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  • Geebo 10:09 am on February 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , ,   

    Super Bowl stings catch those who would buy children 

    Super Bowl stings catch those who would buy children

    Previously, we’ve posted about Washington County, Minnesota, and how they’re cracking down on the type of human trafficking that deals in children. This past weekend, Washington County was the site of many Super Bowl visitors due to its proximity to the Twin Cities area of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where the Super Bowl took place.

    They were just one of many police departments that conducted stings to try to catch those who would use sites like craigslist and Backpage to buy children for the purposes of sex. In Woodbury, which is the largest city in Washington County, at least three men were apprehended for allegedly looking for what they thought were children as young as 13 on both Backpage and craigslist. It’s highly doubtful that either website were willing participants in this investigation meaning they allowed ads placed by police posing as children to remain on their platforms. Washington County wasn’t the only task force cracking down on the trafficking of children as over 100 human trafficking arrests were made during Super Bowl week.

    People who say sites like craigslist and Backpage are making it easier for police to find human traffickers are forgetting one thing. It’s also making it much easier for pimps and traffickers to sell women and children against their will. Craigslist and Backpage can’t be both the cause of and solution to human trafficking. That is the textbook definition of a logical fallacy which forgets that the true victims in these cases aren’t craigslist and Backpage but the women and children who are sold unabated on these websites.

     
  • Geebo 10:07 am on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, Factmata, , ,   

    Does craigslist’s founder really want to stop hate speech? 

    Does craigslist's founder really want to stop hate speech?

    (Disclaimer: This post will be discussing frank topics that may be disturbing to some readers)

    It was announced recently that a number of tech luminaries would be investing in a start-up called Factmata. Factmata’s purpose is to use artificial intelligence (A.I.) in order to “help social media companies, publishers and advertising networks weed out fake news, propaganda, clickbait, online bullying and hate speech.” Factmata’s founders were so confident in their product that they e-mailed billionaire investor Mark Cuban out of the blue and he liked it so much he was an initial investor in the start-up.

    One of the supposed tech heavyweights investing in the latest round of Factmata’s funding is craigslist founder Craig Newmark. We find this more than ironic as Newmark’s record on stopping hate speech and online harassment is laughable at best. If it’s hate speech you’re looking for, you can look no further than the rants & raves section from craigslist’s own beloved San Francisco Bay Area. On the off-chance that racist diatribe is flagged we’ve provided a screen shot below.

    Click to enlarge

    As far as online harassment goes, craigslist has long been wielded as a weapon by petty individuals looking to get revenge on unsuspecting victims including ads soliciting the rape of former romantic partners. Sadly, that’s not the only case of rape by proxy attempted on craigslist.

    That’s not even taking into account the number of child predators that roam throughout craigslist with ads so blatant you might wonder how they were allowed on craigslist to begin with. Here’s just a sample.

    Virgin? Would you like to lose it (M4W)” and “Hello HS and Virgin Girls.”

    “mothers who were looking for a guy to teach their daughter about the joys of sex.”

    “a little girl to play with for the night”

    Craigslist still relies on their so-called ‘community policing’ to flag such ads, but when your ads are being posted and read by sexual predators, then no one is going to flag any ad. This is the textbook definition of letting the inmates run the asylum. So you’ll have to excuse us if we’re just a little more than skeptical about Craig Newmark’s commitment to fighting hate speech and harassment.

    Factmata could in fact end up being a great tool to curb the rising tide of hate speech and online harassment, but when one of your major investors cares little about fighting those problems on his own website it severely hurts Factmata’s credibility.

     
  • Geebo 10:28 am on January 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, ,   

    Fake lift ticket scams hitting the slopes 

    Fake lift ticket scams hitting the slopes

    With winter weather hitting the country hard recently, a number of people are using it as an opportunity to hit the ski slopes in many of the nation’s ski resorts. Unfortunately, scammers are also using this opportunity to defraud those looking for a fun time in the snow. In Colorado, there have been reports of phony lift tickets being sold on craigslist.

    This particular lift ticket scam works the same way many phony ticket scams do. The scammer purchases the tickets using a stolen credit card hoping they get the tickets before the fraudulent charges are caught. They then advertise the tickets for a deep discount. However, when the buyer reaches the slopes, the phony charges have been caught by then and the tickets are rendered null and void leaving many skiers and snowboarders stranded at the bottom of the hill.

    It’s not just ski resorts that deal with this problem either. Many vacation hotspots such as theme parks have encountered this scam as well.

    When buying any kind of vacation ticket, stick to purchasing the tickets from authorized vendors or the destination itself. If a price online seems too good or comes with some kind of story attached, it is more than likely too good to be true.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on January 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , stolen goods   

    What to do when your stolen stuff shows up online 

    What to do when your stolen stuff shows up online

    For some reason, the media loves to glorify stories about ordinary citizens who get their stolen goods back when they show up on places like craigslist or OfferUp. A majority of the time the stories are about bicycles because its something that the original owner can just ride away on once they locate it and meet the thief. Here’s an example.

