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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexa for Business, , , , phone security, Virgin Vinyl,   

    Using a second phone number, Virgin Records on the seas, and Alexa for work 

    Using a second phone number, Virgin Records on the seas, and Alexa for work

    Popular Science is offering a pretty good deal for an app called Hushed. Hushed allows you to have a secondary phone number that you can give out to people or companies that you may not be comfortable in giving your primary number to. The deal PopSci is offering is a much better deal than you can get from the Hushed website. However, if you would prefer a free alternative there is always Google Voice where you can also get a secondary number. The drawback to Google Voice is that even though the service has been around for years, Google has a habit of killing a number of their most beloved services with little to no warning.

    Previously, we’ve posted about Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s vacation cruise line with a more modern and extravagant appeal. Not surprisingly, there will be a record store aboard Virgin Voyage’s cruise ships. It won’t be a record store in name only as Virgin Vinyl will be selling actual vinyl records. Customers won’t be stuck with a record and nothing to play it on while on the cruise as the rooms come equipped with turntables.

    Amazon’s ubiquitous Alexa service will soon be offered to companies to use as a corporate assistant tool. Alexa for Business will offer several modules called Blueprints that companies can use to free up other resources.

    The blueprints include many of the questions employees regularly bug HR or IT desks about, including; “What’s the guest WiFi password,” “When does open enrollment start?” and “How do I set up email on my phone?” Other Alexa for Business blueprints can help with onboarding new employees, answer common questions, and even broadcast pre-recorded messages.

    However, it’s currently not made clear how secure the Alexa devices would be on corporate networks but one would have to assume it would be more secure than just bringing an Echo from home and letting employees plug in their own devices.

    Speaking of Amazon, they are once again on another hiring spree, this time for jobs in their Tech Hub in Austin, Texas. At current, Amazon is looking to fill 800 positions in Austin, however, if you’re in the market for one of these positions be careful of job scams that seem to crop up around Amazon hiring phases. Keep in mind that Amazon only has one official employment portal at Amazon.jobs and any other website with Amazon in the URL is more than likely run by scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Facebook will try to ban white nationalist content 

    Facebook to ban white nationalist content

    Last September, Motherboard reported that Facebook treated white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism as different things. According to a leaked memo, Facebook said that white supremacist content should be deleted from the platform while white nationalist and white separatist content should be allowed as it’s not necessarily racist. As you can imagine, this created a backlash against Facebook since most rational people believe that white supremacists, nationalists, and separatists are all cut from the same cloth. If that cloth were to be literal we assume it would be in the shape of a pointy hood.

    More recently, Facebook has announced that they will now be cracking down on white separatist and white nationalist content. However, don’t expect racism to magically disappear from Facebook. According to a follow-up by Motherboard, the content has to be pretty overt in its objective to be flagged by Facebook.

    Specifically, Facebook will now ban content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism. Phrases such as “I am a proud white nationalist” and “Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer” will now be banned, according to the company. Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove.

    It’s that last part that is really going to be the problem for Facebook because if anybody knows how to spread their message in code, it’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Messages from these types of groups will often contain certain phrases known as ‘dog whistles’ in order to either communicate with other members or recruit new ones.

    I’m sure somebody reading this will be asking “Why is it only white separatists that are being banned?” And we’ll be more than happy to remind you that this isn’t about Facebook just as much as it really wasn’t about water fountains back in the day.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Salesforce   

    Fifty women sue company that helped Backpage out of slump 

    Fifty women sue company that helped Backpage out of slump

    Backpage is no stranger to lawsuits. Currently, they’re being sued by numerous women and girls who were sold into sexual slavery on their website while Backpage reaped the rewards. The most prominent of these lawsuits is the one filed by the family of Desiree Robinson. Desiree was only 16 when a Backpage john murdered her rather than pay her. Meanwhile, her pimp, who could be sentenced to life for human trafficking, was more concerned about finding a replacement for her. Dozens of other Backpage victims have since come forward and are currently suing Backpage damages sustained while being trafficked. Now, dozens more are suing a company who allegedly assisted Backpage while at the same time claimed to fight human trafficking.

    The 50 women are former trafficking victims who had been forcibly sold for sex on Backpage. They contend that software giant Salesforce

    … designed and implemented a heavily customized enterprise database tailored for Backpage’s operations, both locally and internationally. With Salesforce’s guidance, Backpage was able to use Salesforce’s tools to market to new ‘users’ — that is, pimps, johns, and traffickers — on three continents.”

