Updates from January, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Collection #1, ,   

    Data breach could potentially expose millions of email accounts 

    Data breach could potentially expose millions of email accounts

    If you’re the type that doesn’t change their online passwords frequently, you may want to change your passwords today. It’s been reported that a massive amount of data known as ‘Collection #1’ has been floating around on the internet for a while and contains 773 million email addresses and 21 million passwords. The list itself is a few years old so if you’ve been using the same password for while you should probably go ahead and start changing your passwords on your online accounts.

    Now you may think that you’ve probably changed your passwords since this data was collected. Well, there’s a reason this data dump has been called Collection #1. THat’s because there is a Collection #2 on the horizon which contains even more recently exposed data from within the past year. Collection #2 is said to have ten times the data that Collection #1 had. While we’re waiting for Collection #2 to hit the internet like a wrecking ball you can check to see if your email account was included in Collection #1 by checking your email address at Have I Been Pwned.

    While you’re changing your passwords there are some good practices that everyone should follow. You should never use the same password for all of your online accounts. If you have trouble remembering all your passwords there are a plethora of secure password managers that will create and remember secure passwords for your accounts. If you are going to manage your own passwords don’t fall into the trap of using the most common passwords. You may think your clever by using ‘password’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘football’ as your passwords but you’re not fooling anyone. Instead, most security experts agree that passwords should contain no dictionary words, contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers and at least one non-alphanumeric symbol.

    If a bad actor were to gain access to your email account they could wreak some fairly damaging havoc to your life since most of your online accounts are probably tied to that email address.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo 

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo

    Just because we haven’t talked about them in a while doesn’t mean that marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo have gotten any safer. Just within the last 24 hours, there has been a spate of stories that show safety is not guaranteed when using these relatively new apps.

    On Long Island, police recently arrested two men who were arrested for allegedly using LetGo to either rob or swindle their victims. The pair is believed to have used the app at least five times to rob their victims. This particular pair would have their victims meet them in front of a certain housing development because it was reportedly an easy way for the suspects to escape.

    In Richmond, Virginia, a man was recently arrested for allegedly robbing a man of $1000 at gunpoint. The victim thought he would be buying a car from the suspect that he saw on LetGo. The suspect and the victim met at a public transportation parking lot where the suspect said that the car ‘for sale’ was on its way. Instead, the suspect is said to have robbed the man at gunpoint. Luckily, police were nearby and were able to apprehend the suspect.

    Police in Las Vegas arrested a man that they coined ‘the blue bucket bandit’. They named him that because he would stand on top of a blue bucket in order to allegedly steal home security cameras from local residences. The man was arrested after he was spotted trying to sell the stolen equipment on OfferUp. If you unknowingly buy stolen merchandise you probably won’t be charged with a crime but the items will be returned to their rightful owner. Your only course of restitution is to try to get the money back from the thief at which point there’s a better chance you’ll never see the money again.

    Lastly, our most harrowing story comes from Cleveland, Ohio where a woman went to an OfferUp meet up to buy a TV and took her 1-year-old child with her. The man purporting to sell the TV instead robbed the woman at gunpoint and threatened her child if she did not hand over the money. the victim, in this case, met the alleged perpetrator on a public street.

    What most of these stories have in common is that the victims did not take the necessary precautions when meeting someone from these apps. While these apps may have a slicker design than a site like craigslist, that doesn’t make them any safer. While LetGo and OfferUp have better safety precautions than craigslist unless you’re meeting someone at your local police station, you are playing a dangerous game. As we’ve stated many times before, the old rules of just meeting someone in a public and well-lit place with lots of people around don’t work anymore. People using these apps have been killed in broad daylight over the most trivial of items. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Geebo goes one step further than most other platforms by trying to better protect our users by moderating each ad for such things as scams, stolen goods, and potential setups. We also provide a link in every ad to the SafeTrade Station program.

    We’d rather make an honest living without risking the safety of our userbase.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phone location data,   

    FCC blames shutdown on failure to investigate private data being sold by telecoms 

    FCC blames shutdown on failure to investigate user location data being sold by telecoms

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    Last week, tech news site Motherboard published an investigation that exposed how user location data, accurate up to a few hundred meters, is being sold by the major cell phone carriers to third parties. In their investigation, MOtherboard discovered these services being used by car salesmen, property managers bail bondsmen, and bounty hunters just to name a few. All were found to be obtaining this information without any kind of warrant that police would need to obtain to be able to access this kind of user information. Motherboard’s investigation has resulted in House Democrats calling for the FCC to appear before them in response to the crisis.

