Updates from May, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    ‘Work at home’ could put you in jail! 

    Work at home could put you in jail!

    We’ve discussed the re-packaging or re-shipping scam before. Normally how it works is someone looking for work will reply to an employment ad for a work at home position. That person will usually be hired on the spot and will be asked to receive items in the mail then re-package them and send them to another destination. This is done to send items purchased with a stolen credit card to a location where the thieves can receive the item. More often than not, the person being used in the scam either doesn’t get paid or they lose money by cashing a phony check disguised as payment. However, one man from Alabama has ended up in prison for his efforts.

    According to the Daily Beast, the man had responded to one of these ads and was re-packaging items with no problem. That was until Postal Inspectors showed up at the man’s house letting him know that he was involved in a re-packaging scam. The man then emailed the people he was working or to tell them that he wouldn’t be packaging items for them anymore. The scammers then reportedly told the man that the Postal Inspectors were actually fraudsters who were trying to steal the items being re-packaged. So, the man kept re-packaging the items he received. That was until he received a shipment of high-capacity magazines for AK-47s marked ‘toy parts’. That’s when federal agents arrested the man. The man admitted to knowing that the boxes contained gun parts and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

    While this is a rare case of the re-packaging scam, it does show that entering into any number of work at home scams can be potentially costly to the victim. Whether it’s loss of funds, time, or personal information, these scams have proven to be quite effective in finding victims.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Has Cuba opened the internet for all? 

    Has Cuba opened the internet?

    Here in America, many of us are glued to our screens for most of the day. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or talking with friends we’re accessing the internet as if it was some magical unlimited resource. We even use it in remote places that in previous generations had trouble getting electrical or phone services. Now, imagine being only a few miles away from one of the world’s more cosmopolitan areas and only being able to use the internet for at most a couple of hours a day and you can only use it in certain areas that aren’t necessarily convenient to get to. That’s how the country of Cuba has been using its limited access to the internet.

    Yesterday, the Cuban government announced that it would be lifting the restrictions on having private wifi networks. The law is scheduled to take effect on July 29th. Previously, Cuban citizens could only access the internet in public wifi hotspots set up by the government that were usually in parks or on street corners. In order to use these hotspots, people would need to buy access cards that allows someone to use the internet for an hour for a fee. The current fee sits at $1 an hour.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tYSaqrBh7c%5D

    However, this doesn’t mean that Cuban citizens will start enjoying the internet the same way that we do. There is only one internet service provider in the country and it’s run by the Cuban government. In order to be able to use wifi in your home, you would still need to set up an antenna to access the public hotspots for your home router to access and would still need to buy the hourly access cards. While this isn’t the biggest leap forward for internet users in the Caribbean nation it is at least a step in the right direction.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: getaway cars, Lime, LimePod, ,   

    Follow that Lime! 

    Follow that Lime!

    When you first hear the concept of LimePod it sounds like a great alternative to other rideshare platforms and public transportation. With the Lime app, you can unlock a car called a LimePod for $1.00 that you can drive around town for $.40 a minute. Right now, the program is only available in the Seattle area but if history is any indicator it will soon be coming to other cities as Lime has their motorized scooters for use in many locations. However, it seems that Seattle can’t have nice things as the LimePods are being used for illegal actions.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91U4j5fBMLc%5D

    According to reports from King County in Washington State, the LimePods are allegedly being used as getaway vehicles in porch and mail thefts. In order to use a LimePod, a user has to submit a copy of their driver’s license before they can use the service but if someone were to gain access to a stolen phone it wouldn’t take much to bypass security measures if that phone’s LimePod account had already been approved.

    Sadly, this seems to be a recurring trend as even rental scooters have been used as getaway vehicles in even such crimes like bank robbery. When someone comes up with an idea to help those around them there are always those who will look to take advantage of that assistance. Unfortunately, for a platform like LimePod to truly work without hiccups, it seems that even more stringent security measures are needed.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Could Deep Fakes ruin our world? 

    Could Deep Fakes ruin our world?