    When Backpage sales were slumping in 2013, Backpge enlisted the help of Salesforce to get Backpage back in business. And let’s not forget what Backpage’s business was. Some people may not see what the problem is. Salesforce was just a business providing a service to another business. Let’s not kid ourselves. By 2013, everyone knew what Backpage’s business was and it wasn’t trying to help you sell your old couch. The people at Salesforce are obviously not stupid, so they had to have known who they were getting into bed with, so to speak.

    The worst part is that Salesforce once bragged about how their software was being used to combat human trafficking.

    Craigslist and Backpage made similar claims back in the day too. They claimed that they were actually helping police fight human trafficking while being the main platforms for it. Back then we coined the terms ‘craigslist conundrum’ and ‘Backpage paradox’ to show how their statements and actions were at odds with each other. Now with more companies getting into the same argument, we may just add them all together under the classification of ‘Schrödinger’s Pimp‘.

    The question that remains to be seen is will the lawsuit hold up under scrutiny? While it can be argued that Salesforce made money off the suffering of others through Backpage, it can also be argued that, at the time, there was no concrete evidence that’s where Backpage’s money was coming from.

    So what do you think? Is Salesforce complicit in the trafficking of these women or were they just doing a job for a website that paid them?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car wrapping, , , , ,   

    Wrapped car jobs, more from the IRS, and DNA scams 

    https://wwmt.com/news/local/better-business-bureau-warns-of-car-wrap-scam-found-in-local-newspaper

    What a wrapped car may look like.

    We have three scams happening across the country for you again. As we’ve stated before, if the scams are happening in one community, they could be happening in yours.

    If you think you’re not going to get scammed by using your local newspaper’s classified section you’d be wrong. While not as prevalent on some of our competitor’s sites, scams do happen on print classifieds as well. For example, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the BBB is reporting that a number of people have submitted complaints about an ad promising $300-$400 per week by driving your car around with advertisements on it. It’s called car wrapping and is usually as much as a legitimate job as a secret shopper. And the goal of the car wrapping scam is the same as the secret shopper. People who applied for the job were told to cash a check they were sent, keep some of it as your payment, and send the remainder to someone else. The check turns out to be phony but if you cashed the check your bank will make you foot the full amount of the check. Remember, there’s no such thing as easy money.

    With the annual income tax deadline looming, the IRS has released their Dirty Dozen of IRS scams. Some of these scams we’ve covered before such as don’t take calls from someone claiming to be the IRS as they ever rarely call someone over tax issues. One of the scams that we’ve not mentioned before is to be wary of shady tax return preparers. While most tax professionals would never try to rip off a client, there are some shifty ones who would use your tax return as a way to steal your identity. They may also promise you an unusually high return. The IRS also warns you not to avoid paying taxes by claiming that income tax is somehow illegal or unconstitutional. No one has ever proven that and you’ll end up owing the government a lot more money than you did before.

    Previously we’ve posted about a scam where a scammer poses as your county and threatens to send you to jail for skipping jury duty. The scammers will try to make you pay a fine over the phone which most county governments never do. Now, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada is warning about a twist on that scam. In this new scam, the perpetrators claim to be local police and that your DNA has been found at a crime scene. They’ll then try to get you to make a payment through Bitcoin, wire transfer, or gift cards. Again, if you’re DNA was found at a crime scene, police would come to your location and not make a phone call. That’s not to mention that county governments would not ask for payment outside of check, cash or credit/debit card.

     
  • Geebo 8:05 am on March 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes 

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes

    Here are some follow-ups to stories we have discussed in the past.

    Both New Jersey and Philadelphia have banned cashless stores from operating within their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, the city of San Francisco is moving toward a similar ban. Previously, Amazon had lobbied against the laws in both Jersey and Philly since the allure of its Amazon Go stores are that you can walk in and out without having to deal with a cashier and the stores are cashless with all payment being taken through a smartphone app. The problem with cashless stores is that they exclude lower-income families who don’t have easy access to such things as debit and credit cards or smartphone apps. While prepaid debit cards can be purchased, the rates for these cards can often be described as predatory. It’s unclear what Amazon can use to try to push cities into going cashless as their Go Stores offer little to no opportunities for employment.

    During the horrific mass shooting that recently took place in New Zealand where a white supremacist shot and killed 50 mosque attendees, the assailant broadcast the attack over Facebook live. The attack was said to have been viewed at least 4,000 times before it was removed from Facebook. Facebook claims that it didn’t pull the video sooner because none of their users had reported it. That seems like an awfully convenient excuse considering that in the past it’s been alleged that Facebook counts on controversy to keep their users engaged which in turn results in more views for advertisers. Toward that, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald asks why Facebook can curb such videos from terrorist groups like ISIS but couldn’t stop the broadcast of this hate-monger? Again the answer seems to be because it’s not profitable for Facebook to do so.

