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  • Geebo 8:05 am on August 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adam Kinzinger, ,   

    Romance scam even hits Congress 

    Romance scam even hits Congress

    Previously, we’ve posted about how online romance scams have affected people from all walks of life. From an older gentleman who refused to believe the warnings of his family to a woman who stole millions of dollars from her employer in order to pay someone she thought she was in a relationship with. With many of these scams, the scammers tend to pose as military personnel in order to give the illusion that they’re serving overseas. Now news has come out that the scam has even reached the halls of Congress.

    Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois has been the victim of many romance scams but not in the way you might think. Representative Kinzinger is also a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. This means that his likeness has been used multiple times in a number of romance scams. Rep. Kinzinger has said that he has had victims of the scams that have used his pictures visit him in the US Capitol looking for some form of justice. This has caused Rep. Kinzinger to call on social media outlets to do a better job in weeding out these scammers. Seeing the number of victims affected by military romance scams has even prompted Rep. Kinzinger to start to draft legislation that would compel social media platforms to do more to try to prevent these scams.

    Rep. Kinzinger has had his likeness used in these scams since 2008 after he was stationed in Iraq as an Air Force pilot. Reportedly, victims of the scams have lost thousands of dollars to scammers using Kinzinger’s images. Kinzinger’s staff even pour through social media looking for phony accounts that bear Kinzinger’s likeness showing just how far these scammers are willing to go to fleece their victims out of their money. Sadly, even when Kinzinger’s office reports these scammers to the various social media platforms, the scammers just open new accounts and continue the cycle.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , HLDI, stolen cars   

    Will your car be stolen? 

    Will your car be stolen?

    The Highway Loss Data Institute recently released its list of the most stolen cars in America for the model years of 2016-2018. Dodges top the list as the Charger Hemi and the Challenger SRT top the list which is not surprising considering muscle cars are always a hot target of thieves. The Infiniti Q Series is next on the list due to their luxury features. The rest of the list seems to be packed with pickup trucks from all the major brands as the high cost of more modern trucks make them very lucrative for thieves.

    The HLDI also released the least stolen cars in America for the same model years and it seems that electric-powered vehicles are among the least stolen. Tesla Models S and X sit at numbers 2 and 3 on the list as Teslas are more often than not are in well-lit areas close to buildings where they need to be charged. The BMW 3 Series is the least stolen as it only had one reported theft for insured vehicles.

    After these cars are stolen they are often either sold for parts or illegally shipped to foreign countries where these models may not be widely available. A number of these cars are being stolen because car owners are said to be leaving their wireless keyfobs in the car which allows thieves to start some of these vehicles since they have keyless ignitions. If you own one of the most stolen vehicles, it could end up costing you even more in insurance premiums. A copy of HLDI’s lists of most and least stolen cars can be found here.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , prescription drugs   

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs? 

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs?

    If you’ve been following healthcare news for the past few years you’ve no doubt heard the stories of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Whether it’s the life-saving EpiPen, alleged price-fixing between pharmaceutical manufacturers or exorbitant fees for insulin it hasn’t been the best time for consumers who rely on any kind of prescription medication. The current pharmaceutical market seems to be stifling innovation and competition for the sake of larger and larger profits while many Americans continue to go without their medication. Now the Trump Administration, of all people, is proposing a new way of reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

    President Trump is said to be drafting a proposal that would allow the U.S. to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. As of right now, it’s illegal to import any drugs from foreign countries. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also approves of importing prescription drugs from other countries as it would increase competition and lower prices.

    As you might imagine, the pharmaceutical industry opposes this move as they feel it would undermine the safety of US patients. However, it’s not like Canada doesn’t have a world-class healthcare system. Not only that but the drugs that would be imported would be limited to only drugs that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new proposal would also likely face challenges in the court as the pharmaceutical lobby does have deep pockets.

    While this new proposal would be welcome by many Americans struggling to pay for their medications, it unfortunately will not take place overnight. However, it is encouraging to see that in these trying political times that both sides of the aisle are willing to work toward a common cause that could actually benefit the American people.

     
  • Geebo 8:30 am on July 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Equifax, , , ,   

    Just how bad are military romance scams? 

    Just how bad are military romance scams?

    In a military romance scam, the scammer poses as a member of the US military and target potential victims. Like in most other romance scams, they’ll have the victim believing they’re in some type of relationship before asking for money. These scammers are largely from Nigeria where many of the scammers claim that these scams pay more than honest work. It’s become such a problem that the Department of Defense has employees that constantly scan social media for phony military accounts and report them to the platform in question. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command receives numerous complaints about these scams but since the scams actually involve civilians it’s out of their jurisdiction.

    If you’ve been following the news lately you may be aware of the settlement that credit reporting company Equifax has been ordered to give because of a massive data breach that happened in 2017. The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Equifax to pay $425 million to consumers affected by the breach. his has meant that you may be able to claim $125 from the settlement. Of course, where there’s a payout there’s likely to be a scam. Fake websites are popping up claiming to be the official Equifax settlement website. The goal of these phony websites is to either to get you to give up your personal information or pay for a settlement that will never come. The official FTC settlement site can be found at https://www.ftc.gov/Equifax.

