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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Expedia, , , , , ,   

    Scam strikes vacation sites! 

    Scam strikes vacation sites!

    If you’re still looking to plan your vacation for this summer, you may want to be extra careful who you book your vacation with. The Better Business Bureau has been warning potential vacation-goers to make sure you use the proper travel website when booking travel plans. While most reports we’ve seen have mentioned Expedia, we imagine that this could happen with any well-known travel website. The scam works like a lot of phishing scams by posing as a website that looks identical to sites like Expedia but directs you to call a different number than Expedia’s actual number. The scammers will then tell you that their system is down and can you make payment using a prepaid debit card. That should be your red flag as once payment is transferred from that card the money is gone. Real travel platforms will never ask you to pay by prepaid debit card or gift card.

    Speaking of the BBB, they’re also warning about a scam that’s currently happening in the Pacific Northwest. It appears that a genetic testing scam is happening there now. You may see commercials for services that promise to test your genetics to give you your ethnic makeup. Most of these are established services with decent reputations. However, there are scammers trying to cash in on this craze by coming to your door or setting up shop in senior centers. If you’re asked for any kind of medical insurance information such as your Medicare number it’s a scam. This particular scam is designed just to get your medical carrier information to be able to commit future insurance fraud with your information. This scam also tends to target those who are on Medicare or Medicaid.

    Lastly, we have a scam out of the Midwest where some Sheriffs Offices are warning residents about it. In this scam, you’ll receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a border agent from either the Canadian or Mexican border. These fake agents will say that a rental car registered in your name has been found with drugs in it. They’ll even try to say that your name has been connected with a drug cartel. The scammers will then try to ask you for financial information to try to clear the incident up such as your bank account or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these calls it’s recommended that you hang up immediately.

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

    Check out this bizarre double scam! 

    Check out this bizarre double scam!

    We’ve been telling you about numerous scams for some time now in order to help better protect consumers. Every so often we’ll post a story about a scam we’ve previously discussed to remind consumers that these scams are still out there. Occasionally we’ll post about a brand new scam that’s either brand new or one we’ve never heard of before. Then there are times like now where we bring you a scam so unusual it almost defies belief. One such scam just recently took place in the state of Kentucky where a woman was almost scammed twice by the same scammers using two different scams.

    The victim thought she was buying an iPhone online through a marketplace app. She paid $200 for the phone over the internet but never received the phone. Months later, she was contacted by someone posing as some kind of investigator. They showed her a copy of a receipt that was supposed to be for her phone and that the scammer had been caught and was being forced to pay restitution as part of a settlement. She was told that as part of the settlement she could receive $30,000 in compensation. Of course, there was a catch. All she had to do was wire some money to cover the costs of processing. Luckily, the woman’s mother warned the victim that this was nothing more than a scam.

    When dealing with marketplace apps that have no verified sellers, always deal locally and never send any money over the internet. Never wire any money either for any part of the transaction as marketplace apps are rife with wire fraud like this. Only deal locally and in cash. When you meet to make the transaction always do so at a local police station. With as great as a convenience online shopping can be, with marketplace apps there are too many variables that can’t be controlled.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #FaceAppChallenge, FaceApp, ,   

    Is the #FaceAppChallenge invading your privacy? 

    Is the #FaceAppChallenge invading your privacy?

    The Jonas Brothers aged using FaceApp

    Every few months or so, a photo app takes social media by storm. In the past, there was the craze where you could post gender-swapped photos of yourself. Snapchat previously had a filter that made you look like a baby. Now, the most recent trend is people posting pictures of themselves that have been artificially aged through an app called FaceApp. It seemed like everyone was having a good time with the app before it was reported that FaceApp may be committing a major breach of privacy. However, is it really that bad?

    According to reports, FaceApp is developed by a company in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This has led some to speculate whether or not FaceApp is a tool of the Russian government. FaceApp is also said to have an atrocious privacy policy. If you agree to their terms, FaceApp will have access to all the photos on your phone that have faces and could not only potentially be used in advertising but could be sold to third-parties. FaceApp claims that they are honoring all requests to have photos removed from their service and supposedly none of the data is actually sent to Russia.