    Recently, a video was distributed on social media od Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that made it look and sound like she was slurring her speech. While the video was determined to be fake it was put out by someone who supposedly did not support Pelosi’s politics. However, with politics being what it is in this country today there were people who believed it to be real. While this particular video was made using simple editing tricks of an actual video it does bring up the matter of what will happen when ‘Deep Fakes’ become more prevalent in our society and media.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the term Deep Fake, it refers to a process where someone can take a single image or video and by using an AI Assisted program it can turn the original video into just about anything the fabricator wanted. For example, if you wanted to make it look like a beloved celebrity say that they enjoyed stealing candy from babies you probably could. Now take that same process and imagine it being used against candidates running for President. Potentially deep fakes could be used to make it look like any candidate look like they were saying or doing something completely detrimental to their campaign.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLoI9hAX9dw%5D

    The deep fakes could become so commonplace that we wouldn’t be able to tell what was real and what wasn’t. If someone were to commit a heinous act caught on video’ all they would need to say is that the video was a deep fake and scores of people would believe them. Thankfully, the technology is not there yet where a deep fake is indistinguishable from the real thing but it could only be a matter of time before it is. When technologies are used by bad actors, it usually takes law enforcement and government some time to catch up before designing the tools needed to fight them.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Is public social media dying? 

    Is public social media dying?

    When social media first became a part of our culture back in the mid-2000s it seemed mostly fun and harmless. It became an easy way for us to either reconnect with old friends or stay in better contact with our family. While platforms like MySpace were not without its problems it was largely just for fun. But when MySpace became too ostentatious some social media users longed for a cleaner appearing network and that’s when Facebook started to become the juggernaut that it is today. However, on most current social networks, the climate has become toxic. Many social network users seem to have lost that filter that they would use in everyday life when talking to other people in their lives.

    It also doesn’t help that many of these platforms don’t do enough to discourage the bad behavior of its users. Just recently, Facebook deleted billions of fake and abusive accounts. A number which rivals its actual userbase. To make matters worse, Snapchat employees were recently accused of spying on users.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTPlFdwOZNY%5D

    Now, because of many of these factors, a number of social media users are turning to more private methods of keeping in touch. According to The Metro, more users are turning to niche networks like Nextdoor or starting private message groups within apps like Slack and Telegram.

    As long as there are brands, content creators or someone with a story to tell, there will always be a place for public social media. But as those platforms become more difficult to enjoy there may come a day where we branch off into our own little corners of the internet where the signal could be better separated from the noise.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Even your church can be scammed! 

    Even your church can be scammed!

    Once again, we’re here to bring you the latest in scams that you should look out for.

    This week, we start off with a scam that has affected a number of churches in America. The latest area to be hit with this scam is Fargo, North Dakota where parishioners have been receiving messages claiming to be their local priest. The messages sent through an app designed to inform churchgoers of church news has been hijacked and is asking for donations to be made through gift cards. Any kind of transaction asked to be made through gift cards are usually a scam as the gift cards can be virtually untraceable.

    Our next scam is another romance scam that cast a very wide net. According to the Des Moines Register, someone took out a print ad with their paper claiming to be a 57-year-old man looking for someone to marry. However, the same as has appeared in several other newspapers across the country. As with most romance scams, this ad was more than likely placed with the hope of trying to con money out of a vulnerable victim. The Register pulled the ad after they investigated the source of the ad.

    Lastly, in North Carolina, the State Attorney General is warning people there not to fall for phony DMV sites. He says that there are websites popping up that mimic the DMV’s official website. These sites could either be offering services for a fee that the DMV does for free or they could be trying to steal your personal information. You should always use your state’s official DMV website which usually has a ‘.gov’ address.

  • Geebo 8:02 am on May 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Has your Airbnb account been hacked? 

    Has you Airbnb account been hacked?

    A new scam has been targeting users of the online rental service Airbnb. Some users of the platform have reported having their accounts hijacked and then had phony reservations made in their name. Their money is then taken from their bank or PayPal account before the non-refundable reservation is canceled. The scammers will then change your phone number and login credentials on your Airbnb accounts so you can’t contact Airbnb to get a refund.

