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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , apartment fire, austin, Bronx, , , , , parking scam, , san antonio, ,   

    Scam Round Up: QR Codes, Bitcoin, and More 

    Scam Round Up: QR Codes, Bitcoin, and More

    By Greg Collier

    It’s time once again to bring you three scams from around the country you should be aware of.

    ***

    Major cities in Texas like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have reported a scam involving QR codes and parking. For those who may not know, QR codes are those square codes you sometimes see. If you point your phone’s camera at a QR code, it will take you to a website where you would normally be provided with additional information. In Texas’ case, scammers around these cities are placing QR codes around city-owned parking spaces. Once you scan the code, you’re asked to pay to use the parking spot. However, the money is going to scammers instead of the city. Along with your payment, the scammers now have your payment information as well. If you have fallen to this scam, you’re asked to file a police report and contact your payment issuer.

    ***

    Cryptocurrency scams continue to find victims across the country. Recently, a North Carolina man lost $15,000 to one of these scams. He was contacted through social media to invest in a cryptocurrency company who claimed that profits were 100% guaranteed. Supposedly, the man’s initial investment grew to $95,000; however, he would need to pay another $14,000 to get his windfall. This is a new crypto-flavored twist on the advance fee scam. For example, when a scammer tries to tell you that you’ve won millions of dollars in a sweepstakes, but you need to pay a fee to claim your winnings. Please keep in mind that the crypto market is filled with scammers, and no investment, not even cryptocurrency, can guarantee you a return on your investment.

    ***

    Lastly, we have to talk about charity scams again. We’re sure most of our readers have heard about the tragic apartment fire that took place in The Bronx recently. The fire has left several families displaced and many in the hospital fighting for their lives. You may feel the need to donate to a charity that would benefit these families. Be careful because scammers will use any tragedy to try to benefit themselves. The Mayor’s Office has set up a donation fund where all proceeds go to help the victims. There is also another city website where you can find additional information on how to help the victims. Don’t make a donation through a robocal. If you’re suspicious about a certain charity, you can always check with the BBB to see how legitimate they are.

    ***

    While these scams may not be happening in your area, they could be soon. Hopefully, you now have the knowledge to recognize these scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: austin, Kingsley Otuya, , ,   

    Romance scam had tragic consequences 

    Romance scam had tragic consequences

    Readers seem to like our stories about romance scammers who get arrested. Who can blame them? They’re usually stories about justice being brought against those who perpetrate one of the cruelest cons in today’s society. These stories can also serve as a warning to others to be wary of such scams to protect not only their wallet but also their well-being. Sadly, not all the stories about scammers being caught have happy endings. We’re not trying to be sensationalistic by bringing you this story. Our hope is to inform consumers of the disastrous effects this scam can have.

    earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas announced the sentencing of 34-year-old Kingsley Otuya of Austin, Texas, for being part of a romance scam ring. Otuya was sentenced to 11 years in prison for being a ‘catcher’ in the romance scam ring. A catcher is someone who quickly withdraws money from a bank account before the bank can catch on that the account is being used for a scam. This particular scam ring was said to have taken over $1 million from their victims. Tragically, one victim was so devastated about being taken advantage of in a romance scam that they took their own life.

    Again, we can’t stress this enough that no one is immune from these romance scams. Victims have come from all socioeconomic and education standards and have crossed all racial divides. Too many of the victims have been left almost destitute in the wake of these scammers. If you think you may be the victim in a romance scam there’s no shame in coming forward to authorities. You’re probably not the only victim and your assistance could be crucial in helping apprehend the suspects. Also, if you think there’s no way out of your situation and are contemplating the unthinkable there’s also no shame in reaching out for help there too. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 or their website.

     
  • Geebo 12:07 pm on March 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: austin, , sxsw,   

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW? 

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW?

    This past weekend the infamous tech and entertainment festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW) took place in the Southwest’s capital of cool, Austin, Texas. During the festival on Saturday night, the skies opened up, and rain descended upon ATX. Many of the revelers wanted to get a ride back to their hotels, but their requests for ride shares went unheeded.

    In a lot of hip cities like Austin, you can get a ride from ride sharing apps Uber or Lyft. Last May, both of those services left Austin due to new regulations the city imposed on ride sharing services. The city wanted Uber and Lyft to do fingerprint background checks on their drivers much to the protests of the two leading ride sharing companies. Rather than fingerprint their drivers, Uber and Lyft preferred to leave town leaving Austin with no ride sharing services.

    Much like nature, commerce abhors a vacuum, and it didn’t take long for new services to take the place of Uber and Lyft that were willing to play ball with the city. Those services are Ride Austin and Fasten. The problem with these new services is they didn’t seem to have the capabilities of scale that their predecessors had when the rains started to fall.

    Due to the massive traffic to the respective apps, the apps crashed hard and left both riders and drivers stranded. Both companies were said to have server issues and claim that the issues were resolved by Sunday.

    Both tourists and locals lamented the absence of both Lyft and Uber, but will that situation ever be resolved? Is the city being too protective of the city’s taxi services, or are Uber and Lyft being unreasonable by not fingerprinting their drivers?

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: austin, , , vending machine   

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine? 

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine?

    Are you the kind of person who hates to shop for a car? Do you hate having to deal with salespeople who you know are trying to rip you off just to make a big commission? Do you wish you could just press the buttons of E and 5 and have the car of your choice of produced magically in front of you? Well now you can.

    AN online car dealership has opened what they call a car vending machine in Austin, Texas. The structure is a five-story tall glass structure that houses 30 cars. However the term vending machine is a bit of a misnomer. You still have to finance and make your actual selection through the dealership’s website, however when you go to pick up your vehicle they give a giant novelty coin to put in the machine to get your car.

    Thankfully, it’s not like an actual vending machine. Could you imagine having to lug $30,000 or more in quarters only to find out that you’re a few dollars short. Then you take out the crumpled bills in your pocket and try to straighten them out against the change machine only to have your selection of vehicle get stuck in the machine that has a sign that says ‘no refunds’? That would actually be worse than dealing with a sales person.

     
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