Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:58 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , designer goods, , eBay Authenticate,   

    eBay cracks down on high end counterfeits 

    eBay cracks down on high end counterfeits

    If you’re an aficionado of designer accessories made by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci, but are looking to buy them at a discount then you probably know the hazards of trying to avoid the counterfeits. Designer knock-offs have always been a blight upon the fashion industry and have been linked to everything from organized crime, to human trafficking and even terrorism by some reports. You almost have to act like an FBI investigator to try to authenticate any designer goods being sold online. However, you may not have to do that for long as eBay claims they’ve got your back.

    The online retail pioneer has just launched a program they call eBay Authenticate. For a fee, eBay will have a professional authenticator review the physical receipt of the item in question before allowing it to be sold to a buyer. This service is said to be specifically for the brands of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci, Céline, Fendi, Christian Dior, Prada, Goyard, Balenciaga, Valentino, and Burberry. eBay says they expect to have more brands included in the program in 2018.

    So if this program is a success for eBay is stopping counterfeit sales, where will counterfeiters go to peddle their wares? I think we all know the answer to that. I won’t mention them by name, but it will probably be a certain classifieds site that does not care enough for their customers to moderate their own ads. In case you need another hint, their name rhymes with draigslist.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on October 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , KRACK,   

    Exploit makes all Wi-Fi vulnerable. Is it time to panic? 

    Exploit makes all Wi-Fi vulnerable. Is it time to panic?

    A leading security expert recently discovered an exploit in the algorithm that keeps most Wi-Fi devices secure. The exploit, named KRACK, allows a bad actor to hijack your Wi-Fi and tunnel in to any of your Wi-Fi enabled devices. This means that your private information could be compromised or any sort of malware could be injected into your devices. Here’s all the guts of how the exploit works.

    This makes any Wi-Fi enabled device vulnerable. That means it can effect phones, tablets, PCs, whether they run Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS and even Linux. So what can you do? Unfortunately, mostly wait. This exploit is so new that most distributors have not pushed any updates yet to fix the exploit. That’s not even taking into consideration that a lot of distributors, especially router manufacturers, never even update the firmware of their devices. The same goes for a lot of Android phone manufacturers too. You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to be more secure, however, they can be costly and some VPN providers can be shady themselves. For PCs and laptops you can go back to using your ethernet cables.

    If any good news can come from this exploit it’s that someone has to be within distance of your Wi-Fi source to be able to launch an attack. So if you’re at home, someone would have to be in range of your home router to try to hijack your signal. Businesses will be more vulnerable as a hacker will have better access to try to hijack that signal. Hopefully, manufacturers, distributors and providers will realize just how massive this vulnerability is and will issue patches as soon as possible. If you have additional questions and concerns you can go to krackattacks.com.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Beware of counterfeit bills when making a classifieds transaction 

    Beware of counterfeit bills when making a classifieds transaction

    This is a scam that has been going on since the advent of online classifieds and is still going on to this day, counterfeit money. Unfortunately, it’s not just something you see happen on TV or movies. You could take all the right precautions by going to a police station to make your transaction and bringing a friend with you and still get ripped off if you’re not careful.

    Thankfully, there are many ways you can check to see if a bill is counterfeit. One of the best ways is to purchase an anti-counterfeit pen. Anyone can purchase one of these pens that when you mark a counterfeit bill with it a black mark will show up. Also don’t forget about the security measures put in place in legitimate bills such as the security stripe you can see when you hold the bill up to the light, or the red and blue fibers that can be seen in genuine US currency if you use a magnifying glass.

    Back in the early days of online classifieds there used to be the adage of “local only and cash only”. Thanks to counterfeiters you can’t even trust that adage anymore. If you find yourself a victim of a counterfeiter, call police. Do not try to pass off the money yourself as that could lead to serious jail time. Then, not only will you be out your money and your merchandise, but you’ll also be out a substantial part of your life.