    Speaking of payments, a number of news outlets are reporting about a bank scam that’s affecting consumers. In this scam, you’ll receive a text message warning you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account. You’ll then receive a phone call that appears to be from your bank with someone asking you to input your PIN. Once you do this the scammers will have control of your bank account. It’s easy for just about anyone to spoof a phone number to make it look like it’s coming from your bank. If you receive one of these calls the best thing to do is hang up and call the bank at the official number listed on the back of your credit or debit card.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capital one,   

    100 million card holders hit by data breach 

    100 million card holders hit by data breach

    If you have a credit card through Capital One, you’re probably waking up to the news that your data might have been exposed on the internet. According to reports, 33-year-old Paige Thompson worked for Capital One’s cloud hosting service and was able to gain access to the information through a vulnerability in Capital One’s firewall. Thompson is believed to have not only bragged about having the Capital One information on social media but also posted the information on an online repository that’s normally used to host open source projects. She is said to have done all this while continuing to use her real name.

    The breach is said to have affected more than 100 million Capital One customers. 140,000 Social Security numbers were said to have been exposed along with countless names, addresses, credit scores, and bank account numbers. Capital One states that the vulnerability has since been patched and that they will be offering free credit monitoring for anyone affected by the breach. If you are a Capital One customer that has been affected you should be receiving notification shortly telling you that your account had been breached. This breach could end up costing Capital one somewhere in the range of $100-$150 million.

    However, not all is lost if your account has been exposed. In order to better protect yourself, it is recommended that you go over your credit card statements to make sure there hasn’t been any unauthorized activity. You can also freeze your credit temporarily so no one can take out any loans or other financial transactions in your name. You should also change all the passwords to your financial accounts and make sure not to use the same password. what you shouldn’t do is ignore this issue as it has the potential to damage not only your credit but your personal finances as well. Don’t let someone else’s actions negatively impact your financial well being.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Is legal immigration the real problem? 

    Is legal immigration the real problem?

    Ever since the 2016 Presidential Election campaign, immigration has been a hot button issue in our country. Even though many people and politicians want to close off our borders for no other reason than the people coming to the US are different from them, the majority of people just want immigrants to come here legally. To put it bluntly, most people just want immigrants to sign the register in the way in. However, that’s easy to say if you were born here. In reality, the path to citizenship in the United States is neither fast nor cheap.

    According to the Dallas Morning News, most immigrants coming through our Southern Border who want to come here legally can have their process take anywhere from seven to 20 years and cost them thousands of dollars. Indian immigrants with advanced degrees could potentially have a wait as long as 150 years. That’s not a typo. Their wait could be longer than they’ll be alive. The immigration process in the US has not been updated in decades and there isn’t enough staff to process all the applicants in anything that remotely resembles a timely fashion. We tell the immigrants to get in line but there’s really no line to speak of.

    While there are some politicians who say they want to deport all illegal immigrants n our country, to do so would cause an economic backlash as there millions of tax-paying immigrants in our country. These immigrants are mostly doing the work that citizens who are born here might find beneath them. If the process to become a US citizen were more streamlined and less expensive we could see an unprecedented economic boom. Then again we should address the elephant in the room that there are too many people in positions of power who don’t want immigrants here only because the immigrants may speak a different language or adhere to a different religion than them. Until these types of politicians are removed from power, there will never be an easy path to citizenship.

     
  • Geebo 8:02 am on July 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bond scam, , , , , , ,   

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam by victim 

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam

    A woman in Northern Kentucky is accused of stealing in upwards of $4 million as part of a romance scam and has been arrested for the alleged theft. The thing is that even though she’s accused of stealing this large sum of money, she’s also the victim in this story. She was the one who was reportedly strung along by the scammers. Investigators say that she never kept any of her employer’s money and sent it all to someone she believed to be in a relationship with. This was after she had sent the scammers all of her own money. Now in most instances, you can’t find yourself in a position where you can embezzle large amounts of money like this without having some form of professional background meaning that even educated people can find themselves falling victim to a romance scam.

    In other scam news, residents of Southern California are being warned about a phony bond scam that has been plaguing the area. Some Sheriffs Offices have been receiving complaints about phony government agents calling residents and telling them that their Social Security numbers have been involved in various frauds. To avoid arrest the residents are being told to pay a bond. As can be expected in these type of scams, the residents are told that they can pay the ‘bond’ using gift cards such as Apple, Google Play, or WalMart gift cards. No government agency, whether it is local or federal, will ever ask you to pay any kind of fee using gift cards. If you are to receive one of these phone calls, it is recommended that you hang up immediately and contact your local police.

    Lastly for today, we have a reminder about the phony check scam. If you’re unfamiliar with this scam it’s one of the more prolific scams on the internet. Whether you’re trying to sell something online or applying for a job online, some unscrupulous scammer will send you a check and ask you to deposit the check in your bank account before sending them back the difference. The check is always a fake and once your bank discovers that, you’ll be on the hook for the money while the scammers make off with the funds. One of these phony checks recently targeted an online seller in North Dakota who was quick to notice the discrepancies in the scammer’s story. The texts they were receiving were from a California number while the check was mailed from New York and calls were coming from someone named Larry while the checks came from someone named Donna. If you ever feel like something is off when dealing with online sales and purchases it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Realogy, Smart Home, TurnKey   

    Would you live in an Amazon watched house? 