    However, these kinds of privacy policies aren’t unique to FaceApp. Many apps that are based in the US have equally bad terms of service when it comes to your privacy. Even the most mundane apps such as weather or fitness apps sell your information to advertisers so they can show you ads tailored to your interests. So more than likely if you’ve taken place in the FaceApp Challenge you’re not being spied on by the Russian government. However, if you start seeing ads that are eerily specific to you, you’ll know why.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , parking lot scam, , , , theme parks,   

    This scam takes advantage of Prime Day purchases! 

    This scam takes advantage of Prime Day!

    As we mentioned yesterday, Amazon just had its annual Prime Day sale. If you decided to take advantage of the deals to be had online you should be aware of a particular scam that looks to take advantage of all the orders made on Prime Day. It’s called brushing and some retailers will send you a product of their’s unsolicited and at no charge to you. They’re looking for favorable online reviews and even if sent to you free of charge, the vendor can consider you a ‘verified purchase’ on Amazon. The main problem with brushing scams is that someone may have purchased these items on yours on someone else’s stolen account.

    In other scam news, reports are coming out of Northern California about a parking lot scam designed to pressure you into giving a stranger money. Several residents have complained about a scam where someone walks behind your car in a parking lot as you try to pull out. The scammer will drop their phone then act like it’s broken, or more than likely they’ll have dropped an already broken phone. They’ll then try to claim it was your fault and try to get you to give them money for their phone’s insurance deductible. If this scam happens to you, it’s recommended that you call the police.

    While this next scam happens all year round with places like Disney World, it picks up in the summer months due to other regional theme parks being open for the season. If you see a post on social media promising you free tickets to a theme park or other attraction it is more than likely a scam. This happened recently in the Sandusky, Ohio area where the popular Cedar Point theme park is. This scam is intended to get either your personal or financial information which the scammers will say is necessary in order to get the tickets. They could even ask for a processing fee. In the end, the scammers end up with your information and possibly your money and you’re left with nothing.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Amazon workers need consumers to support strike! 

    Amazon workers need consumers to support strike!

    Right now, Amazon is having its annual mid-year sale known as Prime Day. This year, the sales are taking place over two days with today being the last. Prime Day is only second to Black Friday in terms of purchases made online. Prime Day has gotten so huge that even other retailers are trying to get in on the action. Since this is one of Amazon’s busiest times of the year it should come as no surprise that Amazon workers are probably working extra hours and possibly even extra shifts to get all the merchandise delivered in a timely manner. However, a number of Amazon employees used Prime Day as an opportune time to protest working conditions in the Amazon fulfillment centers.

    Amazon employees from around the globe took to the picket lines to protest what they consider to be problematic working conditions. In Europe, many of Amazon’s employees are unionized but here in the US, they are not. That didn’t stop several Amazon employees from protesting in Shakopee, Minnesota. The protesters believe that they are expected to reach unobtainable production goals at the cost of their health and well being.

    If Amazon was to decrease the demands of their workers that would affect the overall shipping process. Instead of being able to receive a package in two days it might be four or five days instead. Would consumers who are already used to Amazon’s quick delivery be willing to give up such convenience? In order to really send a message to Amazon, the protesters would really need to get a rather large amount of Amazon’s consumers on their side. Without the support of consumers voting with their wallets, we might not see working conditions improve for Amazon fulfillment center employees. Short of government intervention, which seems unlikely at this point, consumer persuasion is probably the only way Amazon will change.

  • Geebo 8:16 am on July 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Secretary of Labor quits after Epstein arrest! 

    Secretary of Labor quits after Epstein arrest!

    US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta resigned his post this past Friday in the wake of the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein. If you’ll recall, Acosta was the Miami U.S. Attorney who negotiated the relatively light sentence the supposed billionaire received after pleading guilty to state charges of that involved trafficking underage girls. Not surprisingly, President Trump stood behind Acosta amidst the recent controversy.

