Your boss is a low-down dirty sidewinder whose corruption seemingly knows no bounds, and you’re on his radar because you’ve begun to piece together the extent of his malfeasance. If you’re wondering how to straighten out your crooked boss (or at least dodge whatever wrath he’s trying to dole out as you collect the evidence that will be his undoing), this Feedback Friday is a good place to start!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- As a new, proud firefighter, you’re wondering how to straighten out your crooked boss before his malfeasance brings the whole department down or gets someone killed. We have thoughts!
- As a European woman working for an American tech company, you were unpleasantly surprised to discover one of your equal-role male coworkers makes $1,500 more per year than you. How might you negotiate for fairer pay at your upcoming evaluation?
- You “won” an auction to go on a golf trip with your company’s least likable VP, which is made all the more awkward by the fact that you’ve never even played the game before. What are your best options here?
- Your Robinhood account was hacked, your $6,000 worth of stocks and options were sold, and the cash was transferred out of reach. Even though you reported this within an hour of it happening, Robinhood still hasn’t given you definitive answers about what can be done to remedy the situation. What should be your next course of action? [Thanks to Corbin Payne, Esq. and Nathan Perry for helping us with this one!]
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Stuart Ritchie | The Science Fictions Undermining Facts | TJHS 436
- Charles Koch & Brian Hooks | Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World | TJHS 437
- How to Collect Evidence of Employer Misconduct Before You Quit | BizFluent
- 3 Ways to Get Your Boss Fired | wikiHow
- Whistleblower Protection Program | OSHA
- Edward Snowden Says ‘War on Whistleblowers’ Trend Shows a ‘Criminalization of Journalism’ | Newsweek
- Legal Remedies if a Boss Explodes On You | Monster
- Snitches Get Stitches: On The Difficulty of Whistleblowing | arXiv
- Michelle Tillis Lederman | Why Relationships Are Our Greatest Assets | TJHS 178
- The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact by Michelle Tillis Lederman
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets You Don’t Know About Negotiation Part One | TJHS 70
- Golf For Beginners: So You Want to Play Golf | Golf Digest
- Curb Your Enthusiasm | HBO
- Chilled Seafood Tower | Ruth’s Chris
- Her | Prime Video
- Robinhood Users Says There’s No One To Call When Accounts Are Hacked | Bloomberg
- Robinhood Faces SEC Probe for Not Disclosing Deals with High-Speed Traders | WSJ
- Submit a Complaint | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- 26 CFR § 1.165-8 – Theft Losses. | LII / Legal Information Institute
- 26 US Code § 165 – Losses | LII / Legal Information Institute
- 2019 Publication 547 | IRS
- 2020 Form 4684 | IRS
- Customer Agreement (June 22, 2020) | Robinhood
- Account Security | Robinhood
- Security Best Practices | Robinhood
- Advisory on Cybercrime and Cyber-Enabled Crime Exploiting the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic | FinCEN
- FINRA Reminds Firms to Beware of Fraud During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic | FINRA
- Interpol Warns of Financial Fraud Linked to COVID-19 | Interpol
- FBI Urges Vigilance During COVID-19 Pandemic | FBI
Transcript for How to Straighten Out Your Crooked Boss | Feedback Friday (Episode 438)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today. I'm here with my feedback Friday producer, my equerry in inquiry Gabriel Mizrahi. Equerry — look it up, E-Q-U-E-R-R-Y. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker so you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening, even inside your own mind.
[00:00:38] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, to authors, to thinkers and performers for a selection of featured episodes to get you started with some of our favorite guests and popular topics gone over to jordanharbinger.com and we'll hook you up.
[00:00:59] This week on the show, we had Stuart Ritchie talking about bad science and the fact that a lot of the studies we hear about they're often exaggerated, they're even outright fake. You know, Gabe like those articles where it's like, "Turns out eating pineapple three times a week can lower your risk of heart disease and you can eat some watermelon and it'll make you younger by 10 years, according to like—" And it's all just a lot of it is just cherry-picking results and just kind of BS or just totally fabricated bull crap. Surprise. So there's like this crisis in studies. So we talked about that on the show. We also had Charles Koch with Brian Hooks, his co-author on the show. Yeah, that Charles Koch. So a controversial episode, but I thought it was a really interesting conversation and I think you will as well. So make sure you've had a listen to all of that.
[00:01:41] For this advice show you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails as concise as you can try to include a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. What to do about your sister's Neo-Nazi boyfriend? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately. Hit us up at email@example.com. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:02:08] Gabe, this is a beast of a first question. What's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I started working full-time as a firefighter early this year at the age of 22. And I could not be prouder of that accomplishment. I live in a town near some of the ski mountains of Colorado. So my department is quite small. I am one of the five paid firefighters in the department, so I was very lucky to beat out all of the other candidates to get this job.
[00:02:31] Jordan Harbinger: Congratulations. That's pretty huge. I would imagine a lot of people want to be a firefighter, especially a paid one instead of a volunteer.
[00:02:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: However, soon after I started working here, I began to notice some odd behavior from our fire chief. He takes any form of constructive criticism or feedback as a personal attack, getting extremely defensive when you questioned him. As an example, he insisted we should go back to using paper maps instead of smartphones because new technology is just a fad and unreliable. He also can't take any responsibility for his actions and often blames his wrongdoings on my partner's slash shift captain who has 15 years of experience firefighting in the air force and is an overall great guy. The chief also ordered me to stop volunteering for my first fire department or else I was at risk of being fired, citing an out-of-date by law that was written back when the department was strictly volunteer. I had to fight back with my first department's attorneys who sent him to statutes that specifically said that I could not be fired for volunteering in my off time. And that as my boss, he could not regulate how I chose to spend my off time. It turns out he had a personal beef with the chief of my other department. And I felt like he took it as me siding with his rival by wanting to do both. He took this personally and told me that he had lost all faith and trust in me because I defied him
[00:03:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes. Okay. That's not a good side. Whenever anybody says, "I've lost all faith and trust in you because you defied me." And they're doing something wrong. I mean, look, a petty vindictive Luddite never makes a great boss. Yikes.
[00:03:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Here's another, our department covers our local airport, and sometimes the military comes there to test aircraft. The military pays us when we cover the runway for them. And the chief told them that we were aircraft rescue and firefighting capable, which earns us almost an extra $10 per hour. The only problem is we aren't. My partner used to be ARFF certified but isn't anymore. I had just signed up to take an ARF class to earn my certification, but in order to get more money, chief said this was good enough and told the military, we had the certifications to do it. I'm not sure that scamming the armed forces is a good idea, but he got away with it.
[00:04:32] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, he's getting away with it currently, and yeah, that's definitely fraud and you're doing it against the US government that has unlimited resources to prosecute you. Not wise. This guy is a barrel of laughs so far. Go ahead.
