If a Hacker Steals Your Identity Are You Still You? Part 1

If a Hacker Steals Your Identity, Are You Still You? Part One

By Charles McCain

Originally appear on Cannon Financial Institute’s website on October 31, 2017

Jude Law (left) as Dickie Greenleaf, arguing with Matt Damon (right), who plays Mr. Ripley in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley. (Based on the novel published in 1956)


Your identity is stolen. A difficult situation—especially if you’re wealthy American expatriate, Dickie Greenleaf, a young man living the high life in 1950s Rome who is murdered by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley. After dispatching said Mr. Greenleaf in a particularly unpleasant way, Mr. Ripley steals his identity. This being the 1950s he can’t assume Greenleaf’s online identity since there is no internet. He must physically assume his identity.

This creates a big problem. Unlike identity theft today, Ripley must kill the various people he bumps into who know that he is Ripley and not Greenleaf. This is time-consuming and stressful. The good news is nowadays criminals can steal your identity without murdering you. I’m sure you will agree this evinces a certain progress in human relationships. So, if your identity is stolen you are still you—it’s just that there is more of you than existed previously.

Never argue with Mr. Ripley if you are boating with him

What can your ID thief do while pretending to be you? Everything. Whatever financial actions you can take, your ID thief can now take as well. They can wire out all the cash in your personal and business accounts. Open new credit card accounts in your name. Rent an apartment. Get a loan or a mortgage.

What about filing a false tax return in your name and getting a refund? Sure. Happens all the time. The IRS has even created form 14039— Identity Theft Affidavit— so you can report the theft of your identity to them. * The problem has become so widespread, the IRS has added a web page with information on exactly what steps you should take: **

While Equifax and other data breaches are top of mind, it is useful to point that out that the IRS has had their own problems. Internet security expert, Brian Krebs, wrote “In 2015, it (the Internal Revenue Service) issued more than $490 million in fraudulent refunds requested on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Americans who were victimized by data stolen directly from the ‘Get Transcript’ feature of the IRS’s own Web site.” *** This isn’t reassuring.

Naturally, your wealthy clients are the most at risk since they have the most money. What can they do to protect themselves? We will go into detail on this including a checklist for steps HNW clients can take in Part Two. But first, as in most things in life, you need to observe one basic rule— all the time. What is it?  Keep track of your wallet and anything else with personal info on it when you are out and about. Says the Insurance Information Institute, “close to half of identity theft cases are the result of a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook, credit card or other physical document.” ****

Allow me to end with another basic step you should consider taking to begin armoring yourself against ID theft.  If you have your date of birth and/or your phone number and/or home address on any of your personal social media sites, consider removing this information. Having these facts makes it all the more easy for ID thieves to match up all your personal information. These are small steps but remember, ID thieves are going to go for the low-hanging fruit. Even the smallest step which might slow them up may deflect them to someone else who hasn’t taken these basic steps.

Social media has brought many positive benefits to society. However, in the last months, many of us have become painfully aware of the negative aspects of social media. Protect yourself.

Copyright ©2017 Cannon Financial Institute – All Rights Reserved

Contributing Writer: Subject Matter Expert Charles McCain

COMMENT FROM CHARLES McCAIN: Cannon Financial Institute is the “gold standard” for wealth management training, development and consulting. I worked at the firm for many years and my colleagues were the most talented people I have ever worked with.  Last year the firm sought me out to write articles for them which I started doing in January of  2016. After a hiatus of nine years, I am pleased to report that my colleagues continue to be the most talented people I have ever worked with and it is a pleasure to be working with them again.  I take them directly from the Cannon website and the links work.  I will post the articles I write for them on my blog after they appear on Cannon’s website.






Family of Austrian Naval Hero Von Trapp Inspires Sound of Music

Heroic Austrian naval officer Baron Von Trapp and his family inspire musical Sound of Music


Austrian Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp

commanded Austrian Uboats in World War One

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Austrian Navy? How is that possible? Isn’t Austria is landlocked? Yes, but it wasn’t when the Austro-Hungarian Empire existed. That multi-ethnic state  collapsed after World War One. Territories ruled by the Austrian Emperor included Slovenia and Croatia which bordered the Adriatic thus giving access to the sea.

Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, in uniform, undated. Credit: Library of Congress

Above is the longest reigning Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph I,  who reigned from 2 December 1848 – 21 November 1916. He was also King of King of Hungary and Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; and retained the heriditay title of King of Jerusalem one of the kingdoms established by the crusaders in the Middle Ages.

In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire in central Europe, a very loose federation of Germanic states and principalities, finally collapsed. Since the Habsburgs had usually supplied the Holy Roman Empire with its Emperor,  the Austrian Empire, ruled by the Habsburgs, became the successor state. There is an old saying in history that the Holy Roman Empire was neither “Holy” nor “Roman” nor an “Empire,” all of which is substantially true.

Whenever you come across a historical figure whose title was “Elector” then that person was one of the seven princes and kings who elected the Emperor.


Austro-Hungarian main naval base at Pula shown by red arrow on map above


The Austrian Empire or Austro-Hungarian Empire had a substantial navy with almost 36,000 officers and men and a large number of ships, including dreadnoughts and submarines. They did well considering that there wasn’t a common language in the Habsburg Empire. Educated people spoke German like the Austrians do today of course but others refused out of sense of nationalistic identity, the Magyars in Hungary being some of the most uncooperative.

singing von Trapps in Vermont in 1946. While pictured as a sweet and loving person in the Sound of Music, Mrs von Trapp was something of a dragon and ordered everyone around.

The most famous officer of the long defunct Austro-Hungarian Navy is Baron von Trapp. He and the singing Von Trapp family were made famous in the movie “The Sound of Music” which is loosely based on their story. Baron von Trapp was an outstanding Austrian submarine commander in World War One. He made 19 war patrols and sank 11 cargo ships, a French cruiser and an Italian submarine.

After the proclamation of the Dual Monarchy in 1867 with the Emperor of Austria becoming the King of Hungary as well as Austrian Emperor, the fleet was known became known as the “Imperial and Royal War Navy.”

That phrase in German is “kaiserliche und königliche Kriegsmarine,” abbreviated as k.u.k. which how the fleet was known. The k.u.k. operated mainly in the Adriatic Sea but during World War One also positioned itself as a “fleet in being” which could enter the Mediterranean if so chose and dispute French, British and Italian control.



Austro-Hungarian Dreadnoughts At Pula before World War One.

Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum


Austrian battleship Viribus Unitis


The fleet was based at the port of Pola, now Pula, in Croatia, then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. After its defeat in World War One and the collapse of the empire, Hungary was deprived of all of its territory along the Adriatic and hence no longer had ports for Imperial and Royal fleet which was dispersed.



Austro-Hungarian fleet on maneuvers circa 1912

(photo courtesy Wikipedia)

A former commander of the k.u.k. was Admiral Horthy who proclaimed himself Regent of Hungary after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This is how a land locked country of Hungary came to be ruled by an admiral for decades.

If you have an interest in learning more,  substantial detail on the k.u.k. can be found here:

Coastal Command Attacking U-Boats

RAF Coastal Command Attacking German UBoats
Half of German U-Boats destroyed in World War Two were sunk by Allied aircraft.
ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91244) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Bay of Biscay relatively shallow and U-boats based in French Channel ports had to transit Bay of Biscay to reach Atlantic. Beginning in 1943, RAF Coastal Command began a major campaign to attack U-Boats on surface in Bay of Biscay. A tough fight because planes had to come in low to drop their depth charges and by that time U-Boats had far better anti-aircraft armament.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91259) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Most of the anti-submarine aircraft under command or seconded to
15 Group RAF Coastal Command HQ co-located with HQ C-in-C Western Approaches Command in secret bunker in Liverpool. Coastal Command under tactical command of Royal Navy in WW Two.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91260) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


It took several years and much analysis of attack reports to formulate both a correct attack doctrine and design and manufacture special depth charge bombs for Coastal Command aircraft. But it was done.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91261) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Here the U-boat is sinking, leaving a patch of oil and air bubbles. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


U-705 meets its end during Coastal Command offensive in Bay of Biscay. In spite of after war memoirs and recollections, morale of UBoat crews very low by this point according to interrogation reports of Uboat crew rescued by Royal Navy and US Navy. The men knew their chances of survival by this point in the war very low.

