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  • Geebo 9:52 am on May 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Candace Payne, , , viral video   

    Off Topic Friday: Mom in Star Wars mask breaks the internet 

    Off Topic Friday: Mom in Star Wars mask breaks the internet

    You can never predict what goes viral on the internet. This past week Texas mother of two Candace Payne took the internet by storm after she livestreamed herself on Facebook Live trying on a Chewbacca mask from the Star Wars franchise of movies. This video is as follows…

    Candace’s video shortly became the most watched video on Facebook exceeding 134 million views. The lighthearted four-minute video led to a star-studded whirlwind tour in Ms. Payne’s life. Not only did she get a tour of the Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California but she also received a tour of Lucasfilm Studios and got to meet new Star Wars head JJ Abrams and Peter Mayhew who portrays Chewbacca in the movies.

    What do you think of the ‘Wookie Mom’? Are you happy for her, totally jealous or both? Please leave your comments below and have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

     
  • Geebo 10:22 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , insurance   

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick 

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick

    The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was designed to bring affordable healthcare coverage to US citizens who previously couldn’t afford it. Even with Obamacare there are still a vast number of Americans who can’t afford health coverage. Many of those desperate for some kind of coverage may respond to one of the many ads for discount healthcare coverage that they may have found online, on TV, or even on a roadside sign that promises great benefits at a cut-rate price. As is the norm in many of these cases, the promises of great coverage for your family go largely unfulfilled.

    A lot of these healthcare plans aren’t insurance but they’re what’s called discount programs. In some cases these programs make a deal with a local or national PPO network and will allow you to see doctors at the same discounted rate that fully insured people get however the plan doesn’t actually pay any money on your behalf to your doctor. You only get a discount and still have to pay the majority of your bill to the doctor’s office. Many healthcare professionals may be in-network with the PPO plan named on the discount card but a great number of them won’t even accept any patients using only a discount plan. That’s not even mentioning that these discount plans don’t fulfill the Individual Mandate requirements of Obamacare that say those that don’t have sufficient health coverage will be fined by the government.

    Here’s a tip on how not to be fooled by these programs if you’re looking for real healthcare coverage. There’s one word you need to keep an eye out for and that word is ‘insurance’. If the ad does not use the word insurance then it isn’t healthcare coverage that you need. Back in the days when fax machines were more prevalent than the internet these plans would spam fax machines with these same promises but in very small print at the bottom, sometimes blurred out by poor quality faxes, would be a disclaimer that said ‘This is not insurance.’

    While these ads may use words that sound like they may be insurance, unless they use the actual word they’re not.

     
  • Geebo 8:49 am on May 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , tickets   

    Online ticket sales are rip-offs 

    Online ticket sales are rip-offs

    And I’m not even talking about the exorbitant service fees that legal ticket vendors add on.

    Anyway if you’re looking to buy tickets to that sold out concert, game or show you may have considered looking to online marketplaces in hopes for finding a pair of tickets at a reasonable price. Best of luck to you since finding tickets like that is almost like finding the Holy Grail but here are some tips to use in order to avoid being scammed.

    The first is being asked to wire the payment to the seller. This is a good tip to keep in mind with just about any online transaction. If someone asks you to wire the money to them through services like MoneyGram or Western Union it’s more than likely a scam. In cases like this the tickets never existed and the seller is almost impossible to track and you’ll lose your money and have no tickets. While those wiring services are legitimate services for sending money to people you know they are used heavily by scammers.

    Another tip to keep in mind is to never buy the copy of an e-ticket from someone online. There’s nothing stopping someone from buying an e-ticket with a stolen credit card then selling copies of the e-ticket to multiple victims.

    This last item isn’t as much of a tip as it is an explanation. You usually can’t defend yourself against counterfeiters. Once you’ve been sold a counterfeit ticket you’ve already lost and you have little recourse against the scammer. Counterfeits range from cancelled tickets that were charged on stolen credit cards to tickets that were printed on a computer that look so genuine it’s almost impossible to tell apart from the real thing.

    With the summer months upon us many of these activities will be in full swing. Don’t let yourself fall into one of these traps.

     
  • Geebo 8:22 am on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Colorado, marijuana,   

    Can legal weed be sold online? 

    Can legal weed be sold online?

    DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement for the use of or prohibition of recreational marijuana use. This is merely the discussion of a topic.

    Whether or not you’re a fan of legal recreational marijuana use or not you can’t ignore the economic impact it has had on states like Colorado and Washington. This industry however, is tightly regulated by the state. Not just anyone can set up shop in these states.