[00:04:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: But the thing I have the biggest issue with is this mechanic he hired before anyone else started working there. This mechanic is supposed to perform regular maintenance on the trucks two nights a week. But we found that he maybe spends an hour and a half maximum looking at the trucks before going back into his office for the rest of the day. I occasionally do overnight shifts at the station and I've even recorded time-lapse footage that shows him staying for only four hours and even looking at pictures of topless women on his work computer. I haven't told her chief about all that, but we did go to him with our complaints that the mechanic wasn't doing his job. The chief though, he just insists that he knows this mechanic very well and that he's doing a good job. Here's where the illegal part comes in. Our fire chief is responsible for reviewing our timesheets before he sends them to the town hall to get paid. And if I'm even a half-hour off, he will without fail, pull me aside and question me about it. So me and my partner were shocked when we found out that this mechanic who only works two nights a week, was putting down over 12-hour shifts at a rate of $53 an hour, by comparison, I'm only making $18 an hour working full-time. Our office administrator even flagged it but the chief said that they looked totally fine to him.
[00:05:51] Jordan Harbinger: So this is scam after scam. This guy is a pathological con artist and a petty little turd to boot, but wait, there's more.
[00:06:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: So I can't bring this up to chief since he's the one allowing it at this point, I would go above the chief's head and contact the town administrator, but it turns out that the firefighter I replaced here, that guy built a case against the chief sometime back. And the town administrator then had a conversation with the chief and told him who came to see him and what he said. And the chief promptly fired that other firefighter. At this point, I should mention that we are all at-will employees. So the only reasons I can't be fired are discriminatory ones like race, gender, or religion. My question to you is who do I have to speak with to successfully report my chief without getting fired myself. The best outcome would be to get them out of here. And I'm determined to see this through before I look for other departments or in the more likely event that I'll be stuck with him for the foreseeable future. How do I deal with a superior I cannot trust? A big part of this job is trusting the people around you with your life and I can't do that with him. In fact, he has actually attempted to sabotage me by hiding my bunker gear after throwing a temper tantrum over my days off. He even told me he was planning on throwing it in the dumpster if it weren't so expensive. Clearly, he does not respect me or value my safety. So any advice that won't get me fired or killed would be great. Signed, Battling Backdraft.
[00:07:12] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. Well, I feel like I just heard the plot of a new show on FX because—
[00:07:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:07:18] Jordan Harbinger: —the story—
[00:07:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Tell me about it.
[00:07:19] Jordan Harbinger: —is, or maybe like Bravo Reality TV, where half of its scripted and the chief is fine. The story is wild. I'm kind of shocked that this kind of malfeasance is happening at a fire department. I feel like this is the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from a dirty police precinct in the Bronx or Detroit in the 1970s or something like that. But here it is, it's actually happening. And I'm so sorry that you're in this situation, but you sound like a working and conscientious person. You're basically the epitome of what a firefighter should be, what any public servant should be really. And here you are facing off against Colonel Kurtz of the firefighting world. And that sucks. It's hurtful, it's worrisome and it shouldn't be happening. There's a lot to unpack in your letter, so let's get into it here.
[00:08:00] First, I just want to confirm that what you are going through here is absolutely not okay at all. This chief is a narcissist. He's a Luddite. He's a manipulator. He's a liar. He's arguably a criminal. I mean, I don't even know how arguable that is if you're scamming the armed forces. It's incredibly egotistical. He's massively insecure. He's putting his employees and the public at risk with his petty and reckless behavior. He's wasting public funds. He's maybe even misappropriating public funds. He's trying to control how you spend your personal time, which is just baffling. He's also compromising your ability to do your job safely. He's fighting with other departments. This guy just sounds like cancer, honestly. The fact that he hasn't been disciplined or fired by now is insane. I think there's some small-town politicking and an old boys’ network going on here. But I think it speaks also to how much power this guy wields and how afraid most people are to just stand up to people like this.
[00:08:55] And you know, I get it going up against your boss — that's pretty daunting in any setting in a small fire department where there's a strong chain of command and it's kind of like a family and you don't want to compromise your relationships. In those places, it's even more intimidating. So I understand how tricky this is, and I admire you for having the courage to take this guy on at all. So look, given everything you've shared with us, I got to say there are some very good reasons for you to report this guy because, in a very real way, any public servant who chooses to say nothing in a situation like this owns some responsibility for the results of that silence. If this were a typical office job, if you were working payroll at ADP or something like that, I'd probably tell you, just look the other way, avoid this guy, make some minor changes from the inside out. But like you said, this is a career where the judgment of your superiors is a matter of life or death, not just for you. You're firefighters. You can't have. Trucks that don't work and things like that. When you're getting orders literally to run into, into a burning building, it has to be from somebody you trust. It has to be from somebody you respect. You are in a rare position to stop this guy before he does more serious damage. And not to get all West wing on you here, but that's a theme, we're seeing all levels of the government these days. Standing up and saying something when we witnessed something that is clearly wrong.
[00:10:15] I don't think there's much of a middle ground here. You either need to attack this problem full bore or walk away completely. That said there are some very significant risks as well. And reporting someone like this. And I know you said you were determined to see this through before you look for other departments. There's a lot at stake in that decision, so let's get into it. And just so you know, we consulted with a firefighter, a police officer, and an employment attorney on your question to make sure we were really understanding all of the nuances of a job like yours. So look, if you decide to stay at this department and do something here is what I would do. First, you need to document everything that has happened since you started this job, go back, write down every significant event, conversation decision that took place. Write down the dates they occurred, the people who were involved, the outcomes of those events. This is going to be a crucial document, no matter what you do. And if somebody was around, if somebody was in the room, write their name down too even if they weren't involved with any kind of witness, potential witness. I've said it on the show before document, document, document.
[00:11:18] Once you decide to file a report, you're going to have to decide what to include and not to include. And in your case, there are different degrees of malfeasance going on here, lying about being ARFF certified to the military, hiding your equipment, failing to make sure trucks are getting repaired. That is all very serious. These are decisions that are directly putting you at risk. The stuff about the mechanic getting paid too much and watching porn in his office, that's messed up for sure. The guy's a turd. But to me, he's in a different category since that has nothing to do with your safety or your job debatably. Look, the truck's not working fine, whatever, but this guy fluffing his hours, maybe pick your battles and stay out of that one. You have plenty more serious corruption to report. So I would keep the focus on that.
[00:11:59] And by the way about the volunteer stuff, you probably know this, but paid fire departments typically don't like volunteer departments. According to the firefighter, we consulted with that hatred probably stems from unions, but who knows why your chief has a bug up his ass about that? Possibly he's territorial, probably he's territorial. So the fact that your chief doesn't want you to volunteer, apparently that's very common and there are tons of volunteer firefighters around the country who have to leave their volunteer departments, or they won't get hired at full-time paid departments. The whole thing sounds kind of absurd, but I don't know a lot about it. It's supposed to be getting better. Only 10 to 15 percent of fire stations in the states are a hundred percent paid full-time. So on-call and volunteer firefighters right now, they are the norm, as you probably know. And that's sort of tangential to the main issue, but I just wanted to give that context here for everyone else.