Further, the statement by UBoat men and many historians that UBoat crews were all volunteers has been completely disproven by memoirs from several UBoat men as well as interrogation reports.

Below, U751 sinking after coordinated Coastal Command attack by several aircraft.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91243) Photograph looking back over the starboard wing of a Lancaster of No 61 Squadron, Bomber Command, after an attack on U-751 in the Bay of Biscay, 17 July 1942. The U-boat had been attacked and crippled by a Whitley of No 502 Squadron earlier, before being finally sunk by depth charges dropped by the Lancaster. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Royal Indian Navy Fighting World War Two


The Royal Indian Navy was one of the armed forces of British India. Created by the East India Company in the early 1700s, it was subsequently absorbed into the armed forces of British India. The British expanded the Royal Indian Navy in World War Two. This navy formed the basis of the modern Indian Navy.


C IN C EASTERN FLEET VISITS HIS SHIPS. 2 OCTOBER 1944, COLOMBO, CEYLON. ADMIRAL SIR BRUCE FRASER, GCB, KBE, COMMANDER IN CHIEF EASTERN FLEET PAID HIS FIRST VISIT TO SHIPS UNDER HIS COMMAND, INCLUDING SHIPS OF THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY, AND INSPECTED OFFICERS AND MEN. AMONG THE SHIPS VISITED WAS THE CARNATIC OF THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY. (A 26325) The C in C inspecting members of the CARNATIC’s company. Left to right: Able Seaman Muhammed Yusuf Khan, of Murree, Rawalpindi; Able Seaman (ST) James Vanspall, of Madura, Trichnopoly; Able Seaman (ST) Karunskaran Maniath, of Dharmadam, Malabar; Able Seaman Amarijit Singh Bakshi, of Ghun Grila, Rawalpindi. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:




ON BOARD THE INDIAN SLOOP KRISTNA. 21 OCTOBER 1943, LONDONDERRY. (A 19999) The Shipwright Abdol Khalio, who comes from Gujrat, Punjab, with a wooden model of HMIS KRISTNA, the sloop in which he is serving. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (IB 1535) A portrait by Cecil Beaton of an Indian naval rating operating a signal lamp on the sloop SUTLEJ at the Royal Indian Naval Station at Calcutta. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


ROYAL INDIAN NAVY AND EASTERN FLEET HARASS JAPANESE FORCES, BURMA, FEBRUARY – MARCH 1944 (A 23453) A Royal Indian Navy rating, Vincent, of Travencore, sitting on the deck of a ship collects up empty 20 mm cartridge cases and puts them into a hessian bag. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR INDIA, VISITS MEMBERS OF HM ROYAL INDIAN NAVY, AT A BASE. 1941. (A 3307) The Duke of Devonshire inspecting sailors of the Royal Indian Navy. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 23449) As darkness falls the bombardment of Japanese positions begins during a typical operation by Coastal Forces of the Royal Indian Navy, which include units of the Royal Navy, South African Naval Forces and Burma RNVR. Here the forward gun of one of the coastal forces boats is being fired. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


INDIAN WRENS VISIT ROSYTH, 3 JUNE 1945 (A 29070) Chief Officer Margaret L Cooper, Deputy Director of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS), with Second Officer Kalyani Sen, WRINS at Rosyth during their two month study visit to Britain. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:






We May Lose War Comment Shows Prescience


20 APril 1945  Deputy Cheif Of Operations of German armed forces high command “…mentions the possibility that the war could have a negative outcome.”

If only I could foretell events with the accuracy of Wehrmacht Major-General August Winter my life would be so much better!