    That hasn’t stopped people from trying to be the modern-day equivalent of street corner pot dealers. In Colorado specifically, police are patrolling online venues looking for illegal marijuana sales. While the recreational use of marijuana may be legal the recreational sale of it is not. Some people are using their medical marijuana cards to legally purchase it then turn around and try to sell it online for a profit. Others are growing their legally allowed personal plants and trying to sell them online. Both of those practices are considered illegal since the sellers are circumventing tax laws and we all know how seriously the government takes their tax money. That’s how the Treasury Dept. was able to apprehend Al Capone.

    Just because something that was previously contraband that has now been made legal doesn’t make the situation like the Wild West. If you use, please use in moderation and obey all local laws and ordinances.

     
  • Geebo 9:24 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBB,   

    Is this the ultimate scam busting tool? 

    Is this the ultimate scam busting tool?

    Scams exist everywhere these days. Not only has the internet become a virtual goldmine for scammers and con artists but scams still persist in the offline world. What’s worse is that these scams often target specific geographic locations in the country at different times. If you want to keep tabs on probable scams in your area you definitely want to bookmark the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker. If you allow the Scam Tracker to discern your location it will tell you about both the on and offline scams that are occurring in your area. For example, in the Kansas City area there’s a scam going on where someone will call you pretending to be the IRS telling you that you have an overdue tax bill while they try to get some kind of payment out of you. For the record, the IRS never contacts anyone by phone.

    Even if you’re tech savvy or street smart you should still check out the scams going on in your community from time to time. You’d be surprised how often that your friends or family members could be targeted by scammers. With the help of the BBB you could be a potential protector of your community.

     
  • Geebo 6:44 am on May 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , New York City,   

    Off Topic Friday: Craig’s new modest $6M NYC digs 

    Off Topic Friday: Craig's new modest $6M NYC digs

    Not an accurate depiction. Or is it?

    Craig Newmark, founder of the list that bears his name, likes to portray himself as a man of the people. Mr. Newmark likes to say that he’s not about the money. If you were to see craigslist’s home office you may think that was true. The building in San Francisco is so unassuming that if you were passing by you might miss it if you blink. Craig has often bemoaned that craigslist’s profit margins are so razor-thin that they can not hire additional staff such as moderators or customer service reps.

    Now it seems that craigslist’s profits may be more lucrative than Mr. Newmark was possibly leading us to believe. Recently Craig bought a $6 Million home in New York City. According to the New York Post the modest home takes up two floors of a four-story building and has three bedrooms and 3 and a half baths in the West Village. This won’t be Mr. Newmark’s primary residence either. This will be his New York crash pad for when he’s conducting business in New York. His primary residence will remain in the Bay Area where real estate prices are some of the most expensive in the country.

    Now we would never begrudge someone for their success, except when it comes at the cost of their honesty, ethics and the safety of their customers.

     
  • Geebo 7:44 am on May 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The craigslist safety app is too little too late 

    The craigslist safety app is too little too late

    Recently craigslist announced that they have sanctioned a smartphone app that shows users where they can supposedly make transactions safely. The app is said to show the locations of coffee shops and police stations. While we commend craigslist for finally starting to think about the safety of their users we here at Geebo have to ask, what took them so long?

    We’re not even talking about the fact that Geebo is an industry leader when it comes to assisting in our customers’ safety. For example back in March of last year Geebo CEO Greg Collier partnered with the SafeTrade Stations initiative that was started by industry watchdog, The AIM Group. The SafeTrade Stations program was started in response to the fact that at the time 84 people had been violently murdered after using craigslist. That number has since risen to 103. While these deaths may only be a minute fraction of the number of transactions that take place on craigslist it should be a large enough number to cause craigslist concern. However this is the first step, as far as we can recall, that craigslist has taken in years to aid in the safety of their users, except they didn’t even take this step. Another company developed the app and craigslist just gave it their seal of approval. So in reality craigslist barely lifted a finger.

    This is not surprising considering craigslist’s lax history when it comes to safety. They say that their site is too large to moderate their ads yet they have no problem in pulling all sorts of ads that aren’t even flagged by their so-called ‘community police’. In the past they’ve pulled ads for such things as unlocked iPhones to recalled baby strollers yet they don’t pull ads for such things as illegal drugs, firearms, human trafficking and the multitude of scams that craigslist is awash with. Speaking of their community police, it seems the term police is used rather loosely. For lack of a better term it seems that the craigslist community police are a case of the inmates running the asylum. Too often craigslist ads are flagged for personal reasons like the ad is flagged by a competitor of the ad’s poster. While on the other hand they tend not to flag any ads for obvious illegal activity. In contrast Geebo has its ads moderated by staff members who have a keen eye when it comes to scams and illegal content.

