from there.  Likewise Mafiosi in their
NYC social clubs have often shown bad phone habits using the nearest pay
phone, etc.  If a pay phone is used enough and well-enough known to the
Fibbies, it even becomes worthwhile to tap it.

So buy lots of phone cards from different dealers (*never* The Spotlight),
use phones unconnected to you, don't make too many calls from the same phone
or using the same card, and be sure to destroy the card preferably before
you use it (the only significant thing about phone cards are the numbers
which can be stored in an encrypted file).  

An easy way to accomplish much of the above is to hang out in big cities
instead of the boonies.  It's a lot easier to find an unlinked phone
(unlinked to you, that is) in the city than in the country.


"'Well, he hit what he was aiming at.'  Marine DI discussing the fact that
the guy up in the tower at the University of Texas shooting people was an