According to Official War Diary of the the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces High Commmand):

“…on the morning of 20 April 1945, the Deputy-Chief of Wehrmacht Operations Staff, Major General Winter, gives an address on the occasion of Hitler’s birthday and mentions the possibility that the war could have a negative outcome.”

When he gave this brief talk, the Russians were less than 18 kilometers from the HQ of the German Armed Forces High Command and most of the officers left the facilities shortly thereafter.

These facilities were massive underground bunkers completely bombproof and camoflauged. Remnants of the complex still exist.

A telephone exchange of the complex, 1942. The two huge underground complexes were known as Maybach I and Maybach II located in Zossen, thirty kilometers from Berlin.


2 May 1945     orders to berlin garrsion:
“…Together with the commander-in-chief of the Soviet forces I order you to stop fighting immediately.” WEIDLING, General of Artillery, Commandant of the Berlin Defence Zone.”

8 May 1945 Germans surrender unconditionally on all fronts to the Allied powers and the Soviet Union.

Battle of Somme Sixty Thousand British Casualties Day One



“A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme. The date is believed to be 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme, and the unit is possibly the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (25th Brigade, 8th Division).” photo and caption courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

The Royal Irish Rifles was a regular British Army regiment recruited primarily in the northern Irish counties and one of the eight regular British regiments raised and stationed in Ireland before the partition of the country. The regiment was stationed in Belfast.

These men have obviously finished taking rations to the front line trenches since few are carrying anything and they would not be so relaxed if they were close to the front line. Usually the ration parties went up at night. A communication’s trench would be exactly that: a trench running perpendicular to the main trench. No trenches were dug in a straight line. They were all dug in a zig-zag pattern so that if the Germans overran a trench, they couldn’t shoot every soldier in the trench.

First day of the Battle of the Somme British troops go over the top. Many were hit as they climbed out of their trenches.

The first day of the Somme has become a symbol of military incompetence. Both British and French artillery had pounded the German trenches for days but this only gave the Germans notice that an attack was being prepared. German engineers had created very deep and fortified dugouts for their infantry which Allied artillery shells did not penetrate.

British troops leaping a trench on first day of the Battle of the Somme. If the first wave captured a trench the second wave then took their turn. They leapt over the captured trench and endeavored to capture the next one.

When young British subalterns stood up and blew their whistles to signal their men to go over the top, many never made it very far from the trenches since they were shot down by German machine gun fire as soon as they exposed themselves.  Numbers of men were killed as they were climbing up out of their trenches and fell back in, on top of the other men waiting to climb the ladder.

20,000 British soldiers were outright killed on that first day. 40,000 were wounded.

Incredibly, sixty percent of all officers in the attacking formations were killed.

Most of these were young men, 19, 20,21, who went first as officers are supposed to do. Thus exposed, the young officers were mowed down.

(Source: BBC)

The First World War never should have happened and need never happened. But events got out of control, politicians maneuvered for their own personal advantage, various states made impossible demands on each other. As in World War Two, it was the Germans who fanned the flames and launched the Great War for which they paid dearly. But so did everyone else.

The Battle of the Somme lasted from 1 July 1916 until sputtering to and end in November of 1916. Many of the men who went over the top were young conscripts. By the end of the battle, the British Army had suffered 420,000 casualties including nearly 60,000 on the first day alone. The French lost 200,000 men and the Germans nearly 500,000.

War is often incredibly foolish and causes more problems than it solves. World War One was the most tragic event of the 20th Century since it set in motion forces which turned the century into the bloodiest in history.



A Grantor and His Trustee, Remainderman, and Fiduciary Investment Manager Meet at a Wine Tasting

A Grantor and His Trustee, Remainderman, and Fiduciary Investment Manager Meet at a Wine Tasting

What do you do? Stand around? I hope I’m not paying you to loaf,” says the grantor, Mr. Gotbucks, to his standby trustee.

“Gentlemen, please be calm and try this Merlot,” says Daniel Smith, Cannon Executive Vice President and Personal Trust Curriculum Chair.

“It’s a 2011 Chateau Laffitte Laujac, a blend of reds from vineyards in Bordeaux and Medoc.”