    The problem is with these kind of homemade stings is that they can easily go wrong. For instance, two people in the Dallas, Texas area are dead after a man found his stolen camera on OfferUp. He confronted the seller and was able to get his camera back, however, an argument ensued which resulted in gunfire being exchanged. Tragically, both the man and the alleged thief were killed.

    Both craigslist and OfferUp are notorious for thieves trying to sell stolen goods on their platforms. If something of yours is stolen in any kind of burglary it’s a great idea to look on these platforms for your items. However, under no circumstances should you approach these thieves on your own. Always notify your local law enforcement. They may not work at the speed you wish they would. They may not even be able to get your stuff back, but no gadget or bicycle or any other material good is worth putting your life in mortal danger.

     
  • Geebo 11:30 am on December 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , ,   

    Craigslist ‘prank’ ads lead to vandalism and theft 

    Craigslist 'prank' ads lead to vandalism and theft

    One of the many things wrong with craigslist is that due to their lack of moderation, anyone can post basically an ad saying anything and there will be people who believe it. For example in Roseburg, Oregon, someone posted a craigslist ad stating that local non-profits would be offering free trash drop off. Some of these non-profit organizations included the local Salvation Army chapter and a cancer support center. Luckily the non-profits were made aware of the ads before their properties were strewn with garbage, however, the ad was up for four hours before it was even indicated that it was waiting to be removed.

    Sadly, some of these ‘pranks’ are used as forms of revenge against neighbors. In Kansas City, a disabled woman has lost most of her property and possessions due to a craigslist ad. The victim in this case is a woman whose daughter has spina bifida. To try to make ends meet the woman repairs furniture at home, but the clutter has led some neighbors to complain. One day while the woman and her daughter were at the hospital, someone posted an ad that said ‘Free Stuff’ that listed the woman’s address and pictures of her possessions. When they returned from the hospital, just about everything had been cleared off the property including her daughter’s wheelchair ramp. What little income they had has now disappeared.

    And these are just the most recent examples. In the past such ads have been used to not only harass neighbors, but some have been used to facilitate some of the most brutal of assaults. When a website like that can be weaponized like this on a regular basis, how can they not do any self-policing? To not moderate their ads just seems reckless and lazy. It’s almost as if craigslist doesn’t care about the safety of not its users but its victims.

     
  • Geebo 9:58 am on December 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , Santa Barbara,   

    Craigslist used in multi-million dollar real estate scam 

    Craigslist used in multi-million dollar real estate scam

    Real estate scams are nothing new for craigslist. They’ve been going on for almost as long as the website has been around. As we’ve detailed in the past, the way these scams normally work is someone posts an ad for a property for rent at a price often deemed too good to be true. The scammer then usually offers some excuse as to why they can’t show the home and asks for some kind of deposit or application fee. Then it turns out that they don’t even own the property. However, a couple from California were recently indicted in federal court for exploiting people for millions of dollars using a new twist on the old scam.

    49-year-old Michael Davenport and 51-year-old Cynthia Rawlinson of Santa Barbara, California have been indicted in federal court for running a real estate scam that allegedly bilked thousands of people out of close to $27 million. How the scam is said to have worked is that the pair, doing business under several company names such as MDSQ Productions, LLC, Housing Standard, LLC, Anchor House Financial, American Standard, American Standard Online, and Your American Standard, would post ads on craigslist about properties for sale and rent at bargain prices. Once someone would inquire about the property they would be told that they would have to purchase the company’s list of properties. The problem with the list was that many of the properties were not owned by any of the companies and some were even said to be non-existent. This scam is said to have gone on for seven years before any charges were finally brought against the alleged scammers.

    This really should come as no surprise as when one thinks of committing real estate scams the first place they probably think of pulling it off is craigslist. Due to the fact that craigslist never seems to review their ads for potential fraud, nor doesn’t appear to do anything else to dissuade fraudulent ads, it makes craigslist the perfect breeding ground for scams large and small.

     
  • Geebo 10:19 am on December 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist,   

    Is crytptocurrency the future of classifieds? 

    Is crytptocurrency the future of classifieds?

    Cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been in the news a lot lately. Mostly because since the beginning 2017 it has increased in value from $1,000 to a record high of $17,000 with many people and experts saying that a crash is inevitable. Either way, cryptocurrencies seem like there here to stay. While they haven’t been universally adopted yet as an online payment method one classifieds site has made it easier for their users to accept cryptocurrency.