    Not surprisingly, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has responded by saying that not only is the sale of location data not a threat to public safety but that any further investigation into the matter has been suspended due to the government shutdown. How convenient for Mr. Pai. This is where we usually mention that before joining the FCC, Mr. Pai was a prominent attorney for Verizon, one of the carriers accused of selling user location data. Ever since the FCC rolled back the net neutrality regulations enacted by the Obama Administration, just about everything Mr. Pai has done in office has benefitted the telecoms and internet providers while claiming that it’s what’s best for consumers.

    Because of his record even if the government was in full operation logic dictates that it would be highly unusual that Chairman Pai would do anything about the sale of user location data. The wholesale failure to protect consumer privacy under the watch of Chairman Pai continues unabated with little to no recourse for consumers. Maybe the special investigations that are looking into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia also need to investigate whether or not Chairman Pai is colluding with his former telecom masters.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , prop money, ,   

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams 

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams

    Police in Stafford County, Virginia, are reporting an uptick in crimes involving counterfeit money. There have been at least two reports of people who were selling an item on craigslist who were paid in phony cash. Not just any phony cash mind you, but bills that were specifically printed to only be used in theatrical or film production. So how did movie prop money end up in the hands of con artists? It’s actually easier than you think.

    Most movie prop houses work closely with the Secret Service to make sure that their fake money looks legitimate on screen but no so real that it can be passed off as the real thing. In the past, it may have been difficult and expensive to obtain such prop money, however, in these days where anyone with a camera-enabled smartphone where just about anyone could make a movie, prop money has become much more easy to obtain. For example, one movie prop company will sell you a $10,000 stack of prop $100 bills for just $25.00. While the bills could not obviously fool professionals, they have been known to fool many an average consumer. Here’s a video that goes into great detail showing the differences between prop money and the real thing.

    Of course, there are several ways to prevent yourself from being ripped off like this. The first and most important is to always meet the buyer at a local police station. While not foolproof, a scammer is less likely to try to pull something like this when there are several police officers around. The second thing is to inspect the money for markings that say something like “For motion picture use only” or something to that effect. Lastly, there are markers you can buy that if you mark the money with them they can tell you if the money is real or not. Since just about anyone can buy this prop money, just about anyone can be fooled by it. So don’t be just anyone. Also, you probably shouldn’t use craigslist as it’s rife with scammers like this.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist 

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist

    Today, the government shutdown reaches its 24th day. This is the longest government shutdown in American history. 800,000 federal employees are going without their paychecks because the President is throwing a tantrum like a tangerine toddler over a border wall that would actually do little to stop the influx of immigrants that we should be welcoming into this country. Most illegal immigration doesn’t even take place at the country’s southern border with Mexico but rather through people who have stayed in the country after their travel visas have expired. But far be it from the truth getting in the way of a President who was elected on a platform of fear and intolerance. Meanwhile, the federal employees caught in the crossfire are in danger of having their lives ruined.

    Due to their lack of income, many locked out employees have taken to selling their possessions on places like Facebook and craigslist. So not only are they being driven into poverty by their own government but now these employees will have to deal with many scammers and con artists that prey on people like this on the less than scrupulous classifieds sites and marketplace apps like craigslist. The Coast Guard even published a survival guide recommending their members try to get part-time jobs as secret shoppers which has a well-known history of being mostly a scam.

    To make matters worse, the President has the temerity to claim that the unpaid federal employees are behind him and his ridiculous wall.

    President Donald Trump, when asked about the hardship facing workers, said federal employees “are on my side.”

    “You take a look at social media, so many of those people saying ‘it’s very hard for me, it’s very hard for my family, but Mr. President you’re doing the right thing. Get it done.’ They’re patriots,” he said.

    Then again, what do you expect from someone who made a business out of declaring bankruptcy on multiple occasions? However, Mr. Trump right now is the worst kind of bankrupt, morally bankrupt.

