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  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social security   

    Social Security phone scams on the rise 

    Social Security phone scams on the rise

    You may be familiar with the IRS scam that plagues your phone. Someone calls purporting to be an agent of the IRS claiming that there’s some kind of issue and you need to give them your personal information. Often they try to intimidate you into giving the information by claiming you’re in danger of running afoul of the law. The problem with this scam is that the actual IRS doesn’t call taxpayers if there is a problem. They will contact you by mail instead. But what if you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency that does call people?

    According to this report by Forbes, the Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone has issued a warning saying that there has been an increase of con artists posing as employees of the Social Security Administration. As the Forbes article points out, the SSA does sometimes reach out to Social Security recipients in certain but rare circumstances.

    This is a particularly egregious scam since it mostly targets the elderly. So what should you do if you receive one of these unsolicited calls? Hang up immediately. Do not engage the caller, and if it’s a recording do not press any buttons except to hang up. If you answer any of their questions, even with an automated recording, it could give the scammers information that could result in more phone calls at the least and your identity be stolen at worst. Even if you feel the call may be legitimate hang up and call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on July 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The false dichotomy of fighting fake news on Facebook 

    The false dichotomy of fighting fake news on Facebook

    Previously, I’ve posted about how Facebook is used in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka to not only discriminate against religious minorities but to also commit violent acts against them. More recently in India, a carefully edited video that spread on Facebook-owned WhatsApp has led to the brutal mob murder of a man who people thought was a child kidnapper.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out and claimed that Facebook will be taking steps to remove fake news from its platform that could potentially incite violence in these areas. However, in the same relative time frame, Mr. Zuckerberg said that Facebook groups that espouse the belief that the Holocaust from World War II was a hoax are allowed to remain on Facebook. Holocaust denial could be considered the modern origin of fake news that could incite violence yet that’s allowed to remain on Facebook.

    Once again, Facebook is trying to be all things to all people while holding two opposing viewpoints at the same time. In the George Orwell novel 1984, this practice was known as doublethink. Considering the global reach of Facebook, the comparison of Mr. Zuckerberg to the fictional Big Brother seems more than apt. However, as I mentioned in my last post about Facebook, Holocaust deniers are exactly the kind of users that Facebook seems to covet more since groups like that keep people more engaged in the platform.

    The decision to fight hate speech and disinformation on Facebook is something that should have happened years before it got to the point where people were being killed around the globe. Now, it’s too late and Facebook refuses to enact any real change to make a difference in the matter.

     
  • Geebo 9:40 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Josh Hawley, missouri   

    Another state seeks damages from Backpage 

    Another state seeks damages from Backpage

    Another state government is looking to make Backpage pay for its lies and claims of ‘free speech’ when it facilitated an untold number of victims being trafficked for sex. Previously, a judge in the state of Washington sanctioned Backpage and ordered them to pay $200,000 to trafficking victims after the attorneys for the victims argued that Carl Ferrer’s admission of guilt contradicts Backpage’s earlier stance of having done nothing wrong. Now, another state is seeking financial recompense from Backpage.

    Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is seeking sanctions and damages against Backpage after Backpage tried suing the state to allegedly try an impede a state investigation into the website. In the lawsuit, Backpage claimed its usual tirade about free speech and how they weren’t aiding in the sale of women and children into sexual slavery. The suit was thrown out after a federal judge ruled that the federal government should not interfere in state investigations. Now, after Backpage’s admission of their role in human trafficking, Attorney General Hawley wants a pretty good chunk of change out of the now defunct website. Hawley is seeking damages for court costs, legal expenses and some amends for the victims of trafficking in the state.

    As I mentioned in my previous post about Backpage, this is the only true way to punish Backpage as I believe it to be highly unlikely that any of the Backpage higher-ups will ever see the inside of a jail cell. Backpage was driven by nothing but greed, now the states are coming to collect. Hopefully, more states will seek sanctions and damages against Backpage so the company’s death can be through a thousand financial cuts.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on July 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Channel 4, , , Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network,   

    Documentary: Facebook needs controversy to survive 

    Documentary: Facebook needs controversy to survive

    Have you ever seen something posted on Facebook that was so offensive that you actually took the time to complain to Facebook? I did once. I saw a post accusing a man of a horrible crime even though there was no tangible evidence to support the claim. That was three years ago and this particular post has since been shared millions of times as if it was fact. For all I know, this man’s life could have been ruined due to false accusations. The response I got from Facebook on multiple occasions on why the post wasn’t deleted was because it did not violate their nebulous ‘community standards’. Now, a soon to be released documentary claims this is par for the course when it comes to Facebook moderation.