    Lastly today, we have a follow-up about the story of Robert Kraft. As we’ve previously posted, the New England Patriots owner was caught up in a human trafficking sting in Florida where Kraft was allegedly caught using the services of a massage parlor. We also discussed how the living arrangements and the treatment of trafficked women in those parlors can be harrowing. Over this past weekend, Kraft is said to have apologized for his actions. In the apology, Kraft seems to apologize mostly to his friends and family for letting them down but not to the women he allegedly paid for services whose lives are treated like cattle by their traffickers. In essence, he’s apologizing that he got caught which again takes the spotlight away from the victims of this degrading practice.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beaches, , , , , , vacation   

    Delaware DOJ warns of Summer vacation rental scams 

    Delaware DOJ warns of Summer vacation rental scams

    Even though we are barely into the Spring season some consumers are already looking ahead to the Summer. If you’ve ever lived within driving distance of one of our nation’s beaches, you know that rental properties fill up fast and if you’re planning a Summer vacation there you have to get the jump on everyone else. Unfortunately, rental scammers are well aware of this and are trying to take advantage of unwitting vacationers. If you’re not familiar with the state of Delaware, they have some very nice beaches that are very popular with tourists. Some Delaware residents even travel to the South Jersey shore to vacation there. However, the First State is warning residents to be wary of vacation rental scams.

    The Delaware Department of Justice recently released a notice warning Delaware residents of potential vacation rental scams that could be happening in their area. Unsurprisingly, the Delaware DOJ singles out craigslist as one of the problem areas where these scams exist. Vacation rental scams work much the same way as any rental scam. A scammer will copy a legitimate ad for a rental property then post a similar ad on craigslist as if the scammer is the landlord. Once the scammer receives payment they disappear with your money while your vacation plans are ruined. This type of scam is not just limited to Delaware either.

    The Delaware DOJ offers some tips on how to not get scammed such as working with a realtor, using internet searches to make sure the property doesn’t have duplicate ads and using county property registries to make sure the property owner is who they say they are. We would also recommend not paying through unconventional means like wire transfers or gift cars as these are definitely red flags for scams. With just a little bit of homework and preparation, you can avoid having your summer vacation ruined by those looking to take advantage of people who just want to spend a few days at the beach.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Ghislaine Maxwell, , ,   

    Who is the John Doe trying to stop the release of the Jeffrey Epstein documents? 

    Who is the John Doe trying to stop the release of the Jeffery Epstein documents?

    Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein

    Since we’ve been discussing the case of financier Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged child trafficking ring and his cushy plea deal given to him by the current Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, we neglected to mention another major player in this twisted saga. That would be socialite Ghislaine Maxwell who has been accused of but never charged with, recruiting underage girls to be in Epstein’s unwilling harem.

    To that end, Maxwell was sued for defamation by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, after Maxwell had accused Giuffre of lying about Epstein. The case was eventually settled out of court in Giuffre’s favor, however, the documents from the lawsuit have been sealed ever since. The Miami Herald and several other news organizations have filed motions to have the documents unsealed. It’s believed that the documents will shed light not only on Epstein’s illicit activities but the names of others involved which are rumored to be some very high-profile individuals.

    Now the Herald is reporting that two people have filed motions to keep the documents sealed. The first is only identified as Jane Doe and she claims to be a former victim of Epstein. Reports say that she’s ok with some documents being released as long as she is not identified. In today’s highly charged and volatile climate that’s not an unreasonable request. However, the second person who filed a motion is identified as John Doe. He claims that he has never been publicly identified or accused as an accomplice of Epstein.

    So if this mystery man has never been accused of any wrongdoing then why block the unsealing of the documents? what does this John Doe have to gain at the expense of the dozens of Epstein’s alleged victims? Don’t they deserve justice instead of more secrets, red tape, and more legal wranglings? As founding father Thomas Paine once said: “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , exotic aninmals, , , wild animals   

    Exotic animals being trafficked online in Houston 

    Exotic animals being  trafficked online in Houston

    At Geebo, we’ve never been shy about our policy of not accepting ads for pets. Whether it’s because of puppy mills, pet adoption scams, or animal abuse, we feel that it’s detrimental to animals and our customers to accept these kinds of ads. Meanwhile, some of our competitors, like craigslist, ban the sale of animals but do not enforce it. As we’re about to find out, it’s more than just cats and dogs being traded online but also larger animals that aren’t traditionally kept at home. One of those places that seem to be having a problem with this type of animal trade is Houston, Texas.