    Would you live in an Amazon watched house?

    Having a ‘smart’ home has been a craze for tech’s early adopters for some time now. Whether it’s smart lights that can operate on voice command or thermostats that can be operated remotely, the number of gadgets that can be installed in your home seem to be in a never-ending supply. However, it seems that a near-monopoly has been created in the smart home market with either Google or Amazon buying up most of the startups that initially gave rise to the modern smart home idea. Now one of those companies wants to help you buy a house with their devices already built in.

    Amazon has teamed with realtors Realogy to help you get into a new home and not one of the prefab tiny homes you can order on Amazon. The reason this partnership has been made was for Amazon to get you integrated into Amazon’s smart home ecosystem. For example, if you purchase a home worth $700,000 or more you’ll receive $5,000 in Amazon smart devices and services. This includes Ring doorbells, Amazon Echos, among other Amazon-related smart home gear and services. This program, called TurnKey, has launched in 15 major cities including San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, and Chicago just to name a few.

    Of course, there are drawbacks to owning such a home. The first concern is privacy. Amazon has courted controversy with its almost always-listening Echo devices. Reportedly, Echo devices not only record your voice but keep it stored in Amazon’s cloud servers indefinitely. The second concern is obsolescence. While these devices and services may seem like a convenience now, what if Amazon decided for whatever reason to stop supporting these devices. The majority of these devices rely on Amazon hosting these services in the cloud. If Amazon decides to pull the plug one day, you’d be left with a bunch of defunct gadgets in need of immediate replacement. More immediately, what if Amazon has any downtime on these services? If these services go down nationally that could potentially make your home a target as we’re sure any kind of outage like that would make national news.

    While the allure of free Amazon devices may seem like a strong one, you may want to weigh your options before giving into it.

     
  • Geebo 7:42 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Libra coin,   

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch! 

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch!

    If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency it’s essentially a form of digital currency that is not centralized through any bank or nation. Bitcoin is the most notorious of these cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is decentralized its value has wildly fluctuated over the years. While there are those who have made a virtual fortune through trading BitCoin the cryptocurrency craze seems to be on a downswing as many competing cryptocurrencies looking to copy Bitcoin’s relative success have flooded the market. One of those cryptocurrencies is set to be launched by Facebook which they have dubbed Libra. While Libra is some time away from launching, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of speculators by fraudulently using the Libra name.

    According to reports, a wave of scammers has gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch claiming to be official sellers of Libra. Unfortunately, Facebook’s own platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself are being used to perpetrate these scams. However, in Facebook’s defense, these scams have also spread to Twitter, YouTube, and the web at large with a number of websites claiming to be affiliated with Libra. Some phony outlets are even claiming to give discounts on millions of Libra coins. As you’ve probably guessed, these scams are designed to only take your money and give you nothing in return.

    Investing in cryptocurrency is like investing in any other financial market. You should only do it if you can afford to lose the money you invest as not all investments turn into profits. That’s not even taking into account that Libra seems more like a way to spend money globally rather than an investment type of cryptocurrency. So if you’re actually interested in using Libra once it launches, you’ll have to wait until 2020 before you can purchase any. No matter what someone online tries to tell you.

     
  • Geebo 7:23 am on July 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DoorDash, food delivery, , tipping,   

    Your delivery tips may not be going where you think! 

    Your delivery tips may not be going where you think!

    In today’s immediate response needed society, many of us use food delivery services like UberEats or DoorDash to have food delivered to our home. These services became popular once consumers found out that they could have food delivered to them from restaurants that don’t normally deliver. Can’t get out of the home and need to get a decent meal delivered for dinner? Just use the app for one of these services and you can have dinner delivered to your home in no time. Now, while it may be convenient for you this convenience comes at a cost. Is that cost burdened by the restaurant? No. Is it the platform itself? Sort of. However, too much of the cost may be burdened by the delivery drivers themselves.

    A recent report from the New York Times had one of their writers and go out and work as a delivery driver for these gig economy platforms. In order to make any decent amount of money, many of these drivers have to work for several different services while trying to comply with the rules and demands of each. trying to juggle all of those demands increases the likelihood that they could lose out on deliveries. Meanwhile, they’re not really employees of any of these companies and are seen more like independent contractors. This way these companies don’t have to provide many benefits to their drivers.

    To make matters worse, according to the Times report, some of these platforms consider tips as part of the drivers’ base wages. For example, if you tip your delivery driver through the platform’s app, that tip may just be taken off the top of whatever they were going to make for that delivery. In essence, tipping just reduced their pay. Not all delivery platforms are like this, but The Verge has a list of companies that do and don’t count driver tips as base pay. So the next time you order lunch to be delivered, try to keep in mind the person delivering your food and what they’re going through as well.

     
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