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Friday, June 24, 2011


How do you plan for a breach of trust?

I'm thinking about this because of a potential issue with an employee (which I'm not going to go into the specifics).

This issue in particular had to do with potential trust issues - not providing us with all of the information needed to make a sound business decision.  As it sits now, that omitted information would have personally benefited the employee in question.

Money seems to be at the root of many trust issues.  I can say that, during my banking career, virtually every employee I ever terminated was let go due to stealing money.  Expenses due to a death in the family, a new boyfriend/girlfriend, a job loss by a spouse.

They all felt bad - after being caught - but had justified crossing the line in their own minds.

What kinds of things happen where basically "good" people go bad?  How does this relate to prepping?  And perhaps most importantly, how can we limit the likelihood that we will be the victim of a breach of trust?


In my experience, there are three primary reasons people break a trust:  Desperation, greed or revenge.

Desperation can come in many forms.  Most of the time it has been the result of people finding themselves in a situation which they didn't directly cause - a death in the family, a job loss, etc. - but for which they did not prepare.  When living from paycheck to paycheck, putting money away for "a rainy day" doesn't happen.  The emergency presents itself, and they pull from the company till.

How about this:  Without exception, every person I terminated for this reason had access to Employee Assistance loans if they had just asked.  When we'd ask them why they didn't apply, they said they were too embarrassed to ask for help.

Yeah, not too embarrassed to steal, but too embarrassed to take advantage of an employee benefit.

My last termination was a desperate woman.  She was not a "hot mama" and some smooth-talker realized he could be sweet to her and get some bucks.  She was a VP and was a very long-term employee - something like number 4 or 5 when the bank started in the 1990's.

The boyfriend started pressuring her for more money than her salary provided, and she did some very stupid things with our credit card system.

Desperation can cloud your judgement.  If you had not prepped and were suddenly without food for your family, what would you do?  Right now, if you could swallow your pride, you could get help from some form of government or private charity.  What if that went away?

A major societal collapse, such as that being experienced in Argentina, breeds desperation.  Normally law abiding people will cross the line if they're desperate enough.

Remember:  They rob banks 'cause that's where the money is...

Greed, in my experience, is quite rare, at least in this context.  Most of the time, a person is a "victim" of greed by choices they've made.  The deal was too good to pass up.  You must usually participate in your own downfall.

This is combated with knowledge and common sense.  In general, you have to risk-big to win-big.  Opportunities that are touted as being low-risk, high-return should raise a red flag.  It goes against the laws of economics.

That brings us to revenge.  A wicked, wicked thing.  It can be driven by something as petty as jealousy.  

Let's say times have gotten tough for a friend, and you aren't as forthcoming with food "donations" as that person might like.  They might feel justified in sharing their knowledge of your holdings and security with a scumbag acquaintance for a piece of your pie.  I'll show those hoarding SOBs...

Accept The Challenge

As callous as it may sound, you need to be careful with whom you place your trust.  You may have disclosed to a very trustworthy person some piece of information about how much PM you hold, or how much food, guns and ammo you've got.  They could very innocently mention this in passing to someone else and suddenly, your storage location has a big red circle around it on the map.

In banking, we would employ practices that would take the allure of embezzlement away.  For instance, if you entered the cash vault, it was always in "Double Custody" - two employees had to be present.  There would have to be collusion between two people, and I never witnessed that in my 31 years of banking.  I know it happens, but it's very rare.

In prepping, one way we can remove the allure of having our food, equipment an PM stores stolen is to keep our pie hole shut!  It's truly a "Need to know" process.  Your neighbors have no need to know how many preps you've got.  Same goes for family members and friends that don't wish to prepare.

You also need to assume your security will be breached.  Keeping all of your stores in one place means you may lose everything in one fell swoop.  If your home is your primary storage site, have things stored in multiple locations.  Hidden nooks.  Basements.  Attics.  Storage sheds.

Diversify locations as best as you are able.  The homes of friends or family of similar thinking as you.  Paid storage lockers.  Hunting cabins.  Hidden caches.

Your security risk obviously increases the further away from your primary location you store your goods, so consider that in your planning.  For instance, with paid storage facilities, you may forget to pay your bill - or there may be an accounting error so your account wasn't credited - and your cache may end up on a reality TV show!

If the flag goes up, it will be like ringing the dinner bell for your unprepared acquaintances.  And bad guys.  Assume failure of your primary plan and ensure you don't lose everything during a single breach.

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree.

1. It's later then you think.

2. Food will be worth more then money in the future.

3. Someone you know intends to either sponge off you or take what you have when things get tough.

4. Someone you don't know intends to either sponge off you or take what you have when things get tough.

5. By the time it becomes obvious to everyone it will be too late to prepare.

6. If you don't prepare then you are the one planning on sponging off someone you know or to take what they have when things get tough.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, I'm seeing item 6 as an option discussed much more often on the internet. Plan A is taking other people's stuff.

All the better reason to have multiple locations for your stuff. If here are enough people with this "plan", one will eventually be successful.