[00:12:47] After you document everything, put together a game plan for how to report this guy, also document things in the cloud. Don't write it down in a notebook and then bring it to work and then it goes missing. Document things in Google Docs or somewhere where you can get a copy even if somebody else grabs your notebook. Put together a game plan for how to report this guy. If you're at a station that is union, you're going to want to go through your union rep. They have enormous resources and retaliation laws in place to protect their members. Based on your email and the fact that another firefighter before you went to the city and did not prevail at all on this and got ratted out and got fired. I'm going to go ahead and guess you're not union. In that case, you should look at OSHA. OSHA as a whistleblower protection program for employees to safely report unsafe or unhelpful working conditions. Lying about being properly certified to work on an airport would certainly qualify for that, so as hiding your equipment when you need it. Of course, you can also go directly to the city, just like your old colleague did, but given the history with that town administrator, I worry it's not going to go your way. The town administrator, I don't know, I'm not an expert in municipal government, but it doesn't sound like that person's going to be in your corner or do much about this sounds like him and the chief are old buddies.
[00:13:57] OSHA will be more in your court most likely. No matter what you do though, I would seriously recommend talking to a whistleblower attorney even if you just consult with one on the phone to talk about your game plan. That's going to be money very well spent if they even charge you for something like this. Get a lay of the land, find out the best channels and resources for somebody in your shoes, ask them what the biggest risks are, what you can expect to happen when you report this guy, how to handle it in the department when word gets out because you're going to need someone experienced on your side here. The labor lawyer we consulted with for this question, by the way, usually represents companies against whistleblowers like you which makes the advice probably even more credible because he knows what works against him when he's trying to defend a company. Anyway, he recommended getting a whistleblower attorney, ideally with experience in public sector cases. I know it's a bit of investment or it could be, but I'd rather have somebody like that guiding me from the get-go, especially in a high-pressure situation like this. Start with a phone call, spend a couple of hundred bucks. Sometimes consults can even be inexpensive or free. That's never a waste of money, though. If you do get charged.
[00:15:01] What about the risks, Gabe? Do you think there's going to be any blowback? Oh, backdraft here. I'm so pissed I missed the term to use that. Is there going to be a backdraft on this one?
[00:15:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, retaliation against whistleblowers, as we all know is extremely common. It's one of the biggest risks of speaking up when you see something like this going down. It takes a lot of strength to deal with it. And I'm not saying that your life is going to be a living hell because of this. You're not — I don't know. You're not Edward Snowden or whatever. But you might be in for some serious blowback from this chief and anybody else in the department who supports him, in the town even who supports him. I don't see this guy quietly cooperating with the investigation and, you know, treating you respectfully while it unfolds according to plan. He will probably chew you out. He could ice you out. He could talk shit about you to other colleagues. He could withhold shifts or overtime or benefits. I don't know. He could continue to mess with you or put you in danger or basically undermine you in any number of ways, anything is possible with this guy. It's just another reason why you should have an attorney guiding you here. Somebody who could look out for you and take legal action if necessary.
[00:16:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't think the chief that wanted to fire you for being a part of a volunteer department because he has beef with another chief is going to go, "Yeah. It seems like we have a reasonable difference of opinion here. Let's talk about it."
[00:16:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: "Yeah. Let's let the process unfold. In the meantime, everything's fine." Yeah. Not going to happen. The other big risk for whistleblowers is stigma. You know what people will think about you after you blow the whistle on your chief and even if you are in the right here, which it sounds like you most definitely are, even if this all works out perfectly, you still might have that label attached to you.
[00:16:33] Jordan Harbinger: Snitch.
[00:16:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, the snitch jacket. That's what cops call it. When one of the fellow cops turns and tells them when they did something wrong or whatever, they get a label and it follows them from locker room to shift to the car to — I mean, it's a big problem. Your colleagues, both at your current department and at other agencies, they might look at you. And look at what you did and ask themselves, "Is this guy going to be a liability for me? Can I trust him to be a team player in a dangerous situation?" Even if that's completely unfounded, they might be wondering that. You know, they're going to be thinking really petty stuff. Like, "If I make an off-color joke on the truck, am I going to have to worry that he's going to file a complaint against me?" I mean, once you have that so-called snitch jacket on. It's very hard to take it off. Maybe impossible. There are just too many personal relationships in this world in law enforcement and firefighting, it's a similar culture.
[00:17:19] It's just like Jordan said too much backslapping going on. It's just one of the many, many reasons that change is so slow to come to jobs like this. So you have to understand that if you report your chief, you might — might, I'm not saying it will happen, but it could happen. You might have trouble getting a job at another agency after this. It's totally unfair, but it is the reality. So you should know that if you apply to another agency after this, they're almost certainly going to call your department and they're probably going to find out what happened. You're going to have to find another chief at another department, who's willing to roll the dice on you, which is tough. It's asking a lot in the firefighting world as I'm sure. You know, there's always someone else in line who doesn't have the same baggage that you do. You might have more luck finding a job at another small agency. Since smaller agencies, they tend to see their people as people, rather than just as a file full of information.
[00:18:05] You could tell your story about what happened with this guy in a way that makes them understand it and understand what happened and give you another shot, but they would still be rolling the dice on you. And as you said, this job depends on trust and people who are not trusted in your line of work. Sadly, they're often ostracized. So maybe, you know, all that, but I just really want it to spell it out because you're 22, you're young.
[00:18:24] Jordan Harbinger: Got your whole life ahead of you as they say.
[00:18:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Got his whole life out of him, which is encouraging actually, because I think this guy has a lot of good stuff up ahead, but he might not be fully immersed in the culture. So he might not know how that stigma actually works. And I'm not saying that that means you shouldn't say something, but if you're going to say something, you need to know what those implications are. And if you listen to everything we just said and thought to yourself, "Yeah, no, I'm not willing to take that on that's way too much. I just want to put my head down and find another job." I can certainly understand why you would feel that way.
[00:18:51] So, Jordan, what does he do if he decides not to report this chief?
[00:18:56] Jordan Harbinger: Well, in that case, I would find another job ASAP and get the hell out of that agency. Your chief has told you that he doesn't have any faith in you. So your prospects at this place — not great, especially in a department, this small, where the chief probably stays in his job for years and years and years. If you still want to do something though, then you have another option which is to go to the media. My recommendation is to find a good investigative reporter, somebody who works at a local newspaper in the closest big city to you, not your local town Gazette that writes about the farmer's market, but like the nearest big town near you. Get the document that you created into their hands. I can almost guarantee you that they'd run with it. Public corruption, always a great story. And if it gets published, I'm pretty sure the city would be forced to take a hard look at this chief and take some kind of action. And by the way, you could always go to the media in addition to formally reporting this guy. If you feel the case needs some extra attention, you can always go that route.
