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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Houston, , , , , vomit scam   

    Lyft driver accused of sick scam 

    Lyft driver accused of sick scam

    By Greg Collier

    Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft were created so passengers could avoid some of the problems that came with taxi services. For example, one of the classic taxi scams was when a cab driver would get a fare who was from out of town. Instead of taking the direct route to get to the fare’s destination, a shady cab driver would take the long way in order to increase the fare. But as time and technology progress, new scams are born out of a new generation of scammers.

    A couple from Houston, Texas, were allegedly taken for $150 by a Lyft driver. The couple got a Lyft so they could attend a concert. It was a fairly short ride, with the charge only being $7. The next morning, the couple discovered $150 had been charged to their Lyft account. The couple had their Lyft account connected to their bank account, and this caused their bank account to be overdrawn.

    According to Lyft, the $150 was for a cleanup and damage fee. The driver is said to have claimed that one of the couple became physically ill in the Lyft car. The couple disputed the charge, stating that the picture the driver submitted as evidence was not even of the driver’s car. Lyft reportedly sided with the driver, stating they evaluated the case and were not issuing a refund. It wasn’t until the couple sent Lyft pictures of them right after they had exited the Lyft, showing that neither of them were sick or incapacitated. While Lyft eventually issued a refund, they did not reimburse the couple for the overdraft fees that had with their bank.

    Lyft’s main competitor Uber also had this problem with some of their drivers. This caused Uber to instigate a more thorough process for driver’s claiming damages, including submitting cleaning receipts before they get reimbursed.

    Now, we’re not saying that all Lyft drivers are scammers. More often than not, it’s the drivers themselves who are fending off scammers in one form or another. That’s not to say that this can’t happen to you the next time you get into a Lyft. To avoid this scam, it’s recommended that you take a photo of the inside of the car as you’re leaving. Lyft riders should also link their accounts to a credit card whenever possible, as credit cards provide more protection when charges are disputed.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: card shimmers, , gas pumps, , Houston, , , , , , , , urban legend,   

    Scam Round Up: Red light tickets, Homeland Security texts, and more 

    Scam Round Up: Red light tickets, Homeland Security texts, and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week, we’re bringing you a plethora of scams from around the country that you may want to be aware of. You never know when they might come to your area.

    ***

    Some residents of Lauderhill, Florida, have reported receiving phony red light tickets in the mail. Typically, if a motorist runs a red light equipped with a camera, they will receive a ticket in the mail. However, these phony tickets have a few red flags attached to them. In one instance, the date listed on the ticket was February 30th. The tickets also had the insignia of the Fort Lauderdale police for an infraction that supposedly happened in Lauderhill. That’s not to say these phony tickets are harmless. Pictures of the recipient’s license plate appear on the ticket. Police believe the scammers are stalking their victims. If you receive a ticket like this, do not make any kind of payment requested. Instead, contact the police department the ticket is supposedly from to make sure the charge is not legitimate.

    ***

    Residents of the Houston, Texas area have said they’ve received an alarming text message. The text message claims that phones in the area have been hacked, and you’ll receive a call asking about your vaccination status. Supposedly, if you reply to the phone call, your banking information will be stolen from your phone. It doesn’t end there, though. The text message also claims the Department of Homeland Security is advising citizens to top off the gas in their vehicles and keep cash on hand because of the situation in Ukraine. So what’s the scam here? Well, we don’t think there is one. Instead, we believe that this is an instance of an urban legend. This incident hearkens back to the early days of the internet, when people would forward emails about untrue things like Bill Gates giving away a million dollars, or why you shouldn’t flash your high beams at a car that flashes you first. If you receive a text like this, check with legitimate sources first before proclaiming it as fact.

    ***

    Speaking of gas for your car. If you pay at the pump, you may often check the gas pump for card skimmers. These are devices that are attached to the card slot of the gas pump that steals your card information. Most people who do check do so by pulling on the card slot to make sure nothing comes free. However, according to the Better Business of Bureau of Nebraska, there is a new threat at the gas pump to worry about. These devices are called shimmers, and are virtually undetectable. They are paper thin devices that go in the card slot and can also steal your card information. To avoid this scam, you can pay inside the gas station or use a credit card, which has more protection than a debit card.

