Follow by Email

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Can I see some ID?

By now you’ve probably seen the video of the guy who crashed the Super Bowl MVP interview. Matthew Mills claimed to be a 9/11 “truther” and couldn’t believe it when he was able to get so close without proper credentials or reason to be there.

Mills was quickly apprehended and escorted out of the room. His post arrest statement explained how he had made it to the podium. Mills said he told officials that he was running late for work and had to get in. He was allowed to pass. Mills did not think that he would get as far as he did as he moved further and further through each level of security. Once past the final gate and into the stadium it was just a matter of jockeying to the podium.

The NFL and local law enforcement had concentric circles of security that had an extended perimeter well beyond the stadium. So how did an individual get so close as to snatch the microphone away from the podium? Apparently, walk fast and act like you belong came into play here as Mills just talked his way through.


Impostors are regularly in the news portraying doctors, lawyers, and professors. In 2009, Michaele and Tareq Salahi made headlines when they were found to have crashed a State dinner at the White House. Without invitations, they looked and dressed the part of invitees and were able to penetrate several layers of security. One the most famous imposters is Frank Abagnale. Abagnale impersonated airline pilots, doctors, and attorneys, all before his capture at the age of 21. He simply looked and acted the parts. It’s how phone scammers are able to get people to wire their life savings to a complete stranger. They are confident and convincing in whatever it is they’re selling.

Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying, “Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.”

Everyone falls for a scam of one kind or another at some point. Whether it’s helping a Nigerian prince get his money to safety or giving money to a panhandler, we all have either fallen for it or been hit on. Why does it work? Most people are trusting and want to see the good in others. We trust authority and are vulnerable to financial gain. When you get a call from a “reputable” company announcing a refund you’re more likely to give up personal information.

Matthew Mills probably caught security at just the right moment. The big game is over and suddenly someone rushes up excitedly saying he’s late and needs to get to his job. The game is over. Who’d be trying to sneak in then?

You don’t have to be gullible to be taken by con artists. Even the FBI and Secret Service have their moments. Remember, just because someone “looks or speaks the part” doesn’t mean it’s true. A lot of times a few questions will get through their mask.

Keep your guard up and be safe.


  1. As always I appreciate your unique experience and sound advice. We actually had a Vice president of a tech company fall for the "Nigerian Prince" scam. Our HR had paid a hotel room when they were duped into believing that an employee on travel had lost their passport. After this we all had to have a password when on travel.
    Well said Mazzella.

    1. Even the some of the brightest can fall for simple ploys. Thank you reading. Your comment is much appreciated.