[00:19:50] But when and how did you, that would be a great question for your lawyer and your lawyer, by the way, they might also have media contacts that they like to work with, that they trust that they know we'll put it out there. So definitely consult with them on this question too. And I have one more option for you. Maybe it's the best of both worlds. What if you applied to another department, worked there for six months, even a year, you build your reputation, and then you reported your old chief. That way you're out of the line of fire. You've already got another job secured. Your new colleagues will get to know you they'll trust you without the snitch jacket. And then you'll be in a much safer position to blow the whistle. There will still be risks here. Your new colleagues might still find out and look at you in a different way. But I think that might put you in the strongest possible position. I'm a big fan of that option personally, but it's up to you. Also, you might even find support from your new department and say, "Look, this other guy is putting people at risk. What should I do?" And he might say, "Well, normally we don't like snitches around here, but what we really don't like are dead firefighters." So maybe you should do this and then maybe they will then understand. And if anyone goes, "Oh, that's the snitch." The chief can go, "Well, he came to me before about this. I'm the one that told him to report it." You, kind of, maybe, measure it out with your new department and see, "Hey, what should I do here?"
[00:21:08] Again, bounce that off of your lawyer because you don't want them to then fire you or some other weirdness happening. So my advice here really is to think carefully about your options. Get super clear on your goals, your values, your priorities. Take some time to really think about this. Nobody's life is in immediate danger, hopefully. So you don't have to decide tomorrow. You really want to have a clear grasp of the upside and the risks before you make any big moves. Again, I'm very sorry that you're in this situation, but you're also in a position to do a lot of good here. This could get somebody killed. At the very least, it's an illegal activity. And I hope you find the confidence and the resources you need to make the right decisions for yourself. Good luck, brother.
[00:21:47] All right. Wow. What a doozy that was.
[00:21:49] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:21:56] This episode is sponsored in part by Echelon. You know from listening to the show that staying in decent shape is part of my routine. It's also something that Jen likes to do, especially since we're all cooped up. That's why we're digging Echelon fitness products. When it comes to getting or staying in shape, nothing feels as good as that feeling of accomplishment, hitting your fitness goals, feeling good about yourself. I'm usually talking about a fitness piece of pumpkin pie in my belly. But as far as your physical fitness goes, Echelon can help you get there. Echelon offers the next generation of connected fitness, bikes, fitness mirrors, rowing machines, and they're all new Echelon stride, smart treadmill. No matter what your favorite fitness activity Echelon gives you a fun and challenging workout from the comfort of home. They've got world-class instructors. They'll motivate you. You can take on-demand studio-level classes right from home. It's affordable. And one membership lets up to five family members split and workout all at the same time. Right now, you can try any Echelon fitness equipment at home for 30 days.
[00:22:49] Go to echelon fit.com/jordan. That's E-C-H-E-L-O-N-fit.com/jordan.
[00:22:56] This episode is also sponsored by b8ta. B8ta is a really fun story. There's one right near us. It's not just great gifts. That's definitely part of it, but they have all those products that you see in ads online, and you can go and try them. You can try the e-bikes out. You can try those wheels, surfy type things. They got fitness stuff, they got home stuff, even beauty and lifestyle stuff. You can shop for everyone in the family if you're going to rock the gift-giving this year. I like to go and just see what's new. See what the stuff online looks like in real life. And they do have things that we've ended up using and things that I think are going to be everywhere in the future. So it's kind of cool to see the cutting-edge new stuff.
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[00:23:52] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Therapy — I'm a huge fan. You've heard me say it a zillion times on this show, but I really do believe that therapy is one of the best ways to stay grounded, stay sane. And the holidays are coming up. I don't know about you, but there's always going to be one or two uncles that are the human equivalent of all caps emails. You know what I'm talking about. That is probably going to end up sending me back to therapy honestly. We're doing a Zoom Thanksgiving. That's probably the way we should do it from now on. If you're living with somebody, that's stressing you out. Your job situation, stressing you out. You've got some family stuff, anger stuff, depression that is normal. And you shouldn't have to sit there and just suck it up. Life is too short for that seriously. Schedule your video or phone sessions. Everything's confidential with Better Help. You can always get a new counselor if you don't dig it. A million-plus people are doing this. Again, I think therapy has saved my sanity on numerous occasions. And I recommend Better Help is a great way to get started.
[00:24:46] Jen Harbinger: Better Help is an affordable option and our listeners get 10 percent off your first month with a discount code JORDAN. Get started today at better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:24:57] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:25:02] All right, Gabe, what's next?
[00:25:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear, Jordan. I'm a 30-year-old European woman working for an American tech company in Europe for the last two years. This was my first job in the industry, which I got headhunted for out of the blue. Until recently I was content with my salary until my teammate, a man who has been working in the same position with the same responsibility and the same title for a few months, less than me told me in passing that he makes approximately $1,500 more than me per year. It's important to note that by every metric or job performance is measured, I'm consistently performing better than him. That is not to say he's not doing a good job, but the numbers don't lie. We are the same age. The only difference is how we got our jobs. While I was headhunted for this position, he applied from a lower position in the company. I also have better academic credentials and an overall more impressive resume. In fact, my colleague also told me that he did not actually finish university. While a degree is not a requirement for the position we have. It only makes me feel even more discontent with the wage difference. I do have to blame myself for not negotiating for a higher salary when I first got hired, but with no solid reference points from the industry and the company being fairly unknown in Europe at the time I thought I did all right. And I do need to say that I am by no means unsatisfied with the great and steady job and salary that I do have if only I never found out. My next evaluation is scheduled for three weeks from now. Is there any way for me to negotiate, to match my salary to that of my colleague, after all, shouldn't equal or even slightly better work, get you equal pay? Do I just suck it up or do I stand up for myself? Signed, Inexperienced Negotiator.
[00:26:34] Jordan Harbinger: Well, first of all, I can only imagine how frustrating it is to find out that you get paid less than a male colleague when you're doing a better job than he is. And I can promise you that tons of women and probably many men are listening right now and nodding their heads along to your letter, having been in a similar situation at some point or another, and it is incredibly annoying. On one hand, the metrics don't lie and it should be obvious that you deserve the same or better salary. On the other hand, you're not getting it. So now you have to advocate for yourself, which probably also feels unfair. So before we dive in, let's separate out a couple of things here.