Both men take a glass and the grantor knocks his back. “Please answer the question,” he says again to the standby trustee. “What do you do and are you charging me for it?”

The standby trustee takes a small sip of wine. “Very good,” he says to Daniel, “a delicate aroma of red fruits, très élégant.”

He turns to Mr. Gotbucks, who has knocked back another glass even though this is supposed to be a wine tasting. “Sir, you are not paying me and I hope you never shall. Were I to receive payment from your trust that would signal I have been compelled to assume my standby powers because you have been deemed too incompetent and therefore cannot manage your affairs.”

“Incompetent! That will never happen to me!”

“Hopefully not. Nonetheless, since you have named me as your successor trustee, I am also your standby trustee. Should you become unable to manage your affairs during your life, then being the standby trustee, I assume the powers of successor trustee.  Usually, your personal trust document will specify how you will be deemed incompetent. Common legalese reads something like: ‘if two or more medical doctors licensed to practice medicine (in your state) deem me incapable of managing my affairs, then my standby trustee will assume the powers of the successor trustee.’ This avoids an incompetency hearing in public court before a judge.”

“Perhaps that is a sound idea,” Mr. Gotbucks says. “Daniel, how about another bottle of merlot?”

“Actually, I want to present an amusing 1986 Bordeaux from Chateau Lafitte St. Emilion. It has a lightness to it but is still hefty in its flavor with a delicate aroma of blackberry.”

Mr. Gotbucks drinks a few glasses then notices five younger people who seem to shimmer. “Who in the world are you?”

“We are your great-grandchildren from the future and the remaindermen of your trust and we thank you for your generosity.”


“As you know great-grandfather, a personal trust cannot continue indefinitely. Eventually, the trust you have set up for the benefit of your extended family and their families and so forth will come to an end. The money which remains in the account will come to us which is why we are called ‘remaindermen.’ Get it?”

Mr. Gotbucks rubs his eyes. “This is complicated. Why do you think there will be money left?”

“Because the trust doesn’t disperse principal to the beneficiaries except in an emergency. It is set up to ensure your beneficiaries for three generations will have generous incomes so there should be funds remaining in the account.  If there is nothing left, then we will file a lawsuit against the trustee.”

Much head scratching occurs. Daniel opens a bottle of French burgundy, a heavy wine best drunk in a serious discussion. “Excuse me,” says a man heretofore not identified, “I’m a fiduciary investment manager associated with your standby and successor trustee, the First National Bank and Trust Company of Happy Valley, Florida. It is my job—and the job of those who come after me— to protect the interests of everyone who will— or could— benefit from your trust including these annoying great-grandchildren of yours.”

Mr. Gotbucks takes the bottle of burgundy from Daniel and starts swigging from it. He thinks a moment then says, “if you and your colleagues manage the assets poorly and there is almost no principal remaining in the account, then my remaindermen can file a lawsuit against you?”

“Exactly. So, we keep that in mind when investing.”

Mr. Gotbucks looks at Daniel. “Are all these people necessary?”

“Yes, they are. But think about it this way, your great-children, will lift their glasses to your portrait on a regular basis and say, ‘thanks, great-grandfather.’”

Mr. Gotbucks wipes a tear from his eye while Daniel opens a bottle of champagne so the remaindermen can practice their toasts.

To learn more about this topic, register for our Cannon Trust I curriculum.

Copyright ©2017 Cannon Financial Institute – All Rights Reserved

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Contributing Writer: Subject Matter Expert Charles McCain

COMMENT FROM CHARLES McCAIN: Cannon Financial Institute is the “gold standard” for wealth management training, development and consulting. I worked at the firm for many years and my colleagues were the most talented people I have ever worked with.  Last year the firm sought me out to write articles for them which I started doing in January of  2016. After a hiatus of nine years, I am pleased to report that my colleagues continue to be the most talented people I have ever worked with and it is a pleasure to be working with them again.  I take them directly from the Cannon website and the links work.  I will post the articles I write for them on my blog after they appear on Cannon’s website.

Contributing Writer: Subject Matter Expert Charles McCain