     
  • Geebo 10:19 am on January 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ring Doorbells,   

    Ring doorbells caught in potential privacy gaffe 

    Ring doorbells caught in potential privacy gaffe

    If you’re unfamiliar with the Ring brand of video doorbells it’s actually an ingenious device. The doorbell not only has a built-in camera but also has built-in two-way communication. When someone rings your doorbell, not only can you see them through an app on your phone or tablet but you can also talk to them as if you were home. Many homeowners swear by the devices as if it was the answer to solving any potential security concerns. Privacy, on the other hand, may now be a completely different matter.

    It’s being widely reported that Ring gave unfettered access to customer cameras and recorded videos to their researchers in Ukraine. Not only that but that the video recordings sent to Ring through their cloud service were unencrypted in an effort to cut costs. While some Ring customers may not care who sees their video feed in Ukraine it also turns out that some US Ring employees and executives had around the clock access to some live feeds from customers whether their job required them to have the access or not. These allegations become even more disturbing when you realize that Ring also sells security cameras for inside the home as well.

    Ring themselves have claimed that no impropriety has been taken part in by their employees, however, the reports state that Ring employees found workarounds to the company blocking their employees from certain access. Not only does this not bode well for Ring but also for its parent company Amazon who purchased the company in 2018. Amazon itself is no stranger to privacy concerns with the company trying to sell allegedly invasive facial recognition software to several law enforcement agencies last year. It will be interesting to see if this alleged breach of privacy will catch the eye of legislators or whether or not the market will control the future of Ring going forward.

     
  • Geebo 10:37 am on January 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dallas Cowboys, , , ,   

    Man loses close to $1000 on fake Cowboys playoff tickets from OfferUp 

    Man loses close to $1000 on fake Cowboys playoff tickets from OfferUp

    With the NFL season getting ready to draw to a close a number of teams still in the hunt for that elusive Super Bowl Championship. One of those teams is the Dallas Cowboys who came out victorious against the Seattle Seahawks this past weekend. Tickets for the NFL playoffs game are selling at a premium no matter which team you may be rooting for but as one Cowboys fan found out not all ticket sellers are legitimate.

    While many Cowboys fans were watching America’s Team beat the Seahawks this past Saturday, one man and his girlfriend were turned away the gate of AT&T Stadium for having phony tickets. The man had purchased the tickets from a seller he had found through the marketplace app OfferUp for $900. The seller was said to have not only produced legitimate looking tickets to the game but also produced a receipt and credit card that had numbers matching those used to originally purchased the tickets. Sadly, as we posted about at the beginning of this NFL season, this scam has become all too common. More than likely the scammer purchased the tickets using a stolen credit card before the card was reported stolen. The tickets are then issued before the credit card is reported stolen and once the card is reported stolen the tickets are made null and void. However, since the tickets appear to be the genuine article fans looking to get into a high demand game are being taken for a fortune.

    Much like any other item you may purchase through a classifieds site or app, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from being swindled. For example, you can ask the seller to meet you at a local police station since many stations have areas set up for just such a transaction. You can also try to take a picture of the seller prior to the transaction. If the seller protests at any of this then the tickets advertised may not be your best bet. In the long run, don’t let your passion for your favorite team cloud your judgment when it comes to buying expensive tickets. Most times you’re better off buying the tickets from the box office or authorized resellers.

     
  • Geebo 10:40 am on January 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Many Android users can’t delete Facebook even if they wanted to 

    Many Android users can't delete Facebook even if they wanted to

    Nothing is more frustrating to an android user than when you have limited storage space and there are bloatware apps on your device that can’t be deleted. A number of phone companies include these indestructible apps in order to make money through various partnerships by nudging their customers into using these apps. However, unlike a computer where you can delete just about anything, many Android users are locked into these apps for the life of their device. Now, it’s being reported that a company not known for its security or privacy is allegedly paying at least one major phone manufacturer into making its app irremovable.