[00:27:10] First, is a man with your same job who's not performing at your level making more than you? Yes. Is it because he's a man? Maybe. Could totally be the case, but as you point out, there are variables here that worked in his favor and not in yours. And those variables, they're not necessarily about you as a person or about your gender, they might be, but they also might not be. And in the grand scheme of things, 1,500 bucks, which while significant, that's like two plane tickets to Bali when the panty-D ends or seven years of Netflix. While that amount is significant, it's not like this guy is making five, 10 grands more than you are. That would be grossly unjust and would probably indicate much more systemic discrimination inside your company.
[00:27:53] I guess, it all depends on what percentage of your total salary that $1,500 is. But the reason I'm bringing it up is this, as you prepare for this negotiation, I think you should be primarily focused on your qualifications and your performance, rather than on this other guy's lack of qualifications or his inferior performance. You should negotiate for what you deserve because you deserve it. Not because somebody else doesn't deserve it. Not because you're wrong, you're absolutely right but because I think it'll help you make the strongest case — but I'll get into that in just a second. So the bottom line is yes, I think you can and should ask for what you deserve. Here's how I'd make that happen.
[00:28:31] And by the way, we consulted with my friend, Michelle Lederman. We'll link to her in the show notes. We wanted to make sure we were covering all of our angles here. Michelle is a fantastic executive coach and the author of Connector's Advantage among many other books. She has tons of experience working with professionals on getting what they want in their careers and in the workplace. If you need a referral to her for any reason, you know, let me know that as well, but we'll incur in the show notes.
[00:28:53] The good news is you have an evaluation coming up in three weeks. So since you've been crushing it, I assume they're going to give you a pretty glowing review. At which point, your managers will basically be setting you up to say, "Cool, glad you all agree that I'm doing a great job. Here's what I'd like to get paid." Gabe, how does she execute on this without creating the wrong impression or like a sense of entitlement or the kind of disgruntled employee that she doesn't really want to come across as being?
[00:29:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, like you said, she's actually set up in a really nice position by having this evaluation come up right around the time that she wants to ask for a raise. So I actually think a lot of the heavy lifting of making the case is already going to be made for her when she decides to schedule this conversation. But that is the first step, schedule the conversation with your managers and/or HR if they're involved to talk about compensation. I would try to schedule that as soon after your performance review as possible, so that, you know, a week or two doesn't go by and then everyone forgets how awesome you are. In this conversation, share your perspective on your performance, share your perspective on your tenure, your experience gets them to agree on your assessment of how you've been performing. In other words, establish from them that you're doing a great job in general and as much as possible, make them recognize that you are doing a better job than your peer is.
[00:30:05] Now at the same time, you're going to have to decide whether you want to bring up your colleague's pay at all in this situation. This is a little delicate. I mean, you don't want to sound petty. By saying like, "Oh, John is making $1,500 more per year than I am. Like, what's with that? Like you should pay me the same." That could really come across the wrong way, but pointing out the difference might force your company to do what's right here. Now, look, there are different schools of thought about this, but here's how I would handle it. I would make your case for what you want to get paid without mentioning the disparity between what you're making, what this guy's making. If your managers agreed to a raise, then you will have gotten what you wanted if they don't and agree to it, though, then I would bring up your colleague's pay as a final factor. You know, like, "Look, I know there are a lot of variables in this decision and I really do feel that I should be compensated on my merits alone, but I also happen to know that my colleague who's in my same role is making more than I am when I'm doing a much stronger job, as you just said yourself. And I think we can both agree that that doesn't really make sense."
[00:30:58] Now, another thing you have to take into account is whether your friend is going to mind if you bring up his salary. This is also a little bit delicate. It might be a bit awkward. Maybe they'll resent him for sharing that with you, but honestly, I'm not sure that's really your problem. He openly told you what he makes. It's not like you can just ignore that. Just be mindful about how you frame it. And I would frame it as wanting to be paid equally to, or more than this guy, based on your performance, rather than complaining about the injustice of being paid less than he is. Once you've gotten them to agree to your assessment. Then I would ask them how they're going to reflect that in your compensation, let them solve this problem for you. If salaries at your company are based solely on rank and title, then yours should be equal. If they're based on merit and you just established with them that your merit is higher than you should be paying more, end of story.
[00:31:44] You can let them know that you will accept that rectification in your bonus in the current year, but that you expect your base salary to be corrected for next year. I would definitely set clear expectations there. And if a bonus is impossible, for whatever reason, then maybe explore other opportunities for you to be made whole, I don't know what those look like at your company. Is it stock options? Is it a bump in another quarter or is it some kind of like project-by-project-based incentive or something like that? There are lots of options. Now, they might try and pass the buck here. When you ask for your raise, I wouldn't let them do that in this conversation, ask them what they can do, not what they can't do. That was one of the best pieces of advice we got from Michelle. Ask them to speak up for you if they agree with you, and if they refuse to make you whole for this year, but agree to raise your salary next year. Then decide what you will and won't put up with.
[00:32:28] Like Jordan said, if this were five, eight, $10,000, I would have zero qualms about pushing to be made whole for the year. But since it's $1,500 and I'm guessing that's probably a relatively small percent of your overall salary, honestly, I would probably let that go for the past year and just hold firm on getting your raise next year. Treat that lost money if you want to think of it that way. Treat it as a small price to pay for learning how to negotiate like this, which I'm pretty sure you will have to do again at some point in your career.
[00:32:55] Jordan Harbinger: Now, if you do all of that and they still refuse to pay you what you deserve, then it's going to be time to think about other options. My advice is always to look for another job because if you get a competing offer, that is always the best leverage in a situation like this, or you just take the offer that you get and sort of leveraging it. And you think, "All right, this is a great learning experience." You got pushed out of the nest and into a better gig, but I know you enjoy your job and you want to keep it. And so I hope you get to keep it. I'm sorry that you're in this situation. I know it's frustrating and unfair, but I'm also happy that you now have a chance to work on your negotiation.
[00:33:31] This is a really critical and crucial skill for anyone of any gender at any stage in their career. And if you negotiate well, you are going to make a lot more than just the $1,500 deficit. You're going to be able to renegotiate every year. And you're going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars more over the course of your career most likely. So good luck with it.
[00:33:52] All right. What's next?
[00:33:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan, our company does an auction every year to raise funds for a local charity. I happened to bid $17 on a $360-golf trip with one of the vice presidents of the company. And I'm assuming because of COVID no one outbid me and now I'm stuck playing golf with this guy.
[00:34:08] Jordan Harbinger: Wait, hold on, hold on a second. First of all, how much of a knob do you have to be like, "Well, it's a $360-golf trip, but I bet it's going to go for a lot more money because they get to play with this guy." Right? Like who wants to go golfing with — well, a lot of people do, but very few people want to pay to go golfing with their boss on their off time.
[00:34:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, it just gets better after this because the letter goes on.
[00:34:33] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:34:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: The thing is he is one of the less likable VPs.
[00:34:37] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that's how it was $17. No, thanks. Not going to go with that guy. He sucks.