    ***

    Lastly, if you’re a customer of Verizon, you may have received a text message that looks like it came from your number. The text messages claim to be from Verizon and state that your bill is paid and to click a link to receive a gift. In some instances, customers were taken to a website that asked them for personal and financial information. In other instances, customers were taken to a Russian state media network. As always, you should never click on strange links from people you don’t know personally, and even then, you should still be suspicious. If you receive one of these texts, you should delete it immediately.

    ***

    We hope we’ve armed you with enough knowledge to protect you from these scams in the future.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , apartment fire, , Bronx, , , Houston, , 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 March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , exotic aninmals, Houston, , wild animals   

    Exotic animals being trafficked online in Houston 

    Exotic animals being  trafficked online in Houston

    At Geebo, we’ve never been shy about our policy of not accepting ads for pets. Whether it’s because of puppy mills, pet adoption scams, or animal abuse, we feel that it’s detrimental to animals and our customers to accept these kinds of ads. Meanwhile, some of our competitors, like craigslist, ban the sale of animals but do not enforce it. As we’re about to find out, it’s more than just cats and dogs being traded online but also larger animals that aren’t traditionally kept at home. One of those places that seem to be having a problem with this type of animal trade is Houston, Texas.

    Recently, a caged tiger was found in an abandoned Houston home. Possessing this kind of wildlife is illegal in Houston but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to sell these animals online. Police in Houston also arrested a man who was allegedly selling a bobcat on craigslist for $1000. The tiger is now at a wildlife sanctuary while the bobcat will more than likely be released back into the wild. These two cases are not outliers as Houston seems to have a history of people keeping wild animals domestically.

    We realize that some people will see this and believe that keeping a large exotic or wild animal in the home is no big deal, however, the ASPCA vehemently disagrees. according to their Position Statements on Exotic Animals as Pets not only can these animals lash out at their caretakers but can also spread diseases to humans. Even if the animal seems domesticated, it’s still cruel to take an animal out of its habitat just so someone can take selfies with it.

    Another problem with people keeping exotic animals is that the crimes are usually only a misdemeanor. If they can afford to shell out money for a tiger cub then they can probably afford the money for any misdemeanor fine levied against them and the cycle continues.

    Police rely mostly on citizen reports to find these animals and rescue them from these dangerous situations. So if you see an exotic but illegal animal being held captive please contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 10:21 am on March 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Houston, , , Motel 6   

    Facebook sued by human trafficking victim 

    Facebook sued by human trafficking victim

    Social media has long been a tool that human traffickers use to approach their victims. Even going back to the days of MySpace pimps and traffickers would use social media to groom underage victims to come to work for them. These predators look for any vulnerability in their victims to exploit to get their victims to believe in working for the pimps. Most pimps offer a lifestyle of money and luxury while others promise them a better life than what the victims parents are currently providing. So, the question that needs to be asked is should social media platforms be held responsible for the messages sent between traffickers and their underage victims?

    An attorney in Houston thinks the answer to that question is yes. She is suing Facebook on behalf of Jane Doe #19 claiming that Facebook allowed the traffickers to message the then 12-year-old girl for six months before convincing the girl to meet them at a local Motel 6. She was then put up for sale on Backpage where she, unfortunately, was forced to meet with multiple johns. In response to this suit, Facebook released the following statement…

    “Human trafficking is abhorrent and is not allowed on Facebook. We use technology to thwart this kind of abuse and we encourage people to use the reporting links found across our site so that our team of experts can review the content swiftly. Facebook also works closely with anti-trafficking organizations and other technology companies, and we report all apparent instances of child sexual exploitation to NCMEC.”

    Backpage and Motel 6 have also been named in the suit and on those instances, we think the suit has merit. Backpage for the obvious reasons and Motel 6 because they allegedly told the girl’s parents that the victim wasn’t there. However, we’re not so sure that Facebook should be held responsible in this matter. For one, while we sympathize with the victim, no 12-year-old girl should be on Facebook as their terms of service state that a user must be 13-years-old to use their service. I know that sounds like splitting hairs but it’s almost guaranteed it will be brought up by Facebook’s attorneys. Secondly, Facebook, in this case, is just a form of communication. If the girl had been texted by her traffickers should the phone company be sued for allowing traffickers to text her? Then if Facebook starts to monitor messages between users there will be another backlash against Facebook over privacy issues.