    Trump said he believed Acosta thoroughly “explained” his decision making at the news conference, which sources said the president urged him to conduct. The president praised Acosta’s performance “under pressure,” saying he did a “fantastic job.”

    However, that wasn’t the only revelation that came out over the weekend. According to part of his indictment in the Southern District of New York, it was revealed that Epstein never bothered to check in with New York officials since he was a registered sex offender and maintained a residence in New York. That’s a potential felony violation that could carry a sentence of four years behind bars alone.

    Epstein is also said to have paid $350,000 to two potential witnesses after the Miami Herald first broke their story about Epstein back in November. Prosecutors argue that this is just one of many reasons to have Epstein denied bond while he awaits trial. Of course, with Epstein’s wealth and resources at his expense, he could be considered a considerable flight risk. A bond hearing is set for later today.

    Lastly, and possibly one of the more disturbing aspects of this story, is that even though Epstein was a convicted sex offender, he was still welcomed among the financial elites and celebrities.

    In 2010, the year after he got out of a Florida jail, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos dined at his Manhattan mansion with a British royal. The next year, Mr. Epstein was photographed at a “billionaire’s dinner” attended by tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

    Had this been just about anyone else, they would have never been released from prison in the first place. Justice is supposed to be blind, but apparently it doesn’t stop it from being greedy. Just ask Alexander Acosta.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: MLM, multi-level marketing, ,   

    Are MLMs the biggest scam? 

    Are MLMs the biggest scam?

    Let’s say that you’re between jobs and looking for work. You come across an ad for an amazing position that promises flexible hours and an amazing salary, however, it’s a sales position. Sales isn’t the worst thing that you could do and you need a paycheck soon. You may then be asked to join a group of people in a meeting room where you realize that this isn’t just any sales position, it’s an ‘opportunity’ to join the exciting world of multi-level marketing.

    If you’re not familiar with multi-level marketing, or MLMs as they’re commonly known, are those ‘businesses’ that one of your Facebook friends may be trying to recruit you to join. The reason they’re trying to recruit you is that they only really make any kind of money if they get more people to join. The MLMs impress this upon their members to try to recruit their friends and family. Outside of just being annoying when someone tries to recruit you to one of these schemes, there’s a darker side to MLMs. Often, you have to buy stock from the person who recruited you before you can sell your own stock. Many MLMs are accused of having many cult-like tendencies such as pressure to stay and isolation from those critical of MLMs. Sometimes friend or family relationships are severed due to someone’s devotion to an MLM.

    The truth is that MLM salespeople tend to not make very much money and in numerous cases wind up in crippling debt. The math just isn’t in their favor. MLMs generally tell their salespeople that they need to recruit a certain number of other people to join the MLM. Then those people also need to recruit the same number of people. What they don’t tell you is that this cycle can only be repeated a handful of times before the number of people needed becomes astronomical and unobtainable. But that’s not the MLM’s problem since they already sold you, and anyone else who’s joined, their product. If this sounds a lot like a pyramid scheme that’s because it essentially is. The only reason there hasn’t been mass prosecution of these MLMs is that the fact that they’re ‘selling’ a product makes their businesses legal.

    In most MLMs, the only people making any real money are the ones at the top of the pyramid and unfortunately, that’s probably not you.

  • Geebo 8:36 am on July 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ICE,   

    Are immigration raids what we really need? 

    Are immigration raids what we really need?

    Immigration has been a contentious topic in our country since the start of the 2016 Presidential campaign. Today, the focus seems to be on the country’s southern border even though most people here illegally are from overseas on expired visas. However, demonizing a certain group of immigrants is nothing new in our country’s history. In the 19th Century, Irish and Italian immigrants were being openly discriminated against even though that seems unimaginable today. It seems that every generation or so, certain politicians seem to inevitably stir up anti-immigrant sentiment and today’s climate is no exception.

    In a move that seems more like an intimidation tactic than a law enforcement operation, the government has made it known that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be conducting raids against thousands of undocumented families. According to the New York Times, investigators might even detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids. The government already knows about many of the families who are here illegally and have given them notice to leave the country. However, these raids may be mostly pointless as ICE officers have no legal authority to forcibly enter someone’s home.