    Airbnb says that these have been isolated incidents and are working with affected users. However, many users have complained that once their accounts are hacked it’s been difficult to get in touch with Airbnb’s customer service. Users are also expressing concerns that Airbnb is not informing their users about the recent hacks.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3JygPGWWOs%5D

    Reports state that the accounts are being hijacked through phishing attacks. That means the scammers are sending out emails that look like they’re from Airbnb and are trying to get consumers to give up their log in information. To better protect yourself, never click on links from suspicious emails. These emails may come from such email addresses as “airbnb-bookings.com” or “Airbnb1.com.” Official emails from Airbnb will only be addressed from Airbnb.com.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick? 

    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick?

    The one profession that is probably the most underpaid but most needed is a school teacher. In a state like California that is possibly the richest state in the country, you might think that teachers are paid a fair wage and have a decent benefits package. As one story has shown us recently that may not be the case. A San Francisco teacher who is currently undergoing cancer treatment has to pay for her substitute out of her own paycheck. Sadly, this is not some rare exception for California teachers as it’s been this way since the ’70s.

    The teacher in question has half of her paycheck deducted each pay period to pay for her temporary replacement while she undergoes treatment. Public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. The teachers only get 10 sick days a year and 100 extended days of sick leave. It’s during these sick leaves when they have to pay for a substitute teacher out of their own pockets.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jCYlo4oKE0%5D

    In many instances, teachers on extended leave are more concerned with getting better than fighting this drastic cut in pay. However, many teachers return to work too soon in order to try to provide for their families. No family should have to worry about losing their home or worse when trying to recover from a major illness. Is it time that we not only rethought how we treated our teachers but the whole healthcare paradigm as well?

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , China, ,   

    Has Huawei been cut off by Google? 

    Has Huawei been cut off by Google?

    Last week, president Trump issued an executive order that claims foreign threats to communication networks are a national emergency. This order makes it extremely difficult for communication companies from China from doing business in the US. The Trump administration added Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei to a sort of blacklist that makes it almost impossible for the Chinese firm from purchasing hardware and software in the US that’s needed to make their devices.

    In order to comply with the executive order, Google has suspended any business with Huawei. This means that in the immediate future, Huawei will not be able to use the Google-supported Android OS On any of their new devices. Huawei could use the open source version of Android, however, this would not include any technical support from Google or any Google apps such as Gmail or the Google Play Store. Huawei claims that they have made preparations for such an event but without support for Google apps sales outside of China could badly impact the world’s 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjlQ4j6PpQA%5D

    Consumers in the US who may currently own a Huawei phone could see their devices no longer receiving security updates from Google. However, it is believed that apps like Gmail and YouTube will continue to be supported on already existing on current Huawei devices. The Trump Administration believes that Huawei is allegedly committing espionage for the Chinese government even though there has been no concrete evidence to prove such an allegation.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    What to do when a kidnapper calls! 

    What to do when a kidnapper calls!

    We’ve all seen it in movies or on TV. You receive a phone call from a stranger telling you that a family member has been kidnapped. You’re instructed not to call the police and you have to take a briefcase full of cash to a seedy part of town to make the exchange. In reality, kidnappings for ransom are extremely rare. However, that hasn’t stopped high tech scammers from fleecing victims of their money in what’s being called virtual kidnappings.

    The virtual kidnapping scam works by the scammer calling their victims using a spoofed number to make it look like they’re calling from a relative’s phone. They’ll claim to be kidnappers and that they have taken your relative hostage. They’ll instruct you to not call the police and then have you send them money either by making you buy pre-paid debit cards and giving them the card’s numbers or by having you wire the money somewhere. By the time the ordeal is over, you find out that your relative was never in any danger but the scammers have made off with your money and are virtually untraceable.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3St8UwJUEak%5D

    So what should you do if you receive one of these phone calls? Most experts agree that you should hang up immediately and call the police. If you do actually speak on one of these phone calls never give out any personal information especially the name of your relative that they’ve claimed to kidnap. If there’s another avenue of communication available, like another phone, call the loved one in question to make sure they’re ok. The FBI contends that these virtual kidnappings will only become more frequent over time so being prepared will allow you to better recognize one of these calls.

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