     
  • Geebo 9:21 am on October 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Rental scammer goes the extra mile in fleecing victims 

    Rental scammer goes the extra mile in fleecing victims

    By now, we should all know how the craigslist rental scam works. A scam artist will copy a real estate ad from a legitimate realtor then paste it into craigslist but lowering the rental price to lower than market value. The ‘renter’ will then ask for the money to be wired to them and won’t let you inspect the interior of the home. Here’s a video about how the scam normally works.

    One family from Upstate New York found themselves victims of the rental scam, but their scammer used a completely different scam. According to the family, the scam artist represented himself as a real estate agent. He allegedly showed the family the inside of the home and even had them sign a lease before taking their money. It wasn’t until some time later when the bank knocked on the family’s door asking them why they were living in the home. The scammer was said to have had multiple victims, however, performing such an elaborate scam left him a large target for police who had no trouble in apprehending him.

    Again though, the same caveats apply to this rental scam as they do the others. Do your homework. Check the county appraiser’s website to find out who is actually renting the home if it’s even for rent. And as always the age-old adage applies, if it seems to good to be true it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is Amazon upping the last mile game? 

    Is Amazon upping the last mile game?

    Rumors have been circulating in the retail world that Amazon is taking two new steps in the battle for the last mile. Again, the last mile of delivery is considered the most expensive part of any home delivery by online retail giants like Amazon. According to some reports Amazon is not only supposedly developing a smart home device that would allow deliveries to be left in the home, but they’re also said to be teaming with a smart license plate manufacturer to allow deliveries to be left in the trunk of your car.

    The smart license plate works like a small safe that can be accessed using a smart phone app that would allow access to the safe where some keep their spare keys. Between the smart license plate and the smart home device, it’s rumored that Amazon is taking these steps to prevent thieves from stealing your packages off of your porch or front steps. These thieves are known as ‘porch pirates’. While it’s almost a certainty Amazon is doing this to prevent theft since it costs businesses and consumers a great deal of lost revenue, this is also a shot at WalMart.

    A couple of weeks ago, WalMart announced a similar initiative that would allow deliveries to be dropped off inside the home using a smart home device WalMart partnered with. With Amazon now posing to have deliveries left in the trunk of your car, Amazon has potentially one upped WalMart on the last mile game.

    Maybe it’s because I also write about scams that I wouldn’t trust either of these delivery options. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone to either have temporarily access to my home or my car keys. While I’m sure most delivery people are on the up and up, there’s too great a chance the access could be abused, in my opinion. If you’re someone who receives a lot of online deliveries when you’re not at home, I would personally recommend using one of the mail supply stores that allows deliveries to be left there. It may be an inconvenience of your delivery not being dropped off at your doorstep, but not only will it protect you from porch pirates but you won’t have to allow anyone into your home or care either.

     
  • Geebo 10:34 am on October 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: barcodes, ,   

    Don’t take pictures of your tickets 

    Don't take pictures of your tickets

    In the past, we’ve talked about online ticket scams and how to protect yourself from buying fraudulent event tickets. Whether they’re to a sporting event, a concert, or a Broadway show, there are many con artists out there with a myriad of way to produce fake tickets.

    But say that you have tickets and you bought them from a legitimate retailer. You’re good to go right? Not necessarily. When some people buy tickets to an event, they’re proud of the fact they were lucky enough to find these tickets, or they’re bragging to their friends. They’ll then take pictures of the tickets, or take a selfie with them, and post them to social media. That’s when the trouble starts.

    Tickets have barcodes on them and if your picture of them is clear enough, scammers can print out realistic looking tickets with your barcode on them. Then, if they, or the people the scammers have sold the tickets to, enter the venue before you, your tickets will be rendered null and void.

    You wouldn’t post a picture of your credit card online, this is very much along those lines.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Facebook to manually review ads, so why don’t others? 

    Facebook to manually review ads, so why don't others?

    Facebook has come under fire recently for allegedly accepting money for ads from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency. For two years these ads ran which intended to fuel the fires of rampant political discord already troubling our country. Some of the ads could have even been viewed as racist or anti-Semitic. After turning over records of these ads to Congress, Facebook announced they would be hiring 1000 people to manually review certain ads targeted toward religious, ethnic, and social groups.

