89 episodes

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

Pretend - a true crime documentary podcast Creative Babble

    • True Crime
    • 4.8 • 1.1K Ratings

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

    S804: The Ransomware Negotiator

    S804: The Ransomware Negotiator

    Ransomware. Does that term ring a bell?
    Even if you've never heard those words before, trust me, most of us have experienced Ransomware one way or another.
    If you live on the East Coast, you remember waiting long hours at the gas pump this past May. That's because a hacking group known as DarkSide hacked the Colonial Pipeline. The hackers demanded a ransom for 75 bitcoins which is equivalent to $4.4 million.
    How did the hackers break into the oil company's system? Easy. Some employees used the same password they used on another account that was previously hacked.
    And guess what? Colonial Pipeline paid the ransom and the hackers. $4.4. million dollars—gone, just like that.
    The Justice Department was able to eventually recover half of the money, $2.2 million.
    When we hear about news like this, we mostly ignore it. Until we run out of gas and everyone panics. But once we were able to fill up our tanks again, we all moved on and put it behind us.
    We often ignore stories like these because, on the surface, it sounds like hackers are attacking large corporations with tons of cash. They've got the money.
    But what if I tell you that the real victims here are not just the companies, but really it's you and me. What do you think happens if the company that got hacked decides not to pay the ransom?
    If the company doesn't cave to the hacker's demands, the hacker will dump the company's data and make it publicly available on the dark web. By the way, the company's data is comprised of your social security number, date of birth, driver's license, and health insurance information... everything an identity thief needs to financially destroy you.
    In today's episode, we'll talk to a guy whose job is to negotiate with these hackers. We're also going to talk about how you can protect your most valuable information.

    Today's guests are:Kurtis Minder - CEO and co-founder at GroupSense

    Eva Velasquez - President and CEO, of the Identity Theft Resource Center

    Freeze your credit to protect yourself from RansomwareEquifax
    Online: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
    Experian
    Online: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
    TransUnion
    Online: https://service.transunion.com/dss/orderStep1_form.page

    Use a password manager1Password
    KeePass Password

    Want to be my co-host?
    I want to send a sincere thank you to Rachel Sincere for supporting PRETEND on Patreon. Rachel, you're amazing. Also, as a reminder, I've added a new tier on Patreon. Not only will you get a PRETEND t-shirt and stickers. But these new supporters will get the chance to co-host a Patreon and YouTube episode with me. Like Michael V, who played in the Air Guitar World Championship. People pretending to play guitar! It's apparently a big thing. I'll let you know when that episode is out. So if you want to co-host with me, visit PRETEND on Patreon.com.

    Cam CokasFinally, I want to end the show by sharing an indie artist I've been listening to lately. His name is Cam Cokas, and the track is called Don't Quit or Try. Please check out Cam Cokas on Spotify or wherever you get your jams.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 37 min
    S803: The Sovereign Man

    S803: The Sovereign Man

    Sean David Morton was arrested in 2016 after being charged with more than 50 counts related to filing phony tax documents and bogus government bonds. He was also accused of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. These are similar tactics used by sovereign citizens—but Sean David Mortin doesn't like that label. 

    You see, Sean David Morton's name is synonymous with the sovereign citizen movement. The New York Times wrote a whole piece about him titled, "How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 billion from the government they disavow." So, when it comes to Sovereign Citizens, I thought Sean Mortin was the guy. But now he's telling me that sovereign citizens are idiots. Interesting. 

    If you're unfamiliar with this sub-culture, you should check out my episode on Sovereign Citizens. To listen to my interview with Sean David Morton, check out the episode The Sovereign Man where ever you listen to podcasts. 
     
    Patreon Bonus with Sean David MortonTo listen to more of my interview with Sean Morton, check out the FREE bonus episode on Patreon.
     
    Story idea?If you have a story to share, email Javier at info [at] pretendradio [dot] org.
    For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org.
    To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate
    Today's episode was written and edited by Javier Leiva
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 36 min
    S802: The Naked Sovereign Surgeon

    S802: The Naked Sovereign Surgeon

    Where do sovereign citizens go when they need medical attention? Some of them seek help from homeopathic quacks like Rick Van Thiel.

    Rick Van Thiel is not a surgeon. In reality, he's a porn star operating on people with dirty scalpels, reused needs, surrounded by filth. And the worst part is, he performs his surgeries in the nude.
    The last episode about sovereign citizens was just exposition for what you’re about to hear. I first learned about this story from Jerri William’s podcast called FBI retired Case File Review. Jerri Williams is a retired FBI agent who interviews other former agents on her show. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing out. Her episode haunted me for days. So, I asked Jerri if I can share this story with you. If you thought the last sovereign citizen episode was shocking, wait till you hear this.
    Disclaimer
    It’s safe to assume that most PRETEND episodes are not suitable for young children. Unfortunately, this is one of those episodes. In fact, trigger warning, today, we’re going to talk about sexual assault and suicide. This episode is actually pretty disgusting. So, if you have the stomach for it, please proceed. You’ve been warned.

    Story idea?
    If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org.
    For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org.
    To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate
    Today's episode was written and edited by Javier Leiva
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 51 min
    S801: The Sovereign Citizen

    S801: The Sovereign Citizen

    What is a sovereign citizen? 

    American Sovereign citizens believe that the laws of the United States do not apply to them. Therefore, no authority should tell them what to do: not judges, lawmakers, lawyers, or police officers. Oh, and they don't pay taxes either. 

    Sounds crazy, right? It would be crazy if they didn't get away with it so often.

    ________
    Story idea?
    If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org.
    For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org.
    To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate
    Today's episode was written and edited by Javier Leiva
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 43 min
    S104: Birth of a Con Man Revisited

    S104: Birth of a Con Man Revisited

    This is the very first episode I recorded for PRETEND. Hear how a small-time crook went from breaking into houses to running a phony medical clinic.

    -------
    FEATURING: Follow the Truth Podcast Trailer

    In 1993, James Jordan, father of NBA legend Michael, was murdered in NC. Was the wrong man convicted of pulling the trigger? E1 and E2 release date: 7/22/21
    Check out Follow the Truth Podcast:
    https://t.co/b4grdGjwJp?amp=1

    ________
    Story idea?
    If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org.
    For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org.
    To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate
    Today's episode was written and edited by Javier Leiva
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 46 min
    S212: The Hijacker Revisited

    S212: The Hijacker Revisited

    This week, we revisit one of PRETEND's most popular episodes. It's called the Hijacker and it's a collaboration with my friend Chris Knittel. Hear Martin McNally describe the day he hijacked a plane.

    ________
    Story idea?
    If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org.
    For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org.
    To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate
    Today's episode was written and edited by Javier Leiva
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

88lizards ,

Thanks

I always look forward to the next episode. Love this podcast!

EMacrock ,

Amazing hidden gem!!

I can’t believe how awesome this show is!! I love finding hidden gems like this! Such interesting topics that aren’t just warmed over versions of the same old same old, like you find In Some podcast. The host is stellar and he gets really fantastic interviews w/ first hand witness accounts and stories that are fascinating but not stuff you already seen in the headline of every paper, really great podcast that I highly recommend to anyone out there. Give this one a shot, you won’t be disappointed!

coug_pharm ,

Better without political bias

Early seasons the host prided himself on being objective and trying to see an issue from both sides. Now he just refers to everyone he doesn’t politically agree with as “idiots” and “morons”. Doesn’t matter what side you’re on, this kind of rhetoric never leads to a more unified society. Disappointing when I used to enjoy the stories being told.

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