    Bloomberg has reported that Facebook is not only coming pre-installed on many of Samsung’s flagship phones but that the Facebook app can’t be deleted as well. While the app can be put in a disabled app that hasn’t stopped Samsung customers from being concerned about what personal data may have been sent to Facebook. Considering Facebook’s less than stellar year when it came to privacy and security, this seems to be a valid concern. Facebook claims that when their app is in disabled mode that it’s the same as if the app had been deleted. That’s not reassuring to many users who want the app off of their phone for good which puts Samsung in an anti-consumer light even though Samsung has said they’re trying to give consumers the best out of the box experience.

    Unfortunately, Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer that includes permanent apps and Facebook isn’t the only company pushing them. Most cellular carriers include apps for their various services that can’t be deleted as does Google who created and maintains the Android operating system. While Facebook may be taking the brunt of criticism right now it’s just a symptom of a larger problem where consumers do not have the freedom to do what they want with the phones that they’ve paid for. Considering how expensive some of these devices are shouldn’t the choice of whether or not the customer wants to have Facebook on their phone be left up to them?

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    iPhone users receiving spoofed calls from Apple in latest phishing attack 

    iPhone users receiving spoofed calls from Apple in latest phishing attack

    Another sophisticated scam seems to be targeting Apple users once again. In the past few weeks, we’ve posted about how one phishing attack targeted Mac users by directing users to log into a site that looks like Apple’s website but then steals your Apple user ID and Password. Then we posted about another scam where a phony app from the iOS App Store posed as an app to help you get an Amazon Echo activated but instead asked you for more information than such an app needed. Now, an even more insidious scam is targeting iPhone users once again.

    In this latest attack, iPhone users are reporting receiving calls that appear to come from Apple’s official support number. An automated message then informs the iPhone user that Apple user IDs have been compromised and directs the user to call a different toll-free number. The additional phone number appears to go overseas and may be connected to a team of scammers who may be trying to obtain personal information, money for ‘fixing’ the problem, or both.

    As can be expected with these types of scams, Apple has said that they never call their customers out of the blue like this. With the ever-increasing advent of spoofed phone numbers and robocalling, these scams are becoming more prevalent by the day> many of these scams seem to be disproportionately targeting Apple users since Apple devices can be rather expensive which in turn can make Apple users lucrative targets. If you’re an iPhone user and you receive a call like this, call Apple back directly and do not call the number from the automated message. You worked hard to be able to afford that iPhone so why let someone take advantage of you?

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , shimming, white van scam   

    Shimming, white vans, and employment scams 

    Shimming, white vans, and employment scams

    Today, we’re bringing you three scams from around the country that may also affect you in your area.

    The first is what’s called shimming. If you’re the type that wiggles the card slots at gas pumps and ATMs to check for card skimmers, you have a new concern about your credit card. Much like skimming, in shimming the scammers place a device in the card reader that reads the new security chips on credit and debit cards instead of the magnetic strip. If you’re thinking the new chips were supposed to make cards more secure you are correct, however, the scammers were quick to crack the chip. One of the ways you can tell if a card reader you’re using has been shimmed is if the card feels too tight when put into the card reader. If so, cancel the transaction immediately.

    The second scam we have today is a scam that predates the internet but is still going on today. It’s called the white van scam and usually involves knock off or stolen electronics. Back in the pre-internet era, this scam would involve someone trying to sell you stereo components at a steep discount but now the scam usually offers discounted ‘high end’ TVs or other modern electronics. The scammers will claim that they work for a legitimate retailer or company and say that they have too much inventory and need to sell these units at a discounted price. As with most scams, they will try to pressure you hard into purchasing one of the items from their vehicle. These scammers tend to target their victims in strip mall parking lots and other locations near ATMs.

    Lastly, the secret shopper employment scam has made the news again. While many retailers do employ secret shoppers to review the work retail staff, these jobs aren’t as readily available as the internet may have you think. Recently, a woman from Greensboro, North Carolina, almost fell for this scam. The so-called secret shopper service sent her a check for thousands of dollars and asked her to use the money to buy gift cards at retailers. She was then supposed to send the gift cards back to the secret shopping service and keep some of the money for herself as payment. Of course, there are two red flags that the woman noticed and that was the fact of the scammers asking her to deposit a check and send them gift cards. Both are well-known scams as if she had deposited the phony check and spent the money she would have been responsible for the money owed to her bank. Not only that but the scammers would have received the gift cards and used the fraudulently purchased gift cards as they saw fit.

     
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