    In the past craigslist was infamous for its adult ads where human trafficking thrived. Although it did remove those ads after consumer and media pressure, craigslist still has sections that could be considered dark alleys of the internet. An inordinate amount of arrests have been generated from their personals and the ‘casual encounter’ section of craigslist along with an inordinate number of victims of online predators. Years ago Greg Collier, against common practice, removed personal ads from Geebo  in order to better provide a safer experience to Geebo’s users. At no point did Geebo ever accept ads that had their roots in human trafficking.

    Geebo even takes the safety and welfare of those unable to defend themselves seriously. Another Geebo policy is that we do not accept ads that deal  in animals. This is because of the number of puppy mills that deal in unhealthy animals but also because of the number of scams that involve animals. However on craigslist you can find a number of either wild, dangerous, illegal or unhealthy animals.

    For a company that professes to be such a pillar of not only the online community but the real world community as well craigslist doesn’t appear to be acting in any community’s self-interest except its own.

     
  • Geebo 9:48 am on May 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , work at home   

    Is work at home just fly by night? 

    Is work at home just fly by night?

    The off ramp to bankruptcy

    The work at home con has been around longer than the internet. Back in pre-internet days one of those cons was known as envelope stuffing. In it a prospective ’employee’ would pay a fee to receive materials in order to stuff mailers recruiting even more people into the scheme. With the proliferation of the internet these schemes have only become more prevalent.

    In more modern times instead of stuffing envelopes the victim, or mark, is asked to send of number of e-mails instead of envelopes, after paying money for ‘exclusive’ e-mailing software. Another work at home scheme that’s been around forever is that the ‘company’ will ask you to assemble small items such as jewelry. Again they will ask you for up front payment for materials then claim they only accept quality assembled items and your items will never meet their standards. One more work at home scam that’s been updated for the internet is the medical billing scam. While medical billing is a legitimate profession what the con artists will do is again, ask for money up front for either software or training. What they don’t tell the victim is that most medical offices usually have an in-house billing staff and rarely do they give out work to at home freelancers.

    While there are legitimate work at home positions the majority of them on the internet are designed to separate you from your money, your personal information or both. You should never have to pay money to get a job. So if you see an ad, either online or off, that promises big paydays for minimal effort stay away from it at all costs.

     
  • Geebo 8:24 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, , pharmacies,   

    Online pharmacies could potentially kill you 

    Online pharmacies could potentially kill you

    It’s not news that prescription drugs can be priced out of reach from the people who desperately need them. They may even be desperate enough to respond to a random ad for pharmaceuticals or an online pharmacy. While these ads may appear legitimate, too many of these ads could have dangerous or even lethal consequences.

    Many of these so-called pharmacies are actually pill mills from overseas. They may promise you a brand name medication that you need for cut-rate prices but the odds are that the medication you receive will not be the medication you need. They could potentially be just a mixture of ingredients that have nothing to do at all with the medication that you need and those ingredients could not only lead to your condition being exacerbated but could induce dangerous negative reactions and side effects as well.

    There are other avenues you can pursue to try to get some help when it comes to affording your prescriptions. The obvious one is asking your healthcare professional for samples. Many brand name pharmacies have discount programs that could potentially make your prescriptions more affordable. Lastly, many drug companies offer financial assistance for certain prescriptions.

    Your health is not worth taking dangerous risks over no matter how good the savings may be.

     
  • Geebo 7:04 am on May 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Don’t be left broke and homeless when looking for a place to rent 

    Don't be left broke and homeless when looking for a place to rent

    One of the oldest online commerce scams is the rental property scam. How it works is the scam artist will usually copy a legitimate ad for a house for sale but will make it appear in their ad that the property is for rent, usually at a rate that is almost too good to be true. Some red flags when it comes these ads is that the ‘seller’ will claim that their getting ready to go overseas, or for some reason they won’t be able to meet you face to face. They’ll also try to pressure you into paying a deposit without inspecting the property. In most cases they’ll try to do that through poorly spelled emails or emails where it’s apparent that they may not be native English speakers.

    However there’s an easier way to avoid having the scam go this far. Most legitimate rental properties should be listed with the county or municipality their being rented in. The owner’s contact information should be a matter of public record and if it doesn’t match with what you’re being told or if the property is not listed at all then it’s more than likely a scam.

    Too many families have been left without a home or money falling for these types of scams. With just a little bit of knowledge you can avoid being taken online.

     
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