    Craigslist recently, and quietly, added an option to their ads where sellers can say they’re ok with being paid in cryptocurrency. While many see this as an advance in technology, it can also be seen as yet one more avenue into fraud. Bitcoin exchanges and wallets are susceptible to hacking and there have been several stories in the news where millions of dollars in Bitcoin have been stolen. If these hackers use stolen Bitcoins through craigslist that can almost be seen as a form of money laundering.

    That’s not even taking into account that Bitcoin seems to go against one of craigslist’s core values. Craigslist tries to tout itself as being socially responsible yet the mining of Bitcoins uses so much power that the energy needed to generate one Bitcoin could power nine US homes for a day.

    While it seems craigslist has been bitten by the Bitcoin bug, stick with cash and also use a classifieds site that isn’t filled with a plethora of fraudulent ads.

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , ,   

    Rental scam continues to claim victims 

    Rental scam continues to claim victims

    Normally, we only post about online scams when either a new one turns up or there’s a new twist on an old scam. Unfortunately, consumers are still falling for one of the oldest online scams in the virtual book. So we thought we’d take another look at the old standby, the rental scam.

    For those who may not know, the rental scam works like this. The scammer will find a house for sale, usually on the site of a reputable realtor. They’ll then copy that ad then change it from a property being for sale to one that’s for rent. They’ll then follow this up by posting their fake ad on an unmodertaed classifieds site like craigslist. The rent will also be listed at below market values. When a consumer responds to the ad, the scammer will try to collect some kind of upfront fee, usually disguised as a rental application fee or some kind of deposit. Usually, the scammers will make some kind of excuse as to why they can’t show you the home while still asking you for money. These scams are usually designed to prey on those who are desperate to resolve a housing situation crisis in their lives.

    Recently, in Memphis, Tennessee, a scammer was able to con several people out of hundreds of dollars each for a property they did not own. The alleged scammer was said to have used the very same tactics we posted above. This is not an uncommon occurrence as it happens all over the country all the time. For example, here’s a similar report out of the Tampa, Florida area.

    In order to avoid these scams we first recommend not using unmoderated classifieds site as they’re not reviewing ads for possible fraud. Secondly, if the rent seems too good to be true it probably is. Don’t ever give money to someone without being able to walk through the property. If the seller claims to be out of the area, pass on the property. Always check with the county appraiser’s website or office to see if the property is actually available for rent. Lastly, you may not be looking for a rental property, but if someone you know is, please share this post and this blog with them in order to help educate them about this prevalent scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craigslist   

    Sen. Al Franken calls for regulation for sites that can’t police themselves 

    Sen. Al Franken calls for regulation for sites that can't police themselves

    It seems that Senator Al Franken isn’t done with the big three tech companies just yet. In a speech he gave this past Wednesday, Franken still had deep concerns about Facebook, Google and Twitter after they gave vague and unsatisfying answers during the Senate hearing about the Russian political ads on American social media. The Senator claims that these companies are unable to control the unchecked influence they have and suggested that regulation may be required for companies that can’t police themselves.

    While Senator Franken is considering regulation against Google, Facebook, and the like, he may want to consider regulating a couple of other sites that have shown they can’t police their own yards, so to speak. Of course those sites would be craigslist and Backpage.

    While Facebook may have accepted foreign money for American political ads designed to influence the 2016 Pesidential election, craigslist has a long and ever-increasing body count. That’s not even mentioning the number of sexual predators that continually use craigslist to find new victims. As for Backpage, their history of being unable or unwilling to stop the human trafficking that takes place on their site is well documented. Even newcomers like OfferUp and LetGo have been having their own issues with customer violence and scams. While moderation may not be able to stop every crime on these sites and apps, it would go a long way in stopping a majority of them. Since they’re all unwilling to monitor themselves, maybe it is time for the government to intervene in order to protect the customers these other services refuse to.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , , , shooting   

    Particularly violent month for classifieds 

    Particularly violent month for classifieds

    The month of October was pretty brutal month for the users of classifieds websites and apps. A few of the stories that stood out were the murder of a former policeman and the shooting of a newlywed couple. All the victims believed they were meeting someone to buy or sell something through online classifieds, but instead lost either life or limb.

    It started with a robbery turned murder in Mesa, Arizona, when a man was shot and killed by someone posing as a person who was selling a high-end laptop on OfferUp. That was followed up by the murder of a former Tennessee policeman who thought he was meeting someone to buy his car from craigslist. Bizarrely, an armed robbery set up through LetGo took place at the same site where the officer was killed. Then the month ended up with a newlywed couple from Virgina, being shot and maimed during an OfferUp meeting.

    A number of these transactions took place in broad daylight in public places;. That doesn’t matter anymore as criminals have adapted to the old suggested safety precautions that used to go towards keeping people safe. The best way to keep yourself safe is to insist on making the transaction at a local police station. Many police stations now welcome these transactions so they can be completed in a safe environment.

     
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