    British TV broadcaster Channel 4 had a journalist go undercover in a firm that is contracted to moderate Facebook content. The documentary entitled “Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network.” claims that Facebook allows controversial content like this to proliferate on its network because it keeps people more engrossed in Facebook’s walled garden. This, in turn, is said to increase Facebook’s revenue through advertisements. That makes it sound a lot like Facebook is profiting from the suffering of others since most of the controversial material that isn’t deleted consists of instances of child abuse according to Business Insider.

    In a world where discourse is becoming increasingly toxic, Facebook appears to be throwing gasoline on the fire while making money by selling pitchforks and torches. Facebook denies these claims but the evidence seems to indicate the contrary. However, as usual, the problem could be solved if we all did one thing. That is for us to start using social media more responsibly and not sharing every little thing that causes us the slightest bit of outrage. It’s time for us to start using social media with a more discerning eye.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , working conditions   

    The true cost of Prime Day 

    The true cost of Prime Day

    Later today, Amazon will kick off its annual summer version of Black Friday they call Prime Day. This means anyone with an Amazon Prime account will be able to get great deals on any number of items being offered by the online retail leader. According to an estimate by CNN Money, Amazon is expected to make $3.4 billion this year during its Prime Day rush. However, while you may get a great deal on an Amazon Echo delivered to your door, there’s a human cost to the slashed prices and marketing blitz of Prime Day.

    For the past few years, Amazon has been under fire for allegedly treating its employees at its fulfillment centers like so much chattel. According to a blistering expose released by the New York Times a few years ago, not only does Amazon supposedly overwork their employees in such a way that it’s often referred to as a sweatshop, but Amazon has also been accused of playing fast and loose with labor laws when it comes to its staffing practices. In many cases, an Amazon worker is ‘on the clock’ even when they’re not being paid because they need to be in constant contact with Amazon all hours of the day and night.

    As I posted around this time last year, many people refuse to shop at WalMart due to the supposed poor working conditions their employees have to endure, yet we have no trouble giving Amazon our money when their employees are treated just as bad or worse. Again, is it because we don’t ever see Amazon’s employees work so they’re out of sight and out of mind? Or is it because we value having indulgent computer boxes that we ask inane questions sent to our door with free shipping over the lives of the workers that bring them to us? Please consider that before making your next Amazon purchase.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    OfferUp teams with AIM Group to bring SafeTradeSpots to users. Welcome to the club. 

    OfferUp teams with AIM Group to bring SafeTradeSpots to users. Welcome to the club.

    Yesterday, it was announced that marketplace app OfferUp is partnering with industry watchdog AIM Group to launch a new website. SafeTradeSpots.com shows a national database of police and sheriff’s departments that have authorized their locations as safe meeting places for online transactions. It’s good to see OfferUp taking this step into user safety considering when you look up OfferUp on YouTube, this is the first video that comes up in the search.

    While we’re glad to see OfferUp start to take its users’ safety more seriously, we here at Geebo can’t help but pat ourselves on the back a little. Back in 2015, Geebo CEO Greg Collier recognized the need for locations where classifieds transactions that require a face to face meeting can be conducted safely. That’s why every Geebo ad contains a link to AIM Group’s SafeTrade Stations that lists a multitude of safe transaction zones all across the country.

    While we’re not in any way trying to take credit for OfferUp’s new safety initiative, we do like to think that Geebo is an industry leader when it comes to user safety. Not only does Gebbo review every ad for potential safety hazards but we constantly strive to educate our users on new and developing risks that are constantly evolving on less concerned sites like craigslist. We take our motto of being the safe community classifieds very seriously and continue to set the bar for safer online classifieds.

     
  • Geebo 9:09 am on July 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Oune Somsanith   

    Missouri man killed during LetGo transaction 

    Missouri man killed during LetGo transaction

    We’re saddened to bring you this story today. This past Sunday, 45-year-old Oune Somsanith of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was shot and killed in Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Somsanith made his living by buying electronics off of online marketplaces, fixing them up, then reselling them. On Sunday, Mr. Somsanith went to meet someone he was going to buy an iPhone from through the classified app LetGo. Unfortunately, he never returned from that meeting.

    According to his family, Mr. Somsanith took many precautions when making these transactions such as meeting sellers at a cell phone store to make sure the device had not been reported stolen. If the seller did not want to join him at the store he would not go through with the transaction. He was said to have made many of these transactions without incident in the past. Sadly, Mr. Somsanith leaves behind a wife and five children. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.