[00:34:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: There were two other golf trips that auction for $150 or more, which goes to show how people feel about this guy.
[00:34:51] Jordan Harbinger: I'd rather pay $150 to go golfing with another boss than pay $18 and go golfing with that guy.
[00:34:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ouch I hope this guy didn't check the like little sign-in sheet beneath this section on the silent auction. That's so painful. Okay, the letter goes on, it says I've never played golf — this gets worse. I've never played golf before. And I also wouldn't really know how to find common ground with a 50-year-old conservative white man. So here's my question. How can I find some common ground to not make this round of golf a bad experience and get on this guy's radar? This company is all about who you know if you want to move up and I would love to have this guy at my side. Signed, Dreading the Divot.
[00:35:29] Jordan Harbinger: This is just brutal. I don't mean to laugh. But it's kind of funny. This is like a sitcom situation.
[00:35:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: This a hundred percent a Curb Your Enthusiasm.
[00:35:38] Jordan Harbinger: Right, like you have to bid on something fine. I'll put $17 down. No one's going to want that. And then cut to bursting in the door. Like I won, what am I going to do?
[00:35:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: This is just rough. One night after a couple of whiskey sodas. You bid 17 bucks to support a children's charity. You know, kids with cancer, not thinking you're going to win. Next thing you know, you're playing 18 holes with Jim Blenders, from finance. Awkward.
[00:36:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: So awkward.
[00:36:03] Jordan Harbinger: At the same time, this is a guy who's important in your company and who would be good to know. So it's a good opportunity, right? Here's the thing. If you've never played golf before this game is going to be awful, it's going to be painful. You're going to hate it. He's going to get annoyed that he has to do it with you. I doubt it's going to build your relationship. He's just going to be like, "Ah, this was painful. I'm sitting here waiting for this idiot to—"
[00:36:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Give him notes on his putt.
[00:36:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like we're here on your 17th stroke on a par three. And he's just like, "Get me out of here." You've got a couple of moves here. The first move, you can write them an email or better in my opinion, pop into his office — I don't even know if he can do that now — but just tell him you've never played golf before. And since you don't want to force him to hit the links with a noob, would he like to take the golf game and just invite someone else? That way you're being gracious to him. You're giving yourself an out, you're giving him an out. And who knows? Maybe that's actually the best way to build a relationship with this guy by sparing him the obligation and giving him a nice game with somebody else that he actually likes if there is anybody like that. Just know that if he doesn't take you up on that offer, like he goes, "Well, I'd love to, but the company is paying for it. So it has to be with you because that's the rules." It's going to be hard for you to say, "Well, she's just being polite. I really can't stand the thought of spending three, four hours alone with you. You're a terrible person." You might be stuck doing this.
[00:37:20] You do have another option here though, which is this, you could ask Jim Blenders over in finance. If he'd be willing to teach you how to play and you can make this experience a lesson, he might not want to do that, which is fair enough. Fine. But if he's willing to teach you, then it would definitely give you guys something to do and to talk about, and that could change your whole dynamic. You might not have the time of your life, but if it gives you some FaceTime with this guy, it's probably a good investment. You could also ask if he wants to do something else, maybe instead of golf, you know, if it's not purchased already, just go get a super badass meal at a steakhouse or something. Maybe your filet mignon game and your seafood tower game might be a little tighter than your golf game. Gabe, what do you think? Am I leaving anything out here?
[00:38:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, I'm just wrapping my head around the idea of a seafood tower game.
[00:38:09] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds pretty good right now.
[00:38:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: What does that mean though? Like, you're just excellent with seafood tower.
[00:38:13] Jordan Harbinger: Your seafood tower game. It means you can house a prawn.
[00:38:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, got it. Okay, cool.
[00:38:17] Jordan Harbinger: Or in an oyster?
[00:38:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:38:19] Jordan Harbinger: Like nobody—
[00:38:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's what you need in corporate America to get ahead. Well, listen, whether you end up playing golf with this guy or not, I might consider shifting your thinking on this just a little bit. You're thinking of it as a horrible obligation, which I can understand, but you could also think of it as an opportunity to learn how to connect with someone who's different from you. I mean, I know this guy sucks. I get it. It's not how I would want to spend a Saturday either, but life is full of people who are different from us and who seem kind of difficult to approach and get to know. And part of our job, I think, is to figure out how to bridge those gaps. The truth is everybody, no matter who they are, they're interesting in some way, deep down, and the fact that nobody wanted to play with this guy tells me that he's probably pretty lonely. He probably feels isolated in the office. And my guess is that he probably struggles with his social skills too.
[00:39:02] So if you play golf with this guy, and even if you don't, even if you work on your seafood tower game with this guy at a Ruth's Chris Steak House, I would give this guy a shot. Ask him some good questions, listen to what he says. Follow up with more good questions. Just get curious about him. Get curious about his past and what he does at work and how he does it. I mean, there's some pretty basic good questions you could ask him that would probably make you a little bit better at your job. We all have things that are universal about us, right? We have goals and experiences and feelings and family and whatever else he's been through. He might not be your BFF in the office. He probably won't be yucking it up by the current machine, in the break room anytime soon. Not just because of COVID, but because he sucks as we've said over and over again.
[00:39:41] Jordan Harbinger: Because he's awful.
[00:39:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because he's awful. But that doesn't mean that you can't have one good conversation with him. Who knows? Maybe it'll be the one person who actually manages to connect with this guy. And like you said, that's important to your company. So I think it's definitely worth trying.
[00:39:55] Jordan Harbinger: Or this guy really does suck and he's a boring, old coot whose most interesting quality is that he knows every Excel shortcut. Right? And then it'll just be a few hours one Saturday. You can tell your friends how terrible and awkward it was, but I bet you can make it okay. Just make sure you do it over an activity that brings you together rather than one that actually drives you apart. So one that builds social capital instead of costing your social capital.
[00:40:21] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:40:26] This episode is sponsored in part by Lids. You need to find the perfect gifts this season and Lids has the hookup, whether you're looking for officially licensed sports gear or iconic brands like Nike Adidas and Champion. Lids is the largest retailer of hats in North America. Visit any Lids store and an associate will help you find the perfect cap for anyone on your holiday gift list. Lids is the leader in headwear, including all the authentic major league baseball on-field caps, NFL sideline caps, and knits, plus a huge variety of fashion styles, colorways, Lids exclusives. We've got a special offer just for our listeners. Jen.
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[00:43:06] Jen Harbinger: Let NetSuite show you how they'll benefit your business with a free product tour at netsuite.com/jordan. Schedule your free product tour right now at netsuite.com/jordan, netsuite.com/jordan.
[00:43:18] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show. And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:43:36] All right, last but not least.
[00:43:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan. I've had a Robinhood account for about five years and I've used it to invest in stocks and options.