    Instead of expending resources on these raids, why isn’t the government trying to make the path to citizenship to easier? Wouldn’t it be better to have new groups of taxpaying citizens rather than having a targeted group of people fearing for their well-being?

    As we previously mentioned in this post, immigration scares are nothing new in our country but they go against one of the tenets of our great nation. The poem on the Statue of Liberty known as “The New Colossus”, seems to be falling on unironically deaf ears.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Now it seems that the Government is trying to close that golden door on the very people that the Statue of Liberty is supposed to welcome.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , defense contractor, google voice, ,   

    These tech scams are frightening! 

    These tech scams are frightening!

    This week’s set of scams are incredibly troubling. Technology has advanced to a point where scams have become harder to spot. Not to mention that some of the tactics used by these scammers are like something out of a movie.

    The first scam is kind of confusing and seems a little convoluted for something that doesn’t bring that much to the scammers. If you’re not familiar with Google Voice, it’s a service that provides you with a free supplementary phone number. Scammers are using Google Voice to hijack phone numbers from personal numbers that have been shared online. For example, if you’ve posted your phone number in a classified ad the scammers will attempt to hijack that number. The scammers won’t be able to take any money from you but could potentially use your number for criminal activity. If your number has been hijacked in one of these scams this article has instructions on how to get your number back. Unfortunately, the steps won’t be that easy.

    The next scam, while rare, is very disconcerting. Security firm Symantec has said that they have found a handful of scams where the scammers have used deep fake audio of business executives in order to trick employees into transferring money to the scammers. Deep fakes are AI generated video or audio that can be hard to tell from the real thing. We’ve previously discussed the potential harm that deep fakes could cause here. The process to generate these deep fakes can cost thousands of dollars ut could end up costing businesses untold losses in the future.

    Our last scam for today is the most alarming. According to news site Quartz, a US military defense contractor was taken for $3 million in top-secret equipment by international con artists. All the scammers had to do was use an email address that looks similar to official military domains. This is basically the same phishing scam that’s used to try to steal your banking information except a company with a high government security clearance fell for it to the tune of $3 million. Thankfully, the scammers were apprehended after federal investigators tracked them down through the mailing address they used that they claimed was a military installation. Disturbingly, neither the Quartz article nor the legal documents Quartz obtained state whether or not the sensitive equipment was ever recovered.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: equal pay, , USWNT, wage gap, World Cup   

    Does the USWNT deserve more? 

    Does the USWNT deserve more?

    With the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) recently winning their fourth World Cup the topic of equal pay has been a popular talking point lately. It’s been well documented that the Men’s National Team (USMNT) gets paid a substantially larger wage than the women’s team. Many people will be quick to point out that many women’s professional sports just aren’t as popular as men’s professional sports. After all, it is all about ticket sales, merchandise sales, and sponsorships that earn sports teams their money. So the Men’s National Team must be more popular and successful than the Women’s team, right? Well, not exactly.

    As far as success on the pitch goes the Women’s National Team has won Four World Cups since 1991 with this year’s win being a back to back championship. The US Men’s Team has never won a World Cup. The closest they came was in 1930 when they finished in 3rd place. In the last World Cup which took place last year, the men’s team didn’t even make the tournament after being knocked out by Trinidad and Tobago in a qualifying round.

    So, is it all the merch that the Men’s Team sells that makes them all that extra money? Not really. The USWNT jersey is the best selling jersey of all time according to Nike.

    How about TV ratings? The Women’s Team has their male counterparts beat there too. This past Sunday’s win against The Netherlands was the highest rated soccer broadcast ever in the US.

    Then what about the professional soccer leagues in the US? Surely the men’s league must sell more tickets than the men’s. According to the Washington Post, the ticket sales between the two leagues are almost dead even.

    So is it any surprise that the USWNT are suing the US Soccer Federation over unequal pay?

    If there was true equity in the world the USWNT would be making not just the same as the men’s team but much more.

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