    Recently, a caged tiger was found in an abandoned Houston home. Possessing this kind of wildlife is illegal in Houston but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to sell these animals online. Police in Houston also arrested a man who was allegedly selling a bobcat on craigslist for $1000. The tiger is now at a wildlife sanctuary while the bobcat will more than likely be released back into the wild. These two cases are not outliers as Houston seems to have a history of people keeping wild animals domestically.

    We realize that some people will see this and believe that keeping a large exotic or wild animal in the home is no big deal, however, the ASPCA vehemently disagrees. according to their Position Statements on Exotic Animals as Pets not only can these animals lash out at their caretakers but can also spread diseases to humans. Even if the animal seems domesticated, it’s still cruel to take an animal out of its habitat just so someone can take selfies with it.

    Another problem with people keeping exotic animals is that the crimes are usually only a misdemeanor. If they can afford to shell out money for a tiger cub then they can probably afford the money for any misdemeanor fine levied against them and the cycle continues.

    Police rely mostly on citizen reports to find these animals and rescue them from these dangerous situations. So if you see an exotic but illegal animal being held captive please contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Did prosecutors cherry pick victims to lessen Jeffrey Epstein’s registry requirements? 

    Did prosecutors cherry pick victims to lessen Jeffrey Epstein's registry requirements?

    Jeffrey Epstein

    In our previous post about Jeffrey Epstein, we discussed the sweetheart plea deal he got from former US Attorney and current Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta. In exchange for pleading guilty to minor state charges that involved trafficking underage girls, Epstein would only serve a 13-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Jail in Florida. That sentence also allowed the financier to go to work during the day and return to jail at night. That was a sentence for a man who allegedly had 40 underage victims. Also in our previous post, we mentioned how a US District Judge ruled the plea illegal since prosecutors at the time did not report the plea deal to Epstein’s victims. This was in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act but unfortunately, under the act, there’s no clear punishment for those who violate the act. If you would like to read all the details about the Jeffrey Epstein case we highly recommend the Miami Herald’s report which they call Perversion of Justice. However, if you think that Epstein’s sentence was a slap in the face to his victims, wait until you hear how the terms of his sex offender status were determined.

    The Washington Post has reported that prosecutors allegedly intentionally chose a 16-year-old victim to apply Epstein’s plea deal. The youngest known victim of Epstein at the time was 14-years-old. The reason this is important is that if you’re convicted of an offense with a victim under the age of 16 your sex offender status becomes harsher. For example, according to The Post, Since Epstein only pleaded guilty to an offense against a 16-year-old girl he didn’t have to register as a sex offender in all of the states and territories where he claims to reside such as New York, New Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands. In the Virgin Islands, Epstein is even regarded as a low-level sex offender even though he allegedly trafficked in underage girls not only for his own pleasure but for the benefit of his connected friends as well.

    Speaking of Epstein’s connections, it probably didn’t hurt his case that Epstein was friends with such politically powerful men like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. One can’t help but wonder if Alexander Acosta received his cabinet position as some kind of reward for allegedly crafting Epstein’s plea agreement. The legal system in our country should all people accountable whether rich or poor. Epstein’s continued disregard for how the justice system is supposed to work is an affront to every victim of a sexual predator.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Spokane,   

    Amazon job scam is permeating NW Washington State 

    Amazon job scam permeating NW Washington State

    Previously, we’ve mentioned how Amazon is hiring for new work at home positions and how job scams topped the BBB’s list of worst scams in 2018. Now, those two stories seem to have converged into one. One of the states where Amazon is looking to hire new employees is Washington. They are also looking to open a new fulfillment center in Spokane that promises an additional 1500 positions. Due to those factors. among others, scammers have decided to use Amazon’s hiring initiative in the are to embark on a massive fleecing of Amazon hopefuls.

    The scam appears to be overly elaborate but effective at the same time. It starts out with a robocall going out to local residents offering positions with Amazon that supposedly pay $27 an hour. The robocall directs victims to go to a website that has the Amazon name in the site’s address but isn’t an official Amazon website. Once there, victims are instructed to enter personal and financial information while the phony website makes it look like the victim is applying for a job at Amazon. More than likely, any unsuspecting victim of this scam will have their identity and possibly their finances stolen.

    Another aspect of the scam has the scammers trying to get their victims to pay the scammers money for phony employment fees such as processing fees or background check fees. The scammers will try to get this money through either requesting the money be wired to them or paid through gift cards, two of the most prevalent calling cards of a scammer. Amazon themselves have commented on this scam stating that they will never ask a prospective employee for financial information or request any kind of employment fee. These tips not only apply to Amazon but also to most major employers. If these tips are kept in mind hopefully your potential job search will be a relatively stress-free one.

     
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