[00:43:43] Jordan Harbinger: Robinhood, by the way, for those of you who don't know it lets you invest in stocks, ETFs, options, cryptocurrency with no fees, very popular service/app right now. It's kind of like an online bank.
[00:43:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Three weeks ago, I signed up for Robinhood's cash management feature, which sends you a debit card so that you can access the cash in your account. Days after signing up for it, a hacker gained access to my account, sold my $6,000 worth of stocks and options—
[00:44:07] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:44:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: —then transferred the cash to the debit card that had not yet arrived to me all in five minutes. I notified Robinhood within an hour of this happening. Two weeks have passed and even though I've emailed them for updates every few days, Robinhood's customer service sends me generic responses that don't really tell me if my funds will be returned or when my account will be unrestricted. I cannot make any trades or withdrawals until this is resolved. So my questions for you are. Is there anything I can do in the meantime to help ensure that my funds will be returned to me? is Robinhood responsible for returning the stocks and options that were sold without my authorization, or just responsible for returning the funds that were stolen? If they are only responsible for returning the funds, then what are the tax implications of the gains from the unauthorized trades? It doesn't seem fair that I might be on the hook for them. And if Robinhood does not return my funds, do I have any legal recourse that I can pursue? Signed, Robin Hoodwinked.
[00:45:01] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. Well, I'm very sorry to hear this happen to you as someone who thought his phone was being hacked into, by Scarlett Johansson from the movie, Her, I know how gross it is to feel like someone's all up in your stuff, stolen a significant amount of money from you on top of it. Look, you're not alone here. Robinhood hacks have been in the news a lot lately. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Bloomberg ran an article, which we'll link in the show notes about a bunch of people who are in your exact same situation. Their Robinhood accounts were liquidated, a huge headache, trying to get Robinhood to make them whole. By the way, I actually kind of dig Robinhood. It's a great idea. I think the company is trying pretty hard right now. So I don't want this to be like slamming on them. I also wanted to give you some solid advice here. So I consulted with Corbin Payne, defense attorney, and a good friend of the show. I also called up Robinhood to run your situation by them, anonymously, of course. And I got an interesting response from them as well.
[00:45:54] And before I dive in just a quick disclaimer, as you know, I'm a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. But in this case, I'm stepping even further outside of my tiny, tiny legal wheelhouse. So as I share my thoughts, please keep in mind that I'm just looking at the plain language in the Robinhood customer agreement, where applicable I am not offering you a super deep or sophisticated legal argument. Anything I say should be interpreted in that light. If you need further counsel, I highly recommend hiring a lawyer with very specific expertise in consumer financial products and in the laws governing your state, especially since the Robinhood agreement has several jurisdiction clauses in their cause they operate all over the country.
[00:46:33] All right, starting with your main question. Is there anything to help ensure that my funds will be returned to me? Well, I went looking at the latest Robinhood customer agreement revised on June 22nd, 2020. And in subsection one of appendix A — yeah, I went deep — it provides that they will reimburse you if you think your card or pin has been lost or stolen, or if you believe that an electronic fund transfer has been made without your permission and you can lose no more than $50. There is a caveat here, though. You have to let them know within two business days of finding out about the theft. If you wait longer than two days, Robinhood's share of the liability may be lowered and you could lose as much as $500. Since you notified Robinhood within an hour or so of finding out about the theft. You should get most of your money back, less than 50 bucks. In fact, they'll probably give it all back because — I don't know, Gabe, there's something like super cheap about them being like, "Well, by law, we're allowed to keep 50 of these dollars." It's just kind of crappy customer service. Credit card companies are the same. They just give you all your money back. They don't keep the 50 bucks.
[00:47:34] At the same time, Robinhood is within its rights to take some time to conduct an investigation, to ensure that that fraud actually did occur, but after a reasonable period, a week, 10 days, whatever, which is actually Robinhood's policy, after that, they need to either pay up or demand further documentation from you about what happened. If Robinhood is not responding reasonably to your case, if they're just completely out of order here, then you should consider escalating this within the company, ask to speak with the fraud department. Demand to speak to supervisors. If that doesn't work, demand to speak to legal. That should get their attention.
[00:48:12] If you do escalate this all the way to legal on the phone, I recommend that you write a certified letter to the legal department, basically just restating what has been discussed with legal during that call. That way, if they don't bother to respond to this certified letter, they don't get to come back later and say, "Oh, that wasn't our position. You misunderstood." They can't do that because you summarize their position as you understood it, put it in a certified letter, and then they got it. And you have proof that they did. If they respond with some different reason, that becomes your proof, that the company won't pony up in violation of law, honestly.
[00:48:46] Either way you need to start building a case for yourself. Keep good documentation of all your emails, phone calls, and all other communication with Robinhood or any bank where this happens, track the timeline of your case and how it's unfolding day to day, basically create a super clear and detailed record of this whole experience. This will be a huge asset to you. No matter what you do. If Robinhood doesn't return your funds, then yeah. You have other avenues to pursue. The next step is to gear up for making a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint. Robinhood has an SEC probe going on right now, over some other questionable practices. So this might be a good time to bring a complaint like this. If you do file a complaint with the CFPB, then include a copy of all that documentation so they can really understand your case. We'll link to the CFPB complaint page in the show notes here as well.
[00:49:37] Another option available to you is the consumer fraud division in your state. A state entity conducting an investigation into an out-of-state bank can get tricky, but it would be worth bringing this issue to your state's attention. If nothing else, the state could impact Robinhood's ability to do business in that state. If it turns out that they're systematically failing to respond to cases like yours, they have to respond.
[00:49:59] A third option is to just report this to the police. This might not do anything, probably won't result in any action. It might be redundant if you do everything else we just mentioned, but it could come in handy for tax purposes. I'll come back to that in a second. If all else fails, consider taking legal action. Now, look, I realized the amount of money in question here is probably going to be less than what you'd spend on a lawyer. It's certainly less than what your time is worth. So you're going to have to make that call. My hope is that you can lean on Robinhood hard enough to get them to resolve this for you, but taking legal action can sometimes be a great way to affect change if nothing else will. Maybe all you need is a strong letter from an attorney to force them to pay attention to you in the first place.
[00:50:38] Now is Robinhood responsible for returning the stocks and options that were sold without your authorization, or just responsible for returning the funds that were stolen? That's a good question for Robinhood. I'm fairly sure they're only on the hook for returning the stolen funds. If they refund your six grand, they're not also going to refund you some additional amount in the form of stocks or options. They're not going to try and repurchase securities for you instead of giving you cash. I would imagine it's just like getting reimbursed by an insurance company after an earthquake. They don't go, "Sorry, your vase broke. Here's some money and also another vase from someone else's grandma with them." Right? With the money you recover, you can simply buy the stocks and the options again although I recognize the price might have changed since this all happened, which brings us to your last question.