    However, this blog post ultimately is not about Facebook, but another website that touts itself as being socially responsible. We’re of course referring to craigslist. From its iconic purple peace sign logo to the numerous charitable foundations craigslist founder Craig Newmark has donated to, craigslist appears on the surface to be this socially conscious entity, yet they still do nothing to try to protect their own users.

    Craigslist ads remain largely unmoderated which has led to a vast number of scams and violent crimes. Their rants & raves section is filled all sorts of vitriol and hate from blatant racism to calls for violence. Their casual encounters section is often the playground of child predators looking for their next victim. Yet craigslist does not hire any moderators, refusing to expand from their alleged two dozen employees.

    While craigslist may not be as lucrative as Facebook, I think they could probably scrounge enough to money to hire a team of moderators. They just choose not to.

     
  • Geebo 8:55 am on October 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Beware of new work at home repackaging scam 

    Beware of new work at home repackaging scam

    Many work at home job offers that you might find online are scams. In most of those cases, the scam is designed to either get you to pay money up front for ‘materials’ or some kind of background check. Again, you should never have to pay to apply for a legitimate job. However, a new twist on the work at home scam has been reported out of Montana and many of the state’s residents have fallen victim to it.

    In this new scam, the supposed job is that of a ‘repackager’. The ‘company’ sends products to your home then asks you to repackage them and mail the products to their destination address. The problem is that these products have been bought with stolen credit card information. Instead of having the items sent to the thieves themselves, they instead have them sent to an unwitting person who thinks they’re just doing the job asked of them. The victim then unknowingly repackages the products and sends them to the destination intended by the thieves. The victim has then transferred stolen goods and of course, the victim never gets paid.

    This isn’t just a stolen goods scam either. When a victim applies for this kind of job they’re asked to submit their social security number, address and a copy of their driver’s license. That in turn leads to identities being stolen scamming the victim twice in one go. If you believe you have been the victim of this scam it is recommended that you contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on October 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market? 

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market?

    If you have health insurance you might be familiar with having your prescription drugs being delivered by mail. Many health insurers use pharmacy benefit managers, PBMs for short, as middlemen between the pharmaceutical companies and the consumers. The PBMs determine which prescription drugs are covered under you insurance and at what percentage. Many of these PBMs encourage prescriptions to be filled by them to be mailed to the consumers. They offer some pretty substantial discounts to customers who use this procedure. Now, rumors are circulating in the business world that online home delivery giant Amazon is looking to enter the PBM market.

    There are pros and cons to Amazon moving into the pharmacy space. One of the pros is that this will offer more competition, as the PBM scene is ruled by only three companies, CVS, Express Scripts and United Healthcare. More choices for consumers is always a good thing as it could lead to competitive pricing for prescription drug coverage. However, the con could be that if Amazon does enter this market it could actually result in less competition as Amazon has a history of not being to fond of any competition.

    The even bigger problem with Amazon entering into this space is Amazon’s usual problem of trying to be all things to all people, a faceless global corporation that pervades itself into every facet of our lives. Is that what we really want, because that scenario benefits no one except Amazon. If we’re not careful Amazon could become a mega-monopoly with no one to challenge them.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit

    Back in 2012, three women filed a lawsuit against Backpage in the state of Washington. They claimed they were underage when they were forcibly trafficked for sex on the website. Previous lawsuits like this filed against Backpage have failed, however, in 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed.

    Yesterday, it was reported Backpage settled the lawsuit with these women, although the details of the settlement have remain undisclosed.

    This story has huge implications when it comes to the future of trafficking on Backpage. The first is, you probably shouldn’t think this is some magnanimous move on Backpage’s part. This is more than likely an attempt to try to get into the good graces of Congress, who supposedly has evidence of criminal activity in the way Backpage edits their ‘adult’ ads. Secondly, this could pave the way either for future settlements or for similar lawsuits pending against Backpage to proceed in states like Texas, California and Alabama. This and future settlements could cost Backpage a pretty penny which could turn Backpage into a company that is no longer profitable.

    Could this be the heads of Backpage trying to ‘donate’ their way out of criminal prosecution? That remains to be seen.

     
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