Perpetual Chess Updates: 2020 Changed My World

January 1st, 2020 marked a new decade. It was full of celebration, cheering, and anticipation as we entered back into what seemed to be another roaring 20’s. Who could have anticipated just how wrong we were?

For most, 2020 was a year of extreme fear, financial stress, relational isolation, mental exhaustion, and for many even death. It was also a year where fraud seemed to reign supreme with no signs of slowing. Fraudsters capitalized on the economic stresses and the vulnerability of innocent citizens.

For all of the people negatively affected by the pandemic my heart goes out to you. I am a man of faith, and so I also pray for you.

Although 2020 was a year marked for many with negativity, depression, and desperation, for me and my family we counted it a blessing. I am one who likes to focus on the positives in life, and always strive to bring a light into others’ darkness.

This page is typically dedicated to fraud and financial crime. When originally launching this blog I thought I would never add anything personal. But since this is MY blog, I figured “screw it” maybe I can bring a smile to some of the readers of Perpetual Chess.


2020 Highlights

I Got Married

The highlight of my year. So far, the highlight of my life. I married my beautiful wife Lory in the middle of the woods, in front of three other people. Our pastor, our coordinator, and our photographer.

In early March I was tasked with monitoring the spread of the virus, and anticipating how it might affect the credit union. So I started to see the writing on the walls, and figured what better time than now. Lory and I talked to our parents, talked to our pastor, and decided that we were going to accelerate our wedding date.

It was small, it was beautiful, it was perfect. It was also a surprise for all but our family, and the three others that were in attendance. We wanted the moment to just be about the two of us, and not have to worry about all of the craziness happening outside our world.

Three days later, quarantine was announced.


Launched Perpetual Chess

I have always had a passion for writing, and for teaching. Compared to many other industries there seems to be very little content when it comes to fraud and financial crimes. Sure there are plenty of articles of WHAT happens, but very rarely can you find content on HOW to prevent it.

When explaining fraud to people I usually use the analogy of a never-ending game of chess. Nonstop strategy between fraudsters, and fraud fighters.

My goal with Perpetual Chess was to explain complex fraud schemes, and make them easy to understand by both industry professionals and the typical consumer. So many people fall victim to scams and identity theft each year, I wanted to provide a resource for everyone.

There are definitely other very good resources out there as well. Frank on Fraud, About-Fraud, and Krebs On Security just to name a few. But I always felt like I could bring a different perspective, and demonstrate my passion for educating.

Last year I decided that I would take advantage of the extra time I had on my hands due to quarantine and finally pursue this passion. I partnered with Mindbrew Creative to learn the basics of web design and set out to write. Thus, the idea of Perpetual Chess was born.

Perpetual Chess was much more successful than I originally anticipated, and actually put me in touch with one of my writing inspirations. Frank McKenna from Frank on Fraud. Because I finally decided to pursue my blog, it opened a world of opportunity.


New Job: Point Predictive

In the Fall, Frank reached out to me about potential consulting opportunities, which has been a dream of mine since I joined the industry. My strengths are strategic thinking, problem solving, teaching, and leading. Consulting brings all of these together.

After much consideration, and through agreement with my wife, I decided to take the step and jump into the unknown. I officially accepted an offer with Point Predictive to begin my consulting journey and help solve major problems in the auto and mortgage lending journey.

Point Predictive combines artificial intelligence with decades of risk management expertise to help lenders identify which applications have reliable or truthful information. Once I began to understand the products and services that the company has to offer, the decision was much easier for me. Point Predictive answers so many questions that I had while managing fraud risks for DCU and is exactly where I feel I can make the most difference in the fight against financial crime.


Bought A Home

House hunting in 2020 was not a fun experience. The housing market has never been hotter, interest rates are extremely low, and the supply of houses on the market dried up due to COVID. Luckily my wife and I were able to connect with someone in our church who was selling their home, and we reached an agreement off-market.

We immediately began envisioning the future, and how our home was going to look. Open concept, bright lights, modern color schemes, renovated kitchen, and of course a nice home office for me.

As you can see in the pictures, the kitchen was the first to be tackled. As much as I liked the linoleum floor and green wallpaper, my wife had the final say. We’re officially moved in, and as of last week now have a functioning kitchen, albeit unfinished. So we can at least breathe a sigh of relief….for now.


Growing Family

To top off the year, my wife and I found out we are expecting our first child in June of 2021. When Lory told me that we were pregnant, I was in shock. I think I sat there in silence for 10 minutes with a giant smile on my face. I couldn’t believe that I am going to be a father.

Although I am nervous about the birth of my first baby, I am so excited for this next chapter in life. I know I won’t be a perfect parent, but I do know that I will love that child with my whole heart.

This was a perfect end to 2020 and will be the biggest blessing of 2021. And before you ask, we will not be finding out the gender of the baby (so there are no worries of any gender reveal fires breaking out).


Recap

2020 changed the world. For a lot of people, 2020 was the worst year of their life. They lost jobs, homes, and loved ones. But for me and my family we count ourselves blessed through 2020 and can’t wait to see what the future holds. I figured I might as well do the three most stressful things in life all at once. Buy a house, start a new job, and have a child. Better to get it all done now, right?

Apologies for a brief hiatus in content, but I’m hoping to be back with a vengeance.

Never stop chasing checkmate.

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