[00:51:23] Will you be on the hook tax-wise for gains from this unauthorized trade? Well, we consulted a tax attorney on this question too. And the answer is, of course, it depends. Since the hackers stole your assets, you might be able to claim a deduction for a theft loss, your CPA, whoever does your taxes. They're going to know about that. However, if Robinhood does end up reimbursing you, then that could offset the losses. It might even create a gain. And I think that's what you're worried about. In that case, you could be looking at what is called a personal casualty gain. That means any gain from an involuntary conversion theft of your property, arising from theft, but there are caveats here too. The property in question cannot be connected with a trade business or transaction entered into for profit, which unfortunately might include your stocks and options. So it's tricky. You need someone to configure this out for you at the time, depending on what Robinhood does, since there are so many specific limitations around these deductions.
[00:52:20] You just got to do your homework, make sure your accountant is well versed in the latest regs. They probably should be to save you a little time, willing to the relevant theft and casualty loss statutes, the IRS publications, the tax form for you. That's all in the show notes. You're welcome. According to the attorney we consulted, his name is Nathan Perry, by the way. The most important thing is to report your case to the police and document it so that if the IRS ever comes about asking about the deduction, you got some proof. Again, document, document, document.
[00:52:50] Like I said, we called Robinhood to talk about your case. And a Robin hood spokesperson said that whenever they are made aware of account issues, they work directly with customers to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. In other words, they are not going to tell me what was going on with your case. They told me a lot of things. I'm going to skip to the highlights here. Whenever a customer reports fraudulent debit card account activity, they investigate and determine whether there was fraud within 10 business days. And if they need more time, they'll provide you — the consumer — with provisional credit for the full disputed amount. They should be giving you their freaking money back. Your money back that is. Have they done that? If they haven't, escalate. For debit card transactions, they will finalize their investigation within 90 days from the time you reported the fraud to them. So they have more time, but they should be giving you a provisional credit here.
[00:53:36] What was described was not stemming from a breach of Robinhood systems. So they didn't get hacked. It may be related to an overall increase in targeted cybercrime, against users of financial products. A lot of people are getting, having this happen to them and it's not like they went in and stole the data. They got your password somehow. Who knows? Because of this increase in cybercrime. This week in an effort to help consumers continue to protect their accounts, Robinhood has rolled out all these different communications, including two-factor authentication, which you should be definitely using on anything important. That's where they text you and they text you a code to log into things like LinkedIn or whatever. They're trying to verify personal information. They're encouraging strong password practices. Don't use the same password everywhere. We've talked about that a million times. Robinhood is working on their communication. They're working on customer service. They've doubled the size of their customer support team this year. So they're really working at this. I think they're overwhelmed again. I think they're a good company. That's probably trying hard and is just getting slammed right now. So you'll get your money back. It just might take longer.
[00:54:35] Keep in mind. Platforms like Robinhood, they're still new. They're still a little bit risky, kind of. They're cool though and they're exciting. And you're taking a risk by using them, kind of, but not really, right? They're going to give you your money back. I actually like Robinhood for what it's worth. Like I said, they're getting hit hard by cyber lately. I think it's growing pains from what's essentially a modern bank. I think they'll eventually do right by you as their insured. They want to keep their customers, perhaps even more than most big banks. They probably care about you more than most commercial banks. So sit tight. Escalate if you need to. Circle back if you need to, I think they've got you on this.
[00:55:08] I hope you all enjoyed that and want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out the episodes with Stuart Ritchie and Charles Koch with Brian Hooks if you haven't checked those out yet. I highly recommended it.
[00:55:18] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great folks, manage my relationships, using systems and tiny habits, check out our Six-Minute Networking course. It's free. There's no upsells. It's on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. That way you don't have to pay for an auction to go to a golf game in order to network. You're going to build those relationships before you need them in the way that you want to do it. The drills take a few minutes a day. Ignore it at your own peril. I wish I knew this stuff a couple of decades ago, it's been crucial for my personal life, my business. You can find that all at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:55:53] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of this Feedback Friday episode on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi. You got to change one of them. You got to change one of them. You got to.
[00:56:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Why? Just because you don't want to say it twice. Is that it?
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, primarily for my own benefit, nothing to do with your convenience.
[00:56:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'll just drop a line to Twitter and have them snatch that away.
[00:56:25] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe. Instagram might be. You got to be able to change it. Right? I don't know. I don't know how it works.
[00:56:29] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. And my amazing team includes Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabe Mizrahi. Keep sending in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own. And I'm a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:57:07] Now I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before we get into that, I wanted to give you a quick bite of the episode I did a while back with skating legend, Tony Hawk. Tony virtually defined the entire sport of skating and was innovating in the niche before anyone even gave it a second look. His marketing and business savvy and stories of some very close calls really made this a good one.
[00:57:28] Tony Hawk: I picked up skating at the tail end of its first boom in the '70s. That was the trend. And then when I discovered the possibilities and I literally saw people flying out of empty swimming pools, that was my wow moment. There was like a danger factor. There was this edgy factor and I just devoted myself to it. I wanted to learn how to fly.
[00:57:47] Jordan Harbinger: For guys who considered themselves nerds and outcasts. You were pretty tough.
[00:57:51] Tony Hawk: That is the defining moment. If you want to do it seriously or continue to do it is the moment you get hurt. One of my worst injuries in the beginning was I got a concussion. I knocked my teeth out. I knew when I woke up in the pro shop of the scape part that I wanted to get back out there and do it.
[00:58:06] I can't believe people still recognize me. I can't believe that I get recognized for skating because that was never something that was a goal. There was never something that was an option when I was younger. The most famous skaters when I started skating were only known to a very small group of skateboarders. They were in the skate magazines. They were definitely not on TV. They weren't considered sports stars. I still feel strange that I get recognized. You know, it's weird skateboarding now, some people get into it to be rich or famous. When I got into it, neither one of those things was even possible.
[00:58:41] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Tony Hawk, including how he almost lost control of his brand entirely, check out episode 324 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:58:51] Jen Harbinger: Support for today's episode comes from Progressive Insurance. Fun fact, Progressive customers qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up for Progressive auto insurance. Discounts for things like enrolling in automatic payments, ensuring more than one car, going paperless, and of course, being a safe driver. Plus, customers who bundle their auto with home, or add renter's insurance, save an average of 12 percent on their auto. There are so many ways to say when you switch and once you're a customer with Progressive, you get unmatched claim service with 2/7 support online or by phone. It's no wonder why more than 20 million drivers trust Progressive, and why they've recently climbed to the third-largest auto insurer in the country. Get a quote online at progressive.com in as little as five minutes and see how much you could be saving. Auto insurance from Progressive Casualty Insurance company and affiliates. Home and renter's insurance not available in all states. Provided and serviced by affiliated and third-party insurers. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
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