    As of the time of posting this, no suspect has yet to be captured in Mr. Somsanith’s murder.

    Police continue to investigate his death and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

    Even though Mr. Somsanith had many successful and safe transactions, there is always an inherent risk in meeting a buyer or seller for the first time. While Mr. Somsanith’s method of going to the phone stores is an ingenious way of making sure you’re not buying stolen merchandise, those locations are not secure enough to ensure you’re own safety. Over the last few years, thieves and killers have become more brazen when it comes to assaulting their victims. We always recommend completing transactions at a local police department as many police departments now have areas designated for such transactions.

    Our condolences go out to Mr. Somsanith’s friends and family and we hope that his assailant is brought to justice soon.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Facebook facing fine from UK government 

    Facebook facing fine from UK government

    Yesterday, it was announced that the British government plans on fining Facebook for their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office claims Facebook failed to ensure another company had deleted users’ data. Because of this, the ICO is looking to fine Facebook the maximum amount allowed by British law. While that may sound impressive, the actual amount is paltry compared to Facebook’s net worth.

    The ICO is planning on levying a fine of £500,000 against the social media juggernaut. That equates to around $663,000 in US figures. If this fine is imposed it will no doubt have little to no impact on Facebook since the house that Mark built probably makes this amount in less than a minute. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could probably pay this fine just from the change cup in his Acura.

    Fines probably mean nothing to Facebook. Even if they were to be fined $1 billion, they could recoup that loss in a matter of days. Facebook won’t enact any real change until governments start threatening to regulate. It doesn’t even have to be the US government as the EU famously got both Microsoft and Google to curtail some of their more questionable business practices. Until then, Facebook will shake off any fine like so many fleas from a dog.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hard drives, , , , ,   

    Wipe your devices before selling them 

    Wipe your devices before selling them

    Congratulations. You just bought a shiny new device, but you’re unsure what to do with still functioning older device. You could either donate it, recycle it, gift it, or even sell it on Geebo. However, before you do any of those things, you want to make sure there is no longer any valuable information left on the device.

    Recently, ABC Action News in the Tampa area bought a number of laptops from people who were selling them on online marketplaces. A number of those laptops still had valuable information on them including bank account and social security numbers. Before parting with a device that has been in your service for years you want to make sure that there is no personal information left on it. While Action News mentions taking your device to be professionally wiped, that costs money and could eat into any potential windfall if you’re planning on selling the device. That’s not even taking into account that while most professionals are on the up and up, there are those bad apples who may use this as an opportunity to harvest your data. After backing up the data you want to save, try these tips for wiping the hard drive on your PC or laptop.

    As the video mentions, software like DBAN is probably your best bet for wiping your hard drives of all important information. Apple computers have their own built-in process for wiping the hard drive. The same goes for Android and iOS devices in case you’re selling a phone or tablet.

    In these days of personal information being leaked from just about everywhere taking these few extra steps and a little bit of time are definitely worth the effort and your peace of mind.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , illegal dumping   

    Illegal craigslist dumping can hurt us all 

    Illegal craigslist dumping can hurt us all

    You may not think that illegal trash dumping is a problem since you either don’t see it often or engage in it. That doesn’t mean it’s not going on and can’t affect you. In too many communities there are places known to locals as a sort of de facto dumping ground. Unfortunately, a multitude of these spots could not only have detrimental effects on the wildlife and environment but in the long run, could lead to substantial health hazards and decreased property values. While local governments can crack down on offenders, it doesn’t seem to be turning the tide.

    So if you have a lot of junk and trash that needs to be hauled away from your home you may think of contacting a professional hauler. So where do you go to find one? Hopefully not craigslist as FOX 5 in Las Vegas points out, a number of businesses on craigslist purport to be legitimate haulers, but instead, these fake haulers are just dumping your junk in the Nevada desert.

    As with most craigslist problems, if it’s happening in one area, it’s probably happening in many more. If you want to responsibly have your junk hauled away and not just dumped somewhere where anyone could find it, you’ll want to use a licensed hauling service. They’ll charge more than illegal dumpers, but that’s because they’re using that money to dispose of your refuse legally and safely. If an illegal dumper dumps your trash and authorities find any of your identifying information you could be held legally responsible and end up getting fined thousands of dollars. So isn’t it worth it to spend the extra money to make sure it’s done right?

     
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