    While we hope this girl is able to receive some form of justice with her suits against Backpage and Motel 6, we believe the suit against Facebook holds no merit.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Houston, , ,   

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking 

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking

    A woman from the Houston, Texas, area, only identified as Jane Doe, has filed a lawsuit against Backpage where she was allegedly trafficked while she was underage. This should come as no surprise as former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer had admitted to the fact that Backpage knowingly made money off of the sex trafficking of girls and women. Jane Doe is also suing two area Houston hotels which is also not unheard of as many trafficking victims believe that the hotels should do more to be aware of trafficking victims. What is really making headlines about this suit is that the victim has also filed a suit against Facebook for allegedly failing to prevent her from being approached by a pimp.

    The victim claims that she was 15 in 2012 when a pimp first approached her through Facebook. As online traffickers tend to do, the pimp consoled her after a fight with her parents. The pimp was said to be Facebook friends with a number of her real friends and promised the victim a job as a model. When the victim met the pimp she was beaten and sexually assaulted before being advertised on Backpage. The suit claims Facebook allows traffickers to “stalk, exploit, recruit, groom … and extort children into the sex trade.” Even though I’ve been a very vocal critic of Facebook, at first glance I thought the suit against Facebook may have no merit, however, the victim makes a very valid point when it comes to the social media kingpin.

    The victim claims that Facebook allowed her abuser to use a false identity that allowed him to approach the girl. For some time, Facebook has prided itself on having its users use their real names, even going as far as to ban accounts that use pseudonyms. As has been demonstrated in the past, Facebook seems to enforce their own policies rather arbitrarily and haphazardly. While I’m far from being a legal expert it seems that since banning false accounts is a well established and practiced Facebook policy, this policy may allow the suit against Facebook to proceed.

    What’s your opinion? Do you feel that Facebook should be doing more to prevent human trafficking on its platform or is this lawsuit without merit? Please leave your comment and let us know.

     
    • S. B. 5:15 pm on April 27, 2019 Permalink

      I believe we all seen this coming for a while . Just a matter of when I’m not sure if she has a tight case as fare as Facebook however , if she does I’m sure that Facebook will settle out of court and the media giant will insure a gag order is in place to insure they take know legal responsibility .

  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Houston, , ,   

    Single father taken in craigslist car con 

    Single father taken in craigslist car con

    If you try to buy a used car on craigslist, chances are you’ll run into any number of con artists. Some of the used car scams we’ve brought to your attention are ones involving phony car titles and stolen rental cars. That’s only the tip of the iceberg as used car scams can take many forms including the gift card scam as shown in the video below.

    Recently, a single father from Houston, Texas, found himself out of $3,000 that he borrowed from his sister so he could purchase a used car off of craigslist. The man met with the seller in a store parking lot and the seller just basically drive off with the man’s money. Reports say this particular scammer has allegedly performed the same scam in New Mexico and Nevada.

    Again, if you’re going to buy anything from a classifieds site we recommend meeting the seller at a local police station as they’re becoming the de facto place to meet in case of con artists. However, when it comes to cars we also recommend meeting the seller at your state’s DMV so you can go in and make sure the title is a legitimate one before buying. We also recommend using Geebo instead of craigslist as the vast majority of our car ads have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) listed in the ad. That way you can check the history of the car even before going to see it in person. Many states have an online service where you can check the VIN and there are a plethora of paid commercial options as well.

    A car is a major investment and can mean the world of difference to someone who has difficulty getting around their area. It could mean the difference between having a job or losing one. So please take the extra time in researching any used car before making such a possibly life-changing purchase.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Houston, , ,   

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit

    In the past year or so, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Backpage, the site that tries to disguise itself as a classifieds site but makes most of its money off of sex trafficking ads. Some of these lawsuits have come from families whose daughters were killed in the sex trafficking trade. Others have come from women who were trafficked while underage on Backpage. The one thing that all these lawsuits have in common is that Backpage took money for these ads while knowing exactly what they were for.

    Most recently, Backpage is being sued by an 18-year-old woman from Houston, Texas. She says that she was 15 when she was advertised on Backpage. Her lawsuit alleges that Backpage knowingly edited ads to hide evidence of child sex trafficking. This is the basis of most of the recent lawsuits against Backpage as a Congressional investigative committee found evidence that Backpage was allegedly actively editing their ads in this manner. Due to the findings of that investigation, Backpage has settled at least one lawsuit filed against them by trafficking victims.

    Since Congress has been dragging their feet on providing any kind of real legislative protection for Backpage’s trafficking victims, maybe hitting them in their pockets for millions of dollars in settlements will finally make Backpage realize that it’s not worth